There’s an EMALINK (East Midlands Academic Libraries Information NetworK) workshop taking place at the University of Lincoln on Wednesday – the theme being collection management and development.
A colleague (Acquisitions Librarian, Di Walker) and I are giving a presentation about how we’ve used e-resources usage data to help make collection decisions about ‘Big Deal’ databases. Our slides are online.
Subject libraries don’t like it, but lack of uptake from academics means that it is the subject librarians who end up doing the work.
However, unless library can demonstrate success, unlikely to get money to buy better system… So library putting more effort into make it work.
So: on Monday, I’m hoping to kick off a discussion by giving a quick run-through of the various online reading list management options available to UK Higher Education libraries. These screenshot slides (which are a visual aid / aide mémoire rather than a proper presentation) list the various products and approaches to reading list management. Some are commercial software projects; others are Open Source projects; still others are being developed in-house at various universities (and are not necessarily available for the University of Lincoln to use – e.g. the University of Huddersfield’s MyReading Project); there are a couple of wildcard solutions in there too.
I was in Manchester on Monday for Opening Data – Opening Doors, a one-day “advocacy workshop” hosted by JISC and RLUK under their Resource Discovery Taskforce (#rdtf) programme. I delivered a five-minute ‘personal pitch’ about Jerome, open data, and the rapid-development ethos that’s developing at Lincoln.
The JISC deputy, Prof. David Baker was first up. His presentation, ‘A Vision for Resource Discovery‘ should be compulsory reading for university librarians. See, in particular, slides #6 (guiding principles of the RDTF), #8 (a future state of the art by 2012), and #11 (key themes).
Following this introduction, there were three ‘perspectives’, short presentations “reflecting on the real world motivations and efforts involved in opening up bibliographic, archival and museums data to the wider world”: from the National Maritime Museum, the National Archives…
The first breakout/discussion session which I sat in on looked at technical and licencing constraints to opening up access to [bib] data. This was the point at which the tortured business metaphors started to pile up. ‘Buckets’ of data. ‘Elastic’ buckets that can expand to include any kind of data. And (my personal contribution, continuing the wet theme): data often exist at the bottom of a ‘well’. Just because a well is open at the top, it doesn’t necessarily make it easy to get the water out! You need another kind of bucket – a service bucket that makes it possible to extract and make use of the water. Sorry, data. What were we talking about again?
The site itself is going to be invaluable in hand-holding and guiding institutions through the possibilities in opening up access to their own bibliographic data (OBD). Slides from the presentation that are particularly worth noting are #8 (which shows the colour-coding used to distinguish the different OBD use-cases) and #14 (examples of existing OBD).
Paul Walk’s presentation, ‘Technical standards & the RDTF Vision: some considerations‘, is the source of the slide which I photographed (at the top of this blog post). Paul talked about ‘safe bets’; aspects of the Web that we can rely on playing a part in allowing us to create a distributed environment for resource discovery: including “ROASOADOA” (Resource- / Service- / Data-Oriented Architecture), persistent identifiers, and a RESTful approach. See also this blog post.
In the second breakout/discussion session, we discussed technical approaches. One of the themes which we kept coming back to was that of two approaches (encapsulated by Paul’s slide) which—while not mutually exclusive—may require different business cases or different explanations in order to be taken up by institutions. We characterised the two approaches as:
Raw open data vs Data services
Triple store vs RESTful APIs
Jerome vsCOMET (bit of a caricature, this one, but not entirely unjustified!)
I was gratified that Lincoln’s approach to rapid development and provision of open services was also referred to in non-ungratifying terms, as a model which could be valuable for the HE sector as a whole.
Finally, we heard what’s next for the #rdtf programme. It’s going to be rebranded as ‘Discovery‘ and formally re-launched under the new name at another event: ‘Discovery – building a UK metadata ecology‘ on Thursday, 26 May 2011, in London. See you there?
Ken Chad is writing up a report from the day and Helen Harrop is producing a blog, both of which will be signposted from the website: http://rdtf.mimas.ac.uk.
It was a particularly useful event, especially so for being packed into 2½ hours (and worth learning to drive an automatic in order to get there!), with a presentation from Loughborough about their project to select a next-generation OPAC system; group discussions around some of the factors involved in launching such services; and our own contribution, which led to some interesting conversations about the benefits and risks of experimentation in libraries.
Library induction presentation for new students beginning foundation degrees (FdSc Food Manufacture / FdSc Agriculture & Environment) at the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing, Holbeach Campus, south Lincolnshire: September 2010.