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Making Repositories Mean More: Report on the Fifth International Conference on Open Repositories 2010

Carol Minton Morris




The Fifth International Conference on Open Repositories 2010, OR10, was held in Madrid, Spain, July 5-9, 2010. The conference organizers' aim was to "bring together individuals and organizations responsible for the conception, development, implementation and management of digital repositories, as well as stakeholders who interact with them, to address theoretical, practical, and strategic issues". The conference highlighted the importance of Open Access, and the value of interoperable institutional repositories and technologies to science and education.


Juxtaposed against a dramatic week of World Cup soccer events more than 420 delegates from 36 countries met in Madrid, Spain July 5-9, 2010 to share ideas about increasing deposits, impact and meaning in repositories at the Fifth International Conference on Open Repositories (http://or2010.fecyt.es/). The Spanish sun, excellent tapas, marvelous art works and ancient attractions provided a backdrop for lively discussions about the future of global knowledge systems. Spanish government and education officials from sponsoring organizations opened the Conference by underscoring the importance of Open Access and continued innovation in interoperable institutional repositories and technologies to spur advances in science and education.

Photographs of the conference site

Left to right: The conference was held at the Palacio de Congresos; the Plaza Mayor is a renowned plaza in the city of Madrid that has been the site of bullfights and more; part of an Alexander Calder sculpture outside of the Museo Reina Sofía (Queen Sofia Museum).

"The Grand Integration Challenge" conference theme called on presenters to consider: "A world of increasingly dispersed and modularized digital services and content, (where) it remains a grand challenge for the future to cross the borders between diverse poles." Program Chair Wolfram Horstmann reported, "We had about 250 submissions, only for the general track of the program (plenary sessions and posters). The rejection rate for submissions to plenary sessions, based on at least two independent reviews, was roughly 65%. The submissions allowed us to compile a selective, high-quality program that was thematically balanced." Narrative feedback collected from conference evaluations submitted by 147 attendees confirmed a high degree of satisfaction with general conference content.

Paul Walk, Deputy Director UKLOLN observed, "My overall impression of the conference was about how mainstream this community has become. This is the only conference I have been to in a year which had grown in number of delegates compared to the previous year. Although I didn't manage to get to the PASIG event, it was really good to see that Oracle has decided to pick this up — a testament again to how this stuff is no longer a niche concern for big vendors and mainstream suppliers."

A demographic analysis of OR10 attendees presented a picture of an audience made up of early career librarians or developers based on 147 post-conference survey responses. A majority of 98 respondents indicated that overall conference content included timely and useful topics. Repository platform user groups, which were held after the main conference tracks, were a highlight with many survey respondents reporting that DuraSpace (DSpace and Fedora) and ePrints user group sessions and networking opportunities were highlights of attending OR10.

Paper sessions were focused on a variety of topics and approaches around integration that included Research Data, Citation and Bibliography, Administrative Systems, Repository Platforms, Repository Frameworks, Interoperability Policy, Data Integration and Disambiguation, Digital Preservation and Archiving, Academic Workflows, National Approaches Usage Statistics, Sustainability and Business Operations, Repository Infrastructures and Open Access Policy.

Abstracts of presentations can be found here. Philip Hunter, Research Publications Service Manager, Edinburgh University Library, and Robin Taylor, Systems Developer, Edinburgh University Library highlight selected OR10 paper sessions in their OR10 conference report: Ariadne, Issue 64, July 2010: http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue64/or-10-rpt/.


Keynote Address

The conference keynote address was offered by David de Roure, Professor of Computer Science in the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, UK who set the stage for many OR10 presentations and the Developer Challenge. Inspired by the OAI ORE protocol that provided the means to create additional meaning around deposits by inter linking information to repository records through using RDF, de Roure characterized workflows as the new rock & roll. "They are the machinery for coordinating data, interaction and services," he said. As such their importance in creating rich repository environments with potential for increasing the impact and reach of research is significant. He discussed "myExperiment" which is a type of Facebook-like social media for scientists that allows users to shop for items like workflows. myExperiment can be brought into individual desktops and work environments.

The real power behind linking data from everywhere by enabling RDF with SPARQL in myExperiment is the promise that future researchers may be able to aggregate papers; experiments, talks and notes into "knowledge packs" that are de Roure's idea for future knowledge sharing units made possible by ORE's ability to group objects. de Roure believes that there is a way to balance freshness with persistence in curating and reusing data and research information in the "web of data" to create an efficient, effective and dynamic future for research.


DuraSpace (DSpace and Fedora Combined) User Group Sessions

The joint DuraSpace plenary session included updates from Brad McLean, CTO, who gave an overview of DuraSpace's strategy moving forward which includes a view of Fedora and DSpace repositories as being part of a larger ecosystem that is consistent with other conference presentations. The DuraSpace organization sees interfaces evolving with CDL microservices, decoupling user interfaces and workbenches (Drupal, Manakin, Blacklight, SWORD, author add-ins) as well as enhancing data portability and supporting independent user-facing projects. DuraSpace will have a predictable community-driven release schedule for DSpace and Fedora with an emphasis on code reuse between the two platforms, as well as progress towards common cloud practices that will help make repositories interoperable.

It was announced that the DSpace and Fedora communities would investigate strategies to allow DSpace software to run "on top of" the Fedora platform. The goal is to retain an out-of-the-box DSpace experience while enabling features that Fedora provides (versioning, relationships between objects, flexible architecture).

DSpace sessions included presentations on DSpace 1.6, Open Access, preservation, customization, resource discovery, learning resources, research management and a special session for DSpace repository managers produced jointly by the DSpace Committer Group and the DSpace Global Outreach Committee that provided DSpace tutorials and an overview of the DSpace software development process.

Fedora sessions included user presentations and sessions that discussed planned development in the core repository service by members of the committers group. User presentations included a variety of very interesting topics — workflow, metadata management, user interfaces and preservation. Fedora core development review included discussion of new enhancements of the content models that were introduced in version 3.0, and how they could be used directly by generalized software that can adapt to specific types of collections. Also, the "high-level storage" interface was discussed, which would offer a new paradigm for how Fedora treats its back-end storage.


EPrints User Group Sessions

The EPrints user group sessions began with an overview of the newest tools in EPrints 3.2 designed to aid the next wave of community led developments. Following this were community led sessions showcasing both novel customizations to production repositories and cutting edge developments that have come out of research projects. Of particular note was the proposal for a community produced "EPrints Handbook" which was led by Richard Davies and Stephanie Taylor. The second day consisted of two workshops which gave the community an opportunity to try preservation tools and repositories for teaching and learning.

The availability of OR10 DuraSpace and EPrints User Group Sessions recordings will be announced at http://or2010.fecyt.es/publico/Home/index.aspx, and through repository news channels.


OR11 in Austin, Texas

Since the first Open Repositories conference was held in 2006 the scope of new ideas, and breakthroughs, that have been presented in this dynamic conference continue to contribute to making global digital knowledge open, accessible and durable.

Next year's conference will continue the OR tradition with the University of Texas hosting OR11 in Austin from June 7-10, 2011. Check the Open Repositories web site and #or11 news channels for more information as it becomes available.


Related Community News, Reflections and Software Releases

Conference reporters provided a variety of viewpoints on OR10 Conference highlights and related topics.


Dev CSI Developer Community Supporting Innovation Blog: "We have a winner! Developer Challenge at Open Repositories 2010 (Madrid)". A blog post about the Developer Challenge held at OR10. Participants were asked to: "Create a functioning repository user-interface, presenting a single metadata record which includes as many automatically created, useful links to related external content as possible."

Stuart Lewis' Blog: "The SWORD course slides now online", Stuart Lewis. Blog post with slides and highlights from "The SWORD Course" at OR10 offered by Stuart Lewis.


JISC-funded Embedding Institutional Data Curation Services in Research Blog: "Open Repositories 2010 in Madrid", Kathryn Dally, Michael Fraser, Luis Martinez Uribe, James A J Wilson. "Many of the talks discussed issues around research data and digital repositories."

Open Repositories Tweets 2010, Adrian Stevenson, 1214 tweets with the hash tag #or10 compiled by Adrian Stevenson

Ptsefton Blog: Open Repositories 2010 - Learning and Culture, Peter Sefton. Sefton writes that "as repository designers move away from hosting mainly articles, mainly in PDF, into learning and creative-arts resources there is a need for packaging which impacts repository architecture."

What is Digital Library Architecture? Blog: Impressions from Open Repositories 2010 - Michael J. Giarlo. Giarlo was, "Pleased to see the increased attention to alternative approaches to preservation and to repositories as a set of services rather than (necessarily) as a system."

JISCexpo Blog: "LinkedDatainLibraries", David F. Flanders. A Report on 'Linkeddata in Libraries' Meeting that took place at the British Library in May in collaboration with CLIR.

Software Releases

New software releases and updates that included the Fedora 3.4 Repository platform, the Hydrangea demonstration application of the Hydra stack, and the BibbApp campus research gateway and expert finder application were introduced at OR10 and released over the summer.

DuraSpace Blog: News Release: BibApp 1.0 Now Available

Now Available: Fedora Repository 3.4

Now Available: Hydrangea Beta1



With thanks to Les Carr, David Flanders, Valorie Hollister, Wolfram Horstman, Bram Luyten, Alicia López Medina, Thorny Staples, Adrian Stevenson and Paul Walk for help in preparing this report.


About the Author

Photo of Carol Minton Morris

Carol Minton Morris is Director of Marketing and Communications for DuraSpace, and is past Communications Director for the National Science Digital Library (2000-2009) and Fedora Commons (2007-2009). Her interests are informed by her background in publishing and the visual arts. They include community development around establishing collaborative communications systems and tools for distributed content dissemination, and connecting open access, open source and open technologies people, projects and institutions with relevant news and information. She was the founding editor of NSDL Whiteboard Report (2000-2009) featuring information from NSDL projects and programs nationwide. Follow her at at http://twitter.com/DuraSpace.

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