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The morning session of the SPARC DR conference were very interesting. I was thoroughly enjoying the discussion of open access and the implications that access restrictions have on data by John Wilbanks when out of the blue he started talking about the semantic web (one of my favorite topics)! Wilbanks cited several examples of how semantic web principles could be used to unify the data located in multiple IRs into a single unsearchable web of data. More information on his work can be found at http://sciencecommons.org .

It has been interesting to be at three conferences over the month, all of which had different but complementary discussions on the connection between open source and open access, the changing nature of popular document models, and the necessity of forming partnerships with faculty and other organizations for libraries. The top ideas that bubbled out of the morning sessions for me were:

  • Archiving and storage of documents/data, regardless of document model, but with emphasis on the value added to the participating researcher is more important than ever
  • Provision of innovative services on top of back-end institutional repositories will help grow market share. There was an interesting list of outreach marketing attempts by Shawn Martin at UPenn. He discussed reasons that they often give faculty for participating in an IR including increased page rank in Google, provision of both open and closed access repository services, and scholarly website management
  • Institutional repositories are an example of the wider discussion of data management, metadata, and service oriented architecture that is gaining momentum in the library and Information Science world. I have seen parralel discussions in the Duke OLE project and in the current popular movements in Next Generation Catalogs. Ideas of linking, interoperability, and service provision are the emerging direction of Institutional Repositories.

At lunch I had a chance to catch up with (our very own) Debbie Nolan. Among other interesting things (including an embedded liaison program at her library) we had a chance to talk with Charles Watkinson about what managing publishing and repositories in the field of Archaeology is like. One of the themes that emerged in this discussion was how to encourage the submission of undergraduate generated non-traditional content into IRs. Some examples included electronic or print newsletters/magazines, undergraduate research, student-driven open access journals, and student group websites. We could not come to consensus on what would encourage a student to submit this content or what goals students have in relation to publishing and archiving but it was an interesting idea . .

That’s it for now – this afternoon is more about value added services and innovation in IRs. . .