Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How do you know when you have achieved increased engagement?

Way back at the start of the project, one of the aims we set ourselves as project partners was to be able to demonstrate increased engagement with repositories as a result of our simplified deposit model. In order to show increased engagement, we needed to be able to calculate numbers of unique depositors (so who is doing the uploading), but this wasn't the simplest data to be able to extract.

DSpace doesn't have a report with which to provide this data, and it isn't possible to extract it from the Elements database. However, we knew that when an item was uploaded, along with the metadata for the item and the file, data about who had made the submission was entered into the dc.description.provenance field. How to get at this and turn it into useful numerical data took a little time to work out.

Our IT Services systems administrator performed a search within DSpace looking for matching text strings within the dc.description.provenance field. Once he had this, he provided me with a (very much tidied up) text file which I was able to import into spreadsheet software to begin turning into numerical values. Since the data we wanted was cumulative, it didn't take long to make the appropriate calculations (especially since the number of depositors is relatively small at the moment).

This was a messy process, with some risk of inaccuracies because of the manual extraction process, fine as an interim whilst something better is investigated perhaps (hello DSpace developers?), and I do have to wonder if there is an easier way to get at the data. It also occurs to me that this time consuming process might work for one-off data extractions, but would be unsustainable over longer periods for regular collection of data. However, we do now have statistics on how many people are actually engaging with our repository (not to pre-empt the final report of the project but: July 2010 = 24, April 2011 = 61), and this gives us some evidence of how well we're doing; not only in terms of new users, but also with sustained engagement.

With many thanks to my IT colleague, David Goddard, for handling the extraction and cleaning up of the data.

Sarah Molloy (Queen Mary)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

RePosit at Symplectic User Conference

This week saw the annual Symplectic User Conference in London, and a number of the RePosit project team attended. The day was loosely themed around repositories and data storage. Rachel Proudfoot (Leeds), Sarah Molloy (QMUL) and Nicola Cockarill (Plymouth) jointly gave a presentation about RePosit - one of the four talks given by outside speakers. There were a number of questions from the audience for the RePosit speakers, and it seemed that the three case studies - outlining what has been taking place at each of the three institutions represented regarding RePosit activities - struck a chord. We also plugged our involvement with the forthcoming RSP event in Nottingham on 19th July - a major dissemination opportunity for the project.

At the end of the day, making the most of the chance to meet face to face, we had a brief project discussion about progress in various areas. We also talked about how the RePosit presentation had been received that day - and I learned that at least one other institution had made contact to find out about potentially reusing some of our advocacy messages to help them make a case for the CRIS-to-repository model.

posted by: Lizzie Dipple

Monday, May 9, 2011

Notes from project team Skype call on 28th April 2011

At the end of last month, the team got together virtually for one of our regular Skype calls to keep each other up to date with progress and share experiences. The formation of smaller groups within the team to look after individual parts of the project work seems to be going well: for instance, the group looking after the survey have made great strides and in the call we made the final tweaks to the core survey questions. Subsequent to the call, we now have an agreed core survey, which has been set up on BOS for the first site (Exeter University) and there will be further news about the survey in later posts. Another area of project work that has been active recently is the planning of our dissemination event which is to take place within an all-day event hosted by RSP in Nottingham.

Here are the notes from the call.

posted by: Lizzie Dipple

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Queen Mary update

In recent weeks, the repository here at Queen Mary has been having a bit of work done 'under the bonnet'. In preparation for a proposed official launch during this month of 'May-ing', we have upgraded DSpace from version 1.5.2 to version 1.6.2, and upgraded Repository Tools into the bargain. Top marks to the IT guru for having achieved this without a hitch (he was somewhat smug).

Elsewhere in Research Publications world at QM, we have recently launched a public 'shop window' of our research output. Research Publications will eventually link to Queen Mary Research Online, is already automatically updated every day (overnight) and is proving somewhat popular with our academics and administrators alike who want to link to it from department websites. We'll be monitoring the traffic to/through this site over the coming weeks and months to see what impact it has on exposing research outputs more widely, and whether it too could drive engagement with Open Access.

In a related matter, we are now working with departments to provide data from PubLists (our local name for the Symplectic Elements system) to departments to populate their own academic web pages. This is a very big deal here, with lots of academic staff keen to have this set up quickly (no pressure then). Again, this will provide a direct link to full content in QMRO, so this could be an additional driver for engagement but it's early days at the moment.

The major focus for me over May and June is to begin seriously promoting and advocating: Open Access, self deposit, repositories and in particular QMRO, using the model that we've adopted here to demonstrate the ease with which this can be achieved.

Sarah Molloy (Queen Mary, University of London)