Susan Knippel and Lorrie Smith attended the Annual DC+GLUG Conference in Valparaiso, IN July 30th – August 1st 2014. Here is a little insight in what we both learned at the Conference.
Being a fairly new member of Digital Repository at Iowa State University, I went to the Annual Meeting feeling somewhat overwhelmed. I did not fully understand all the issues with copyright compliance or why a Digital Repository was important to the university as a whole. The following comments are some of the highlights that I took away from the Annual Meeting.
- Permissions arrive from multiple places (authors, publishers, etc.) and come in various formats (e-mail, word processing, etc.). How can we preserve these permissions digitally in Digital Commons? One suggestion was to keep a copy of the permission as a PDF and attach it as “Supplemental Content”, but leave the “Show” box unchecked, which is how we also currently preserve permissions in Digital Repository@ ISU.
- Digital Commons randomly selects a “Paper of the Day” and highlights it on the DR@ISU home page. In order to help with outreach and to encourage others to submit to the repository, we think it would be nice send an e-mail to the authors informing them their paper was chosen. Currently, we have not devised a way to automatically inform authors their paper was chosen. I have asked Digital Commons to consider this feature request.
- One of the things Digital Commons helps support is establishing a publishing program. There was a lot of talk at the conference about what are the risks and rewards in establishing library-led publishing services? This is a feature we have just started establishing within our own library. I think with more outreach and staffing, we could provide a valuable service to the university.
- How do we promote open access and growth in our institutional repository? At the conference it was generally agreed that meeting with faculty and academic departments is a good way. When presentations and meetings are held, it was beneficial to use marketing tools like pens or coasters with logos to remind faculty of our services. Currently, we are working on setting up schedules for meeting with faculty to remind them of the benefits of submitting their vitas to our institutional repository. We are also looking at marketing tools to see what best represents our services.
- Bepress has several new features offered. They include an image viewer with pan & zoom, Featured Collections, New Download Count Filtering, a Readership Activity Map and Readership Reports with things like how many publications are available, number of downloads in the past month, total number of downloads. These new features provide a lot of great new feedback and insight to our authors and really help to get faculty excited about DR@ISU.
Attending this conference was so helpful because I have a lot to learn about digital repositories. While at the conference, I realized that working in repositories is an ongoing learning experience because the digital world is changing and facing new challenges each and every day. How to educate our faculty on the importance of digital repositories, how to use our faculty to help spread the word about our digital repository to other faculty members, and how universities are trying to find more efficient ways of processing permissions. Here is a list of some of the major points I took away from the conference.
- Growth: Digital Repositories are constantly growing, some faster than others. Universities are trying hard to keep up with the demand of staff, equipment and space to house a department. Some universities only have one person staff person and a student or two to help with the incoming vitas from their faculty. We are incredibly lucky to have such an active and supportive faculty.
- Scholarly Communications: would be more effective if all parties involved [everyone from Faculty to Library Staff] understood the importance of the “how and why” of the digital repository. Working closely with scholarly librarians is one way in which we can help to increase the presence and understanding of DR@ISU across campus.
- What about the General Public? Institutional repositories are funded by tax payers’ dollars. Why doesn’t anyone mention them and how they can benefit from this open access scholarship? How can we get the word out to the General Public or should we? This was far and away the most interesting thing I took away from the conference and it leads into my next point…
- Marketing Digital Repository @ Iowa State University: Some institutional repositories give out items like coasters, magnets, etc. to hand out after a meeting or conferences. This helps in reminding the faculty where the item came from and hopefully inspires them to talk to another member of their department, which in return helps us spread the word about our repository. Currently, I am working on putting together a marketing program for DR@ISU which includes promotional cards, items, and attendance at events that would target a broader public audience like alumni events or the Iowa State Fair.
- Working with Faculty: Harrison spoke on this, “When you have a short amount of time to explain Digital Repository and its importance get on their level, don’t waste time trying to explain certain details of the Why and How of DR, but what it will do for them, the monthly reports they would get will show them who is using their materials and how often”. While it is important for our DR staff to understand all the intricacies of DR@ISU, this other information is what makes folks get excited. Seeing who is looking at their work, how often it is being used will help them to see the importance placing all their works into the repository and making it accessible.