This morning sees the conclusion of icor2007 & begins with presentations on application profiles, repository interoperability, and OSA models. The final Keynote session revisited the ideas introduced in the SPARC discussion touching on future directions in scholarly communication and implications for open/closed publishing models. Perhaps more to come later. . .
During January 2007...
While Thursday afternoon included a number of interesting sessions, two in particular stood out for me because they emphasized the Open Access and Scholarly Publishing movements. . . .
The first came from Eric Larson at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Eric works with the Office of Scholarly Communication & Publishing. He demonstrated some techniques that he is using to harvest/mashup publication data for faculty members with the goal of providing unified views of how/where UM scholars are publishing, and interestingly how many of those articles are available for inclusion in institutional repositories. Eric employed a number of web2.0 style interface features including topic based tag clouds, RSS feeds on recent publications, both scholar and departmental views of the data, and microformats. While this clearly does not solve all of the issues surrounding why institutional repositories are having difficulty realizing their goals, it was an excellent example of how an IR can deliver a service to faculty rather than just collecting their publications and I think demonstrated an interesting approach for positioning an institutional repository.
The last presentation of the day was from Heather Joseph at SPARC. As she covered the SPARC perspective/approach, she mentioned a recently published article in the journal Nature titled PR’s ‘pit bull’ takes on open access. The article recounts the work of a consultant on behalf of certain publishers (who are opposed to open publishing models) and is well worth the read.
It is worth pointing out that today finally saw sunny skies & 60+ degree weather. During lunch I headed down to the Institute of Texan Cultures – (Great virtual tour here) which was launched during the 1968 Worlds Fair. The key feature of the museum is a 360 degree dome movie presentation that has to be original to the museum – no verbal description could do the show justice. . .
Yesterday during the opening keynote, Dr. James Hilton touched on a number of familiar themes from the recently released report on Software and Collaboration in Higher Education. It was interesting to hear him discuss the differing approaches to developing and supporting open source software in general and the implications that that structure has on the emerging open repository community.
In the sessions that followed and the poster reception later that day, the themes of community and collaboration, calls for greater interoperability, standards based approaches, and communal development became commonplace. I had several interesting conversations with conference attendees about how they intend to use their repository applications (uses vary from dedicated institutional repository approaches to employing varied application/interface design to float multiple collection types within a single application).
A number of presentations/conversations at the conference are emphasizing the problems that libraries are experiencing when attempting to build community support for their institutional repository instances. Despite this, a number of projects, including the DLESE presentation (Thursday afternoon session) continued to present mechanisms by which these core repository applications could be tuned to enable community use.
More rain this morning. . .cold rain & lots of it (The AAA book talked about the dry warm conditions in TX!) The conference kicks off again today with more user group sessions. I’m hoping to skip around a bit this morning to catch up on new Dspace releases & find out where Fedora is heading. In the Dspace presentations yesterday, I noticed a strong theme of locally developed modules/customizations. It was interesting to hear the perspectives on the R&D/development process from this community (one from a programmer & one from a regular user). This morning as I watch Joseph Pawletko talk about how his institution has implemented component products around their DSpace instance in order to create an OAIS modeled repository I am reminded of the comments I heard yesterday regarding the converging nature of digital library/repository applications and the interest/need in commonly identified standards and APIs.
I caught up with Matthew Connolly after his presentation on some research with faculty adoption of institutional repositories upcoming publication in D-lib – March 2007 – I was curious to find out to what extent the results of the study were directing continued use/implementation of DSpace. . .I have spoken with a number of people who are using Dspace both for institutional repositories and digital collection management systems but continue to hear how diverse their applications are. . .I think I have yet to talk with an institution that has turned to one of these applications to fill all of their digital library needs. In the final user group sessions, I jumped around listening to presentations on Manakin (xml/xsl interface platform for Dspace) and was impressed to see some integration with Google Earth from the final presenter – Scott Yeadon, caught up on the continued plans for moving Fedora into a sustainable community development model, and checked in briefly at the E-print 3.0 discussion.
ALA Midwinter was very busy, but productive. I’m Co-Chair of the ACRL Science & Technology Section (STS) Research Committee, and we met on Saturday to go over poster proposals for the upcoming poster session at ALA Annual in Washington, DC. The topic of the poster session is very interesting: institutional repositories of non-textual information (i.e., maps, images, etc.).
On Sunday morning, the RUSA-CODES Liaison with Users Committee met, and we went over the results of two surveys on the nature of liaison work in academic and public libraries. On Sunday afternoon, I attended the ACRL STS Program Planning Committee, where we discussed the logistics of the upcoming poster session at ALA Annual.
On Monday morning, I went to ACRL-STS Council, which includes the Executive Board and the co-chairs of all of the committees and discussion groups. We discussed the ACRL Environmental Scan and upcoming events at ALA Annual and ACRL National.
Other highlights of my trip to Seattle included going to a comedy club, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and various Seattle coffeehouses. Overall, it was a great trip.
As I trundled across Hemisfair park this morning the promised rain began to fall so I was very happy when I found the Rivercenter & got inside. The first two days of Open Repositories is comprised of presentations from users of Dspace, Fedora, and E-prints – three of the largest open source digital library systems in the market. Many of the conversations/presentations so far have commented on the importance of community involvement/participation in digital libraries. One presentation by Dean Krafft talked about integrating social software tools with structured digital repositories and how to involve patrons/users in digital library creation/management. A lunchtime trip to the public library was interesting & resulted in the taking of a few photographs. In the afternoon, a session on E-prints helped underscore (for me) the different perspectives that each of the products bring to the digital library environment. E-prints is interesting in part because it is centered around describing document object types as opposed to describing a fixed metadata standard.
The last session of the day for me (more Fedora) returned to the themes of creating portable code, simplifying complex problems, and finding the right tool for the job. One of the presenters, Matt Zumwalt, talked about his use of Xforms. Tonight it is a receoption (free-drink tickets in hand) and B.B. King…
I see Erik is already starting the next iteration of this blog from San Antonio, so I will keep this brief. I judge this to be a successful Midwinter. Seattle is nearly ideal as a Midwinter site, with all the hotels in walking distance of the Convention Center, the weather consistently over freezing, and plenty of shops of restaurants to keep up everyone’s fortitude. Even though “programs” are forbidden at Midwinter and there is only supposed to be committee business going on, you can see from everyone’s entries how much programming slips in. “Discussion groups” are programs of the first order and no one seems to mind. It’s on to Minneapolis for me and then to Greensboro with arrival at 10:42 pm. Wish me luck!
Good morning from San Antonio!
The Openrepositories conference kicks off this morning with user sessions on Dspace, Fedora, and Eprints. I am looking forward to hearing from the user communities on these applications. As I got into town yesterday I decided to try the public transit system and had an excellent tour from the airport to downtown on bus route 2. Given the hour it took me to go 8 miles on the bus, after settling into my hotel room, I decided to see San Antonio on foot! During the afternoon I saw the Commanders house, which is now a senior center. They were decorating for Valentines day and invited me to come back when I hit 55 (years). . .I happened across the King William Historic District, which is just south of my hotel and followed the riverwalk down to the Blue Star artist district. Weather/timing permitting I hope to make it back down there again! There were, of course the standard sights including Hemisfaire park, the Tower of the Americas, and the Alamo, whose basement is much smaller than I expected ;)..
Today it is all work until 8pm when B.B. King performs at the Magestic.
My first appointment was not until 11:00 so I spent the morning catching up on email. Then I met my former colleague from Wayne State, Bob Holley, for an early lunch. Bob and I were both at Wayne for many years and held a variety of positions. At one point, he was Interim Dean and I was Interim Associate Dean. He also served as the only librarian on my doctoral dissertation commitee. We chatted about old times and new times and agreed to meet again in DC for Annual.
Then I spent the entire afternoon in a LibQUAL results session. Surprisingly, this turned out to be the most valuable experience of the entire conference. I’ve been doing LibQUAL since 2001 and sometimes moan about it but today’s session on what to do with the results helped me focus on several factors that I hadn’t paid much attention to previously. Most often, we want to know “how we did,” often in comparison with others. That is the information we presented at the staff meeting and to the Library Advisory Committee. But one extremely important component is the importance that our various constituencies (faculty, undergraduates and graduate students) place on the various factors they want from the library. They may be different rankings from each other and they may be different than what we, as staff, think our users want. What is important to remember as we go about the final stages of prioritizing our strategic planning initiatives is that we should focus on improving the areas that are important to users that we don’t do as well as they would like. It would not make sense to spend a lot of time and money on areas that we do well already that are not that important to our users. More on this later.
Bill and I went to dinner with his colleague Jack Walsdorf, who lectured at ZSR last year in the Booklovers Road Show and then Bill had to fly to California to meet with Alibris brass tomorrow. In the morning, I will send one final entry, summing up the Midwinter experience.