Personal Engagement with Repositories through Social Networking Applications

Posts Tagged ‘EMERGE’

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 »

Presentation to the EMERGE community – after the fact (2)

Posted by Nick on July 1, 2008

I’ve just been listening to the recording from the presentation given last week, in my absence, by John Gray. I’m really sorry I missed it as there was some really interesting perspectives arising in the discussion and I must congratulate John on his presentation and making sense of my slides!

I shall try to summarise some of the discussion here but just to recap, John gave an overview of our three related projects and how they link together via a single repository platform (intraLibrary) that we will be using as both an Open Access research archive AND a repository of learning objects (AND, in time, we hope, other digital materials). Traditionally these two main types of material have been stored in seperate systems and, thus far, the uptake of both types of repository has been limited. We hope that the PERSoNA project, through investigating the use of social networking/Web 2.0 technology within and around the repository, will help to promote its use amongst our academic community. I also wanted to look at an example of a successful Web 2.0 “repository” – Slideshare – to see what we could learn and maybe apply to our institutional repository.

For the purposes of this summary I will insert (anonymous) verbatim comments from the text chat – if anyone has any concerns about their IPR please let me know – I’m just working on a take down policy for the repository!

A pertinent place to start might be with a question raised by Isobel who suggested that while the need for a repository was institutionally defined, there was not a great sense that potential users felt any clear need themselves, hence our emphasis on fitting in with folks’ existing workflow.

Janet agreed with this (as do I) with the proviso that, in her view, people really need to see and understand the benefits of such systems before they will commit – chicken and egg paradox. This is certainly the case with repositories dedicated to Open Access and much of my advocacy work to academics will be extolling the benefits of OA. This is THE crucial point, of course, that it is all very well developing new technologies but persuading people of the benefits and then to engage is much more difficult; we will only succeed in engaging users if we map onto what people actually need as individuals.

“we need to address how people work not how we want them to work!”

The statement “Build them and they will come” that I used in the slides has become almost a cliche in the development of Open Access Repositories (of research) and very much typified the first wave of development at the beginning of the noughties with the attitude that OA and self-archiving into an IR is such a good idea and so easy with so many benefits that if we make the technology available, people will use it and while this optimism, in fact, has been found wanting people have “come” to a whole array of Web 2.0 “repositories” with the likes of Slideshare, Flickr and attracting millions of users – including academics. My reluctance to refer to these tools as pure repositories (without the quotation marks) is telling – the point was aptly illustrated when Janet asked whether or not those present actually used a repository. Very few it seemed, and some uncertainty.

“depends whether delicious counts?”

“what about social repositories?”

“Depends what counts as defined as a repository”

When the definition was explicitely expanded to iclude et al, however, many more participants had a smile on their little yellow face and the conclusion seems to be that people are using the “informal” repositories but not the “formal” institutional repositories.

Dawn asked why.

“Formal repositories are tied to publishers’ business models”

“the community” (i.e. There is a community around “informal” repositories but not around “formal” IRs)

“Ease of use”

low threshold – technically”

“easy, organised and available – to manage digital stuff…”

“simple user interface”

no formal channels to follow”


NB. Sharing resources did not seem to be a major factor which is interesting – though it was conceded by a few when prompted!

There was a very interesting verbal contribution from Jim Hensman right at the very end of the session that I can’t really do justice here – if Jim should pass by these parts perhaps he could comment – but his thrust was the complexity of the multiple themes we (as a repository community) are examining and how they are not, perhaps, easily compatible – individual workflow/personalisation; social dimensions/sharing/collective tagging; institutional requirements. This observation was reassuring on a personal level and puts my desperate attempts at constructing complicated fllowcharts into some perspective!

As Jim observed, the Leeds Met repository, Streamline and PERSoNA projects, collectively, give us a rare opportunity to explore some of these cross-cutting themes in a more integrated way than is generally the case.

Posted in EMERGE, Presentation slides, Web habits | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Presentation to the EMERGE community – after the fact

Posted by Nick on June 30, 2008

First of all, sincere apologies that I was unable to present along with John last Monday. I am reliably informed that, technical problems notwithstanding, a lively discussion ensued and I intend to listen to the recording as soon as I can find it! I shall post again after that but in the meantime here is a short summary from John:

“Just finished presenting the Persona project stuff at this on-line conference in the absence of Nick who unfortunately was unable to be there. I’ve only just joined this project and my knowledge of many of the open access issues surrounding repositories is developing. I think the basis of the project struck a chord with most of the participants so we were talking to the converted as it were. My thanks to those who stuck with us in spite of my bumbling.

There was some slight confusion at the end of the presentation when Janet Finlay stepped in to answer a question and her mike stopped working – I could hear her perfectly well because I was in the same physical room as her however there must have been a thunderous silence in the Elluminate room. We fixed this by getting Janet to use my machine and mike and hence Janet and John swapped identities as took over her machine. How many people learned to read with the Janet and John books – wouldn’t it have been a surprise if Janet and John and switched identities in the books!

What we would like to do is to encourage everyone to tell us their stories regarding how they interact with research and/or learning object repositories, and also how they interact with those social networking facilities that they have adopted. In particular can you identify specific things that promote the use of research repositories for you, is there a work flow for you that encourage you to use a repository?”

Posted in Get involved, PERSoNA, Web habits | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

What are YOUR Web habits?

Posted by Nick on June 20, 2008

As part of the session on Monday (16:00-16:45) I would like to ask participants to feed back their own stories of their personal Web habits/work flow.

Some unstructured questions:

  • What is your home page and why?
  • Which particular social networking tools do you use?
  • What sort of information are you most interested in?
  • How do you manage your path through that information?
  • Do you differentiate between user generated content and “authorative” material on the web?
  • Do you use a Web 2.0 “repository” – SlideShare; Flickr; YouTube?
  • Do you use a more “formal” repository – institutional; subject based?
  • What factors encourage you to use a “repository” (or not)?

These are just off the top of my head so my final question is “What other questions could I ask?”


Posted in Get involved, PERSoNA, Web habits | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »