Personal Engagement with Repositories through Social Networking Applications

Next Generation Technologies in Practice 09

Posted by Janet Finlay on March 11, 2009

John, Wendy and I have just done a joint presentation, together with Jim Hensman from Planet, on sharing practice and social technologies. The event was Next Generation Technologies in Practice. Our presentation is here:
Vodpod videos no longer available.


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Browser plug-ins/extensions

Posted by Nick on January 15, 2009

Browser plug-ins and extensions aren’t really something I’ve explored in any great depth – apart from – we’ve been thinking more about widgets. Could we perhaps think about how plug-ins/extensions could be used either as an alternative or to complement some of our other tools?

Not sure yet if there is a social networking component to Zotero…if not could it be developed? And what skills does one need to develop plug-ins?

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My second interview

Posted by Nick on December 2, 2008

Some of the stuff that came out in this conversation is quite interesting – though my interview technique still needs some work and I do at one point refer to my ideas for a “Nirvana for the repository”.  Cringe!

My second interview…

Though I intended to focus on PERSoNA, this interview necessarily takes in Open Access and the repository in general, the second half is more PERSoNA.

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Leeds Met Repository Blog

Posted by Nick on November 11, 2008

We have now implemented an early version of a Blog supporting access to various repository tools for Leeds Met:

The intent is to include key information and tools including:

  • a link to the Leeds Met Repository
  • web based search for the repository
  • web based one click deposit to the repository (via SWORD)
  • SHERPA/RoMEO widget
  • making visible RSS feeds for internal collections
  • access to social bookmarking and citation related sites such as, Connotea and CiteULike
  • access to social networking sites such as facebook
  • other tools as they become usable (eg. Streamline’s auto-metadata generator tool)

We hope that a blog will provide a suitable environment for users to interact with the tools and add blog comments to reflect their experiences and thoughts and that this will contribute to some of the major aims of PERSoNA:

  • Stakeholders commenting on the various processes around the use of the repository, and encouraging each other in the deposit of materials.
  • Onward signposting and bookmarking of resources elsewhere to promote use of both in-house and other materials.
  • Members of the project team engaging with users both in guiding them in use of the system, and in observing user behaviour and comment on the use of the materials in the repository to feed this into improvements in the system.

Posted in Leeds Met Repository Blog, PERSoNA, Web habits | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

My very first interview

Posted by Nick on September 25, 2008

I can safely say that my interview technique needs some work.  Jeremy Paxman can relax.  For now.

In actual fact the SDF did not prove to be the easiest environment to interview academic staff as they were scurrying from workshop to workshop and not terribly amenable to interrogation during tea break.  I did manage to get some recorded material that should still serve as a useful starting point but I do need to think a little more about the questions.

Anyway, here is

My very first interview…

NB.  The lady in this interview HATES Wikis!

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Staff Development Festival

Posted by Nick on August 29, 2008

Well, I’ve set my stall.  Almost.  A couple of Innovation North tablecloths, posters, leaflets and my brand new recoil stand.  Adjacent to the University Research Office for synergy.  It’s missing something though, je ne sais qua…it needs someone with a bit more artistic flair than I…

One activity that I intend to carry out during the Festival is ad hoc interviews with a cross section of colleagues about their understanding and use of web 2.0.  I plan to be relatively informal – grab a digital recorder and wander around with my mic like John Sargeant – then I can edit the results and post on here as a podcast; though I will also try to apply the principles of IPA and extract some meaningful data that we can then use as a springboard for more detailed exploration.

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Repository Developments.

Posted by johnrg on August 27, 2008

In the last 6 weeks or so the open source IRISS SRU interface for the Intralibrary Repository has been made available. We have been able to create a modified version of this interface that connects to the LeedsMet Repository, searches for a given term, and extracts and displays matching entries. So far so good. The next phases for this project intend to extend this interface to include an interactive tree like representation of the internal structure of the repository and to investigate the incorporation of the interface within a personalisable interface supporting access to both work related and socially oriented tools. Hopefully prototypes of these will be available for demonstration during the Staff Development Festival in early September.

Given the Leedsmet partnership with Google early investigation of personalisable interfaces will focus on igoogle, a customisable personal portal available with the suite of tools and applications comprising the google interface. By creating google gadgets encapsulating the project tools we will make available to staff a range of facilities that will enable staff to build an igoogle page containing a range of work related and social networking tools that reflect their needs and interests.

Once we have tools and interfaces for staff to engage with we will be looking for staff who are willing to use both and provide feedback on their usefulness, usability and customisability.

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Interpretive Phenomonological Analysis as a methodology for PERSoNA?

Posted by Nick on August 1, 2008

Or IPA to its friends…

I’ve just been listening to Linda Creanor’s Keynote from the recent Emerge online conference (23-25 June 2008). Linda was talking about the JISC funded LEX project and I think that the methodology (IPA) that she describes might be just what I am looking for to generate that elusive user input for PERSoNA.

As its fundamental starting point IPA adopts an experiential (phenomenological) focus (the participant as expert) upon which the researcher imposes their own interpretive process.

The principles of IPA are that it is an inductive approach (bottom up rather than top down); that it does not test hypotheses and a priori assumptions are avoided; it provides opportunities for participants to tell their own stories, in their own words, and in as much detail as possible; it aims to capture and explore the meanings that participants assign to their experiences.

A successful analysis is:

  • Interpretive (and thus subjective) so the results are not given the status of facts
  • Transparent (grounded in example from the data)
  • Plausible (to participants, co-analysts and general readers)

Here is the full LEX Methodology Report

Posted in Web habits | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Research Study: How is Web 2.0 viewed by academics?

Posted by Nick on July 16, 2008

Drop this here for later:

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Moving forward…

Posted by Nick on July 10, 2008

On the back of the Emerge presentation, and as an earlier adjunct to the Streamline meeting, a group of us sat down on Tuesday to review PERSoNA and think about precisely what tools the project needs to deliver.

A question:

Should we be looking at a web tool that facilitates appropriate social networking and resource sharing that sits outside the repository rather than embed tools within intraLibrary itself?

John began by sketching a very rough outline of the repository projects; I have taken this diagram and tried to flesh it out to more fully represent my own conception of what we are aiming at with our interlinked projects:

This approach to PERSoNA would allow intraLibrary to be configured simply as a repository that we can annexe to our web tool – whatever that may be.

Note: Might a potential problem with this approach be integration with the Web 2.0 technologies and personalisation tools already present in intraLibrary 3.0 (RSS, rating system, user comments, add to favourites)?

Anyway, if this should be the approach that we follow, the crucial questions are perhaps:

  • What sort of tool or tools would be useful enough so that people would naturally engage with them?
  • How could the use of such a tool or tools promote use of the repository?

One idea is to somehow embed the repository and its peripheral infrastructure (i.e. the PERSoNA tool) into the scholarly workflow such that deposit/discovery/sharing of resources is fully integrated into the process of writing and publishing a research paper or producing/repurposing a learning object.

Note: Other projects are exploring similar themes: The EMBED project at Cranfield University aims “to increase understanding of how repositories can be used to support research and learning, integrating them fully into academic processes.”

Dawn suggested a WIKI as a possible solution: it allows collaboration – often essential in research – and could in theory be used to write a research paper which could then automatically be deposited to the repository at the appropriate point in the workflow. Janet, however, was quick to point out that a while a WIKI may be useful to collaborate on research, it is not, in fact, an appropriate technology for writing a research paper citing lack of adequate version control as a major drawback.

Creative suggestions notwithstanding, I’m acutely aware that we really need more user input – what do academics actually want? I still think there is mileage in assessing individual web habits and other factors that contribute to workflow inertia – by interview perhaps?

Janet referred to a post-graduate project that might provide us with a useful opportunity; as I understand, a group of postgraduates hope to produce their own research journal and utilise a sort of informal peer review process to assess quality. Perhaps we can collaborate with the project; a potential user-group to help us develop a useful and usable virtual, social environment that facilitates easy deposit of appropriate material into the repository which is then made available as an e-journal.

Posted in PERSoNA, Web habits | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »