The event, was ably managed by Dominic Tate from RSP and was attended by around 30 or so individuals involved in repository managment and information management in some way. There were lots of varying levels of experience plus a few researchers who were able to put some great perspective on the issues of the day.
The meeting heard presentations from a number of different speakers, all of whom were from different backgrounds. These ranged from experiences of setting up institutional repositories, hands on metadata workshops, information on legal services available to repository managers, researcher perspectives and all the way through to an excellent post dinner presentation from Bill Hubbard (RSP Director) on the archeology of Hadrians Wall.
I was presenting on the ERIS Project, providing a general overview and a description of the thinking behind the decision to undertake the work. One thing that struck me was the fact that the work we are involved in is quite distinctly seperated from repository development on the ground, and has helped further distinguish the project stakeholders from each other.
There was a fair bit of discussion around some of the topics that I was presenting on, especially around the need to consider the skill sets of Business Analysts in extracting the true requirements from users in the development of systems for the deposit and management of instututional repositories.
This is based on the failure (from my perspective) of repositories to truly consider the needs of users, including understanding the subtext of what they actually mean when being asked the question of what they want the repository to do. More often than not, when asked, the users will tell you what you what they think you want to know – not what they actually want.
This is where then skill of a good business analyst comes in to its own, and it seems conspicuous by its absence from the recent SHERPA repository staff and skill sets document.
From a project perspective, I had a number of very useful conversations, some fueled by probably more wine than necessary, but all of great value. In particular my conversations with Daniel Hook of Symplectic (who was attending as a researcher rather than business owner) which validated some of the views around the motivation and arguments for depositing into instutional repositories as well as subject repositories/open access journals.
I was also able to chat with Sally Curry from RIN on some areas where ERIS and RIN are working along the same lines, which may bear fruit later, plus Stephen Grace from KCL who presented on the readiness for REF project (phase 2) which was particulary useful in relation to the use of the CERIF for recording information on research.
Over all, a very useful event, and one that I’d recommend highly to people – especially for those who might feel a little inditimdated by some of the more technical and ‘expert’ repository events that take place around the country.
I’m very pleased with the relationship that ERIS is building with RSP, and I’ll hope for us to work on collaborating in a number of areas over the coming years.