Thursday, April 28, 2011

Progress report from University of Plymouth

An update on Pearl, UoP’s repository, we are currently working hard to solve some technical issues, with the Symplectic collection mapper. Sessions are booked in May ready for advocacy and I am working on guides and the supporting documentation. As Pearl has a self submission workflow, I am writing a Romeo guide for academics, including advice on the publisher policies and how to action the various conditions and points within the policies. The early sessions will provide good feedback from the academics both on the integration and the documentation. May is really the last window of opportunity to do advocacy and get staff to use the system so May is a key focus.

However to be able to run a full advocacy programme and get academics submitting into Pearl via Symplectic, the integration between Symplectic and DSpace needs to be working. There are a number of key dependencies eg that UoP's technical issues are fixed and knowing that with Plymouth's/Exeter's shared Symplectic service, that both repositories can run together.

It is a case of continuing to book the sessions and being flexible to either demo or use screenshots to start to raise awareness about Pearl and continue to work with UoP/UoE/Symplectic colleagues to get the integration working as soon as possible.

Nicola Cockarill
University of Plymouth

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RePosit Questionnaire

At the end of March I joined the RePosit team to assist with writing the on-line questionnaire and with the Advocacy here at Exeter. I worked closely with Jodie Double and Nicola Cockerill on the questionnaire; a number of drafts were available to view and it was from these that I was able to get an idea of the information that was required from this exercise.

I considered it important for the questionnaire to be short, easy to answer and easily understood. Surveys of this type rely on the good will of those replying and anything that causes irritation can lead to the reply being abandoned.

The complication with this particular questionnaire is that most of the questions are dependent on the answers given to previous questions. I hoped to overcome this by organising the questions into groups so, for example, Question 2 asks if a deposit has been made, if the answer is no, the user is asked to continue at question 3, otherwise questions are asked regarding the ease of depositing etc.

The institution specific questions were left alone, apart from the use of a grid which from the BOS website seemed a neat way of asking a lot of similar questions.

The major headache was to keep the questionnaire focussed and easily understood, whilst trying to keep the language adequately generic to apply to all the institutions involved. By the end of the week I had decided that it was a much better idea to give each institution the skeleton of the survey, for each to enter their own repository names. The main thrust of the project is to publicise the institutional repository so to send a communication to all academics without mentioning the local repository name would be a huge lost opportunity. It is important that the only changes each institution makes are the repository names, as otherwise the resulting data will be difficult to compile and analyse.

Jodie, Nicola and I currently believe that the most efficient way forward is for each institution to build their own survey, having taken the skeleton provided and furnished it with local names, and to extract the data to give to Leeds for analysis.

We've circulated the final questionnaire within the project team although this does not imply that no more changes can be made, it was 'final' only to me at the time I uploaded it! We ask for feedback and comments by Wednesday 27th so we can get moving on this. It is, however, most important to get the survey right, so even after this deadline we are very keen for any input.

Gill Still

Saying hello, saying goodbye: project team changes

In recent weeks we've had a couple of changes to the RePosit team, which have affected our project work in different ways. First, Gill Still started working on RePosit at Exeter, to give extra support to what Jill Evans has been covering. This means a fresh pair of eyes reviewing what we're doing and a new perspective – for which we are very grateful, and it is already proving to be of real benefit.

Sadly, very recently Richard Jones left the project team, having finished working for Symplectic Ltd. We will miss his technical insights as well as his clever ways of thinking around any problem that occurs to turn it to advantage. Unfortunately, though, before Richard left Symplectic, he was not able to complete the Repository Tools implementation at Plymouth (and therefore not for Exeter either). Although others at Symplectic have taken over working on the implementations, this unexpected delay for going live with Repository Tools does have knock-on effects for the project at Plymouth and Exeter – since, although they can (and have) been advocating, explaining benefits and embedding the concept within management, neither institution can start advocating deposit at the user level, nor running training sessions, until the systems are linked and live. Therefore, with just three months to go before the stated project end date, we are reviewing what we can do to still deliver the desired project outcomes.

posted by: Lizzie Dipple