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JISC Digital Repositories Programme wiki and mailing list launched

Julie Allinson
Last modified 28 Feb, 2006
Published 28 Feb, 2006
The Digital Repositories Programme [1], a £4m JISC programme to enhance the implementation and development of digital repositories in the UK, has recently launched a wiki (DigiRep) [2], managed by the Programme’s support team.

The dedicated Programme support team has been established by JISC to support the work of the Programme and its 25 projects. This support work is shared jointly by CETIS [3] and UKOLN [4] and has five team members: Sarah Currier and Mark Power from CETIS, based at the Universities of Strathclyde and Bolton respectively, along with Rachel Heery, Julie Allinson and Mahendra Mahey from UKOLN, at the University of Bath.

The remit of the support team is varied, and includes providing advice and guidance to projects, helping exploit synergies across the programme and beyond, synthesising project and programme outcomes, liaising with other national and international repositories activities, including feeding into the JISC/DEST [5] eFramework for Education and Research [6] and scoping a repository reference model. Another important role is in collating project outputs, particularly scenarios, use cases and workflows, and using these to scope the repository landscape with the aim of developing a repository typology and taking forward the repository ecology outlined by Kerry Blinco and Neil Maclean of DEST [7].

DigiRep is a central tool for this support work, facilitating communication, discussion and collaboration between the support team and projects, who are encouraged to contribute and enhance the content. Through DigiRep, both project and support team outputs can be disseminated, and discussed, without the need to rely on an editor or web manager. Based on Mediawiki, DigiRep benefits from the robustness demanded by Wikipedia which is also powered by this system. An active development community is keen to further expand functionality through upgrades and extensions.

DigiRep is visible to anybody and will be of particular relevance to those working on repositories-related activities, both JISC-funded and beyond. Close ties other JISC and international initiatives means DigiRep will also be useful to those working within JISC and internationally on reference models and frameworks.

Projects within the Digital Repositories Programme are exploring many aspects of repositories, including different types or resources (e.g. research data, eprints, theses, images, teaching and learning materials, etc.), different issues (e.g. cultural, technical, management, legal, etc.) and different technologies (including eprints.org, DSpace, Fedora, LionShare, in addition to commercial repository solutions). Within the e-learning space, for example, projects are looking at a range of themes, including aspects of personal resource management, such as the use of informal wikis and blogs [8] or utilising peer-2-peer systems for sharing teaching and learning materials [9]. Several projects are examining barriers and motivators for repositories and their users [10] whilst others are seeking to create demonstration systems to explore new ways of supporting teaching and learning. Identifying such common themes amongst projects is an important task for the support team and, through DigiRep, we can create a collaborative environment for sharing ideas and information.

Keen to foster repository-related discussion and sharing, the DRP support team have also set up a mailing list, JISC-REPOSITORIES@JISCMAIL.AC.UK [11]. Within only a couple of weeks, subscribers numbered in excess of 600, representing more than 30 countries. JISC-REPOSITORIES has highlighted the need for such a discussion list and a number of lively debates have already occurred, including one on the very definition of a repository and the different types that definition might include. Such discussion can only help in our work towards establishing the scope and nature of the emerging repository space.

Julie Allinson, Digital Repositories Support Officer UKOLN, University of Bath, j.allinson@ukoln.ac.uk

References

[1] JISC Digital Repositories Programme web site

[2] DigiRep

[3] CETIS

[4] UKOLN

[5] Joint Information Systems Committee and Department of Education, Science and Training

[6] e-Framework for Education and Research and the E-Learning Framework

[7] Repository Services: A Cosmic View?

[8] PROWE

[9] SPIRE

[10] CD-LOR, Trust-DR Rights and Rewards

[11] JISC-REPOSTIORIES To subscribe send either visit or email JISCMAIL@JISCMAIL.AC.UK with the message Subscribe and your full name.

 

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