Tuesday 3 April 2012

Soton Labs: Embedded Repository Experimentation

We are just in the second stage of the transition for the ECS repository - all the data has been copied across to the main Southampton Institutional Repository, all the ECS repository URLs now redirect there as well, and we are in the middle of data reconciliation and de-duplication. This is very exciting, because the university finally has a single OA research service, with all stakeholders pulling in the same direction and providing a unified view of the university's research output for business, research, education and administration purposes. Huge thanks to Wendy White, Simon de Montfalcon and the rest of the library team, as well as Tim Miles-Board, Tim Brody and the rest of the EPrints Services team for making the whole venture run so smoothly!

Even more exciting for us is the fact that we now about to set up a new programme of repository activity called "Soton Labs". Inspired by the idea of Google Labs, it is an institutional space for experimentation and innovation around research information systems, and EPrints will form its backbone. Driven by the needs of the research staff, it will be informed by a whole range experience and ideas (many gathered from research council and JISC projects) that can be offered to staff on the famous "permanent beta" experimental basis until they are ripe for integration into the main (business critical) repository. Unlike the ECS repository which was focused on a single department's needs, Soton Labs will have a broader brief, to deliver cutting edge services and to facilitate new improved practice for early adopters throughout the whole institution.

I've got a shortlist of tasks that we hope to address in the coming months:

  • live collection of research data
  • simple metadata schemas for research data archiving
  • collections of documentation around research proposals (bids, reviews, responses)
  • research projects
  • linked data.

So you can see that rather than reducing the repository activity in Southampton by halving the number of installations, we're stepping up the pace of repository development.