Monday, July 25, 2011

Break-out session on CRIS/repository community at RSP conference

One of the five topics that we covered through smaller group break-out discussion sessions at last week's RSP conference was all about how the CRIS and repository community might want to communicate. This nicely tied in with the end of Simon Kerridge's keynote speech about how linked systems mean that more communication between research office and repository managers is essential. The session's title was 'Community and Communications to Support the CRIS Model' and it was basically a facilitated discussion around whether this new CRIS->repository world requires new thinking and new means to share the knowledge and experience that's out there. Are existing discussion forums or mailing lists sufficient to the task?

I started by asking each of the two sets of people who had chosen to join this topic how they had found out about the RSP event itself, which lead on to an interesting look at which lists different types of people (RO = research office, RM = repository managers/library, IT = technology people) belonged to.

group 1:

group 2:

There was a bit of overlap but no obvious one existing place that all the groups who now are involved when CRIS systems (traditionally coming from the research office) are linked to institutional repositories (usually run by the library) or the link is under consideration - except perhaps for the JISC-repositories list, which is rather wide-ranging and already quite busy.

Then we had some discussions around open vs closed lists (the RePosit Google discussion group is now open to all new members) and the dangers of 'flaming'. We talked about how to avoid list fatigue - perhaps by using technical solutions to join existing lists via keywords into a super-list rather than creating anything new - and heard with interest that ARMA and UKcorr lists may be joining forces. Also, how to maintain the informality of a group - such as that which has helped make the RePosit Google group approachable for queries and discussions? Plus there were those who felt that existing communication was sufficient without needing anything else, using Twitter or Google searches to find individual sources of extra information - or just the willingness to pick up the phone and talk to someone in person.

All in all, some interesting discussion - but how to take this forward? In the absence of one obvious person who is so motivated to set up and run a CRIS/repository community, which is the body to run with the idea? In our discussions, the consensus seemed to be some combination of RSP/JISC and ARMA was our best bet.

posted by: Lizzie Dipple

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