Archive for September 2011

CREST Research Symposium, 6th September

The CREST (Consortium for Research Excellence Support & Training) Research Symposium was inspiring and stimulating, with an array of extremely thought-provoking and diverse research; an opportunity to reflect on research practice and methodology across disciplines. Some thoughts from the day:

  • In describing the Kultivate project to researchers at the event I found the terminology of ‘online research environment’ helpful.
  • Gail Rowntree, Senior Lecturer in HR Management, Buckinghamshire New University, spoke about deploying welfare teams to work with victims’ families in mass disasters (more than 14 victims in an incident). The complexities of recording the experience of these personnel, ethical issues, and legal and insurance issues.
  • It was really interesting and useful to experience a different event approach. There were three poster presentation sessions; each session included around 4-5 researchers. The researchers/presenters had brought a poster and were each based on small tables; the audience in groups of about 5-6 spent about 10-15 minutes at each table. This may have been tiring for the presenters but it was excellent for the audience as in such small groups the conversations were really interesting and diverse; it encouraged questions and discussion easily.
  • ‘Speaking truth to power – or just another story? The possibilities and limits of narrative research’, Sue Lea, University College Plymouth St Mark & St John. The session covered research approaches and the validity of narrative research in recording learning relationships in the classroom especially when dealing with excluded students, and with issues of power and inequality.
  • Unfortunately Lucy Leake was unable to present, but her abstract is very interesting: Making ‘Sense’ of Digitality in HE Teaching
  • ‘Participatory research into street based youth work interventions on violence’, Mike Seal, Newman University College. It was very interesting to hear about this research approach, for example building relationships and trust through an outward bound course.
  • ‘Textile as a vehicle for trans-cultural and interdisciplinary research: A magic carpet ride crossing boundaries, borders and thresholds’ Lesley Millar, Professor of Textile Culture & Director, Anglo Japanese Textile Research Centre, University for the Creative Arts. Professor Millar presented a beautiful visual narrative of cloth and human experience including the cross-cultural stories of cloth such as gingham (Reference: Yvonne Dröge Wendel’s Universal Pattern project). More information and project news is available from:
  • ‘Between production and display: On teaching curating to fine art students’, James Brown, Plymouth College of Art. The concept of ‘curation’ is a loaded word for artistic research so I was really interested to learn about this project. This teaching module gave students an experiential approach to understand the concept of curation, before they were presented with the theory. They also practised the theory by working in a dedicated space at the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. The students were empowered to control the meaning of their artworks and the audience’s interpretation of them, providing a structure to their practice beyond the studio environment.
  • Critical Commentary, ‘an interdisciplinary academic journal’ produced by Newman University College, Birmingham


CREST USB memory stick
The bamboo CREST USB stick which included instructions for joining CREST Collaborate, details of CREST events and resources, and instructions for contributing to the Critical Commentary journal.

With thanks to Dr Alisa Miller, CREST Research Network Co-ordinator, for organising the Symposium.

August’s Repository Fringe at the University of Edinburgh

Cottage Lab and REPOfringe cupcakes at the evening reception, 4th August
Cottage Lab and REPOfringe cupcakes at the evening reception, 4th August
Photo: eurovision_nicola

Both the JISC-funded Kultivate and eNova projects presented at the Repository Fringe 2011 held at the Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh, 3rd-5th August 2011. The event was a chance to network, find out about other innovative projects and also to pick up tips for future events. The event organisers did a great job and I will be trying out some of their ideas at future Kultur II events e.g. round table, pecha kucha. The live blog was really good and comprehensive especially considering the diversity of the presentations and sessions captured in this way.

JISC RTE project staff, 5th August
JISC Repositories: Take-up and Embedding project staff with the JISC Programme Manager Balviar Notay, and Jackie Wickham and Laurian Williamson (JISCRTE Project Co-ordinator) of the Repositories Support Project, 5th August
Photo: eurovision_nicola


Some brief notes/highlights:

  • Dave Tarrant depositing into a repository using DepositMO, SWORD2 and the AR Kinect Drone: YouTube video of the ‘future of repositories’
  • From Nicola Osborne’s Pecha Kucha – how do we integrate stuff back into repositories? examples of projects: and
  • Presentation from the Names project, their Names auto-completer is now available from the EPrints Bazaar.
  • University of Glasgow’s Mini REF Pecha Kucha. I was really looking forward to this presentation as a previous offering at the Fringe last year (cake theme) was so entertaining. Discovered that their version of MePrints includes a REF selection widget!
  • Inspirational story of FigShare – ‘publish all your data’: started by Mark Hahnel with a budget of zero, then received funding for three years hosting, now has funding to continue hosting for at least the next 20 years
  • Key points from the Mini-REF workshop: managing REF submissions to avoid spikes; keeping academics engaged after a call out for REF has finished; keeping allies in the research office – not always an easy relationship as both under a lot of pressure with the REF; REF good opportunity to do back fill of the repository; disambiguating authors sitting in multiple departments and how you deal with that; issues with recording splitting and merging departments in the repository; ultimately REF was massive opportunity – to put repository at heart of institution; final caveat never to lose sight of open access!!
  • During the break on 5th August I spoke to James Toon regarding their work with MePrints, this is available via the EPrints developer wiki (I couldn’t find it so I have emailed to ask for the link).
  • Suggestion received from Miggie Pickton regarding MePrints: email notification to the academic to encourage deposit of full text items
  • Key points from Linked Data round table session: ask what is the problem space rather than getting too philosophical i.e. if you put data out there people will try and solve the problems; issues at national level e.g. Netherlands and Portugal have exposed their theses for text mining; you need a strong justification if you are not going to do linked data; but you can’t mandate full text due to publisher and researcher issues; turn the question on its head: what would repositories want to offer linked data?; PIRUS II – JISC project normalising statistics across repositories with publishers.
  • Following the Kultivate Pecha Kucha, Peter Burnhill’s suggestion of terms for a repository ‘put it in the Depot’ aka


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