November 21, 2006

metadata workflows

Filed under: Repositories — Neil Godfrey @ 9:14 am

Have had a great visit today to have a look at repository workflows at the University of Queensland (thanks Belinda) and Queensland University of Technology (and thanks Paula) and it was as hoped in my last post here at least not too far off a road to Damascus experience. Till now I have only had close working knowledge of University of Southern Queensland workflows and have long felt keenly the need to know what happens outside our walls.

I can now say comfortably that USQ, QUT and UQ experiences (not one but three witnesses!) have confirmed my gut feeling that USQ’s workflows are trying to do way too much — like a one man smiling clown band amazingly peforming an incredible array of instruments and deeply frowning from stress deep down. But the solution to breaking up the blocks and bubbles of those workflow diagrams so they sit with an array of performers and not just one or two in a library is broader institutional maturation. I mean by that that after the birthpangs of trying to sell how easy and rewarding the whole repository idea will be for submitters, once the whole idea becomes institutionalized (“it’s university ‘POLICY'”, “RQF requires it!” … ‘resistance is useless’ (thanks, PC) — both within the university world and its reporting for funding requirements, obliging academic publishers to keep pace? — then the burden can be shared. A library editor can then afford to bounce back to a submitter craving peer recognition and Google hits a routine form letter saying “uh-uh… this is not what we need for open access to your article . . . read the following (again) . . .”. Mediators such as research assistants, liaison librarians for the various schools and faclties, can take on more of the basic submission work. Ideas sharing can help library editors pick up new shortcuts.

I think the USQ eprints editor gained a lot out of todays show and tell sessions, and my next job is now to sift through the different experiences of USQ, QUT, UQ, take on board their concerns as they prepare to move from ePrints to VITAL and Fez repositories, and prepare something for the whole this coming Foster day, including our D-Spacer(s?)!


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