January 27, 2007

OR2007, Retrospection 1: "What is an open repository?"

I was planning to liveblog the Open Repositories 2007 Conference: listen to presentations, make notes in Ecto, paste in URLs, add my own associations, proofread and post. But I discovered that it was not so easy, for me, to blog and listen and worry about my worn-out battery at the same time. So I listened and wrote notes on paper. I thought I'd try to construct a set of recollections of my conference experience and post them as retrospections. This is the first one.

After the first morning sessions (parallel user group sessions for DSpace, EPrints, and Fedora) I shared an elevator ride with a participant who asked "What is an open repository?" I said, "You mean, in contrast to a closed one? ... It's a repository that's open for everyone. Think of it like a public library, but no card is required." He said he liked the short one-line description. I hoped it wasn't too misleading.

Later in the conference I mentioned this episode to a couple of folks more involved with organizing the conference and learned that I didn't have it right. The intent of this conference was to focus on the experiences and futures of open source repositories; i.e., open source software that implements and supports repositories of information broadly defined: documents, books, scholarly publications, research reports, data and datasets, music, images, video, etc.

Many of the presentations did focus on open source aspects of repository design, development and deployment (good stuff, that). But the issues of open access to scholarly information were also part of many sessions. So maybe it's not so easy to separate these concerns. And I think that as the success of these projects grows, and as libraries and other information and data collections select open source software systems as solutions to their repository objectives and problems, the scope of OR conferences will also broaden even more. But that's just my speculation. We can see for ourselves next year in England (I overheard that). By the way, is a link to next year's conference available yet?

UPDATE: This is a repost since I still can't get postings from Ecto to ping technorati reliably or consistently.

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Posted by Bill at January 27, 2007 5:48 PM

Here you are, Bill:


Posted by: Jim Downing at January 28, 2007 8:13 AM