The Repository Fringe conference has been hosted by University of Edinburgh and EDINA since 2008 as a lightweight, and cheap, unconference to foster discussion about digital repositories. The programme is what those attending want it to be, and as a result they cram in a whole range of talks, Pecha Kuchas and round table discussions. And for good measure this year there were three pre-conference workshops, of which more later. The Repository Fringe has shamelessly ridden on the coat tails of the Edinburgh Fringe as an added perk of attendance wherever possible, and this year saw many a strange character plugging an event wandering past the windows of the conference location.
This year the event took place on 1st and 2nd August. There are many summaries of the conference available via:
to take note of, but suffice to say that there was much of interest. Presentation slides and videos (for the most part) are all being made available via the programme as well. Key highlights for me were:
- The STARS project at St Andrews (with the RepositoryNet+ project) looking at the relationships between a repository and a Current Research Information System (CRIS) – very much like our our situation.
- A talk by Tim Gollins from The National Archives on parsimonious preservation, which can be summed up in two lines: know what you’ve got, and keep the bits safe. There’s work to be done within each of those statements, but they offer a good simple guide to getting digital preservation going.
- Hearing about ResourceSync, a web-specific way of synchronising/moving content from one repository to another.
- The closing keynote by Mark Hahnel from Figshare, a repository for storing almost any type of research output, albeit primarily focused on data and figures/diagrams. There is huge potential in how we could make use of this resource.
All the Pecha Kuchas were, almost be definition, amusing and informative, and the presentation by song needed to be seen to be believed. There was also the seed of a discussion about the availability and benefit of software developer staff in supporting and building up repositories and other library applications: I’m sure there will be more on this.
I gave an update talk on Hydra on the Friday morning which was well-received, and followed on nicely from a pre-conference workshop I ran in collaboration with Jisc on ‘Getting to the Repository of the Future’. This meeting sought to stimulate discussion around how we would like to see our repositories in 2, 5 and 10 years time, and produced much engaged contribution within the breakout groups. Initial output from the workshop has been fed through the Repository Fringe blog (a ‘live’ blog and my initial summary thoughts). The output from this and a related workshop at the Open Repositories conference in early July will be turned into a report later this year to inform Jisc planning and support going forward.
We left Edinburgh to it after the event, and left with much to consider and feed into ongoing work. That and the eccentric Scottish cuisine – a haggis burrito.