Last week I attended the Repository Fringe 2011 conference in Edinburgh. Repository Fringe is intended to be a less formal alternative to the bigger repository conferences such as Open Repositories, in keeping with the festive air in Edinburgh during August. What follows is what I took from the conference, and is partial- there’s also a remarkably comprehensive live blog of the event on the Repository Fringe website and the event’s Twitter hashtag which will fill in the many gaps in my account.
The conference kicked off with a presentation from Eloy Rodrigues from the University of Minho in Portugal. He summarised the work that he and colleagues had been doing to foster the growth of repositories in Portugal, and to create a truly national infrastructure. This has been done to an admirable extent, with a Portugal-wide aggregator called RCAAP, a repository for Portuguese researchers without a home institution, and a service aggregating Brazilian and Portuguese repositories to create a portal by which all Portuguese language OA material can be accessed (now incorporated into the main RCAAP service linked to above).
The presentation made me consider the way in which smaller nations (off the top of my head I thought of Ireland, Wales, the Netherlands, Australia and colleagues on Twitter added Norway, Belgium, Slovenia, Denmark; there are probably others too) can organise national infrastructures in a way that larger and perhaps more disparate nations have problems in so doing. Portugal, Australia and the Netherlands are particularly good examples of nations that have linked repositories directly to governmental research dissemination policy at a national level.
Next up was Thomas Krichel, talking about the Author Claim project. Author Claim is an attempt to crack the name disambiguation nut, a long-standing problem for research management. The service allows authors to “self-disambiguate” their research outputs, incidentally a model we at City are using for the repository project. This is great, but left me wondering about the various projects out there looking at these issues, and how they relate to one another (Names, ORCID etc. etc.). If anyone can point to any guidance on this, I would be most grateful- perhaps a topic for a future UKCORR meeting or similar?
The afternoon saw a round-table session on SWORD metadata package and standards, the lesson from which I took: there are as many metadata standards for transferring data as there are repositories! Following on from this were the always-enjoyable Pecha Kucha sessions. The two most interesting sessions (because I was unfamiliar with the projects) were those from Adrian Stevenson (UKOLN) on the LOCAH project, which is converting Archives Hub and COPAC data into freely available open linked data; and from Sheila Fraser (EDINA) on a project to mine OpenURL activity data to (amongst other things) suggest similar items to those discovered, and to track resource usage.
Then it was off to the rooftop of the Informatics Forum, which featured lovely views over the Crags and Arthur’s Seat, as well as the University district, for some drinks in the August sunshine.
A report on day two of the conference to follow!