Personal Engagement with Repositories through Social Networking Applications

Posts Tagged ‘Streamline’

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 »

Technology and learning day

Posted by Nick on June 11, 2008

The PERSoNA section of the TEL Day questionnaire was brief indeed which reflects my grappling with the best way to engage with people on their use (or otherwise) of SNAs.

John Gray at a recent Streamline project meeting emphasised that, in his view, we should be starting by considering peoples’ actual, real requirements before getting bogged down in the myriad of potential technologies and, in a round about way, I think this is pretty much what I was getting at in my last post.

At this stage, however, we chose to present a list – long but by no means exhaustive – of proprietary applications and ask respondents to indicate their level of familiarity (heard of, browse only [no account], browse only [with an account], make comments only [with an account], contribute content [with an account]). My goal was to gain a very preliminary sense of user engagement with some of these technologies in other environments.

I’m not certain how useful this section of the questionnaire was and it needs some careful thought how best to go forward – my initial sense is that once we have a repository and established some prototype workflows we should follow John’s advice and carefully assess what people really need to facilitate their engagement with the repository before identifying SNAs that will provide focussed solutions to those needs. It is very important that whatever technologies we adopt for PERSoNA are tightly focussed in this way and that they simplify and do not complicate the workflow; at the Streamline project meeting the observation was made that wholesale adoption of every available technology offers few benefits and is, rather, potentially destructive to the individual’s workflow.

One observation from the questionnaire that perhaps does merit comment (full results spreadsheet available here.) is that individuals who have higher levels of engagement tend to be familiar with and use a wider range of applications and at a higher level; such a correlation might well be expected but it does suggest, perhaps, that people either use Web 2.0 or they don’t rather then they use a particular tool because it solves a particular problem for them.

Instructive also were some of the comments elicited when people were asked why they did not, in fact, use SNAs:

“Haven’t found one useful enough to me.”

“Time, habit, inclination”

“Lack of knowledge”

“Can’t be bothered”

This last blunt response should, I think, be taken seriously and not dismissed as merely reflecting apathy – is this respondent, perhaps, simply asking “What is the point of these things? What do I gain from using them?” These, after all, are amongst the questions PERSoNA needs to answer.

Posted in Questionnaire | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »