intralibrary repositories conference 2008

I managed to get along the the second day of the recent intralibrary conference the other week. Although a many of the presenters had links with Intrallect and/or were intralibrary users the discussions did focus on much broader issues than the specifics of that particular system. As I missed the first day I can’t really give a complete overview of the whole conference so I’ll concentrate on a couple of items that caught my interest. Neil Fegen has provided an excellent overview of the conference as a whole.

The first presentation of the day caused a lot of interest. Ian Watson (Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services) gave a demo of a new web based interface his team have developed for intralibrary call opensearch. Although at the early stages of development this did look like a really useful tool as it had lots of user friendly features. The team are hoping to extend the tool to incorporate federated searches, implement SWORD and it will be released as open-source. I’m sure this is one project my colleagues in the MDR SIG will be keeping an eye on.

There was also a presentation of a packaging tool called Compendle – which I had never heard of. The tool is basically a content aggregator/packager, and has quite a nice user-friendly drag and drop interface. However when probed a bit deeper, it does really only offer quite basic functionality. However the team did seem to be keen to develop it further to allow for more advanced editing sequencing functionality.

Probably the most interesting part of the day (for me anyway) was the workshop session led by John Casey (JORUM). John has recently joined the JORUM team and is leading the way in investigating ways to make the service more open – the ultimate goal is to have an open (at point of access) service, possibly called OpenJORUM. Plans are at a very early stages and John outlined some ideas he has been mulling over including an intermediary phase (possibly called JORUM UK) which would be open only to those in the UK. This idea didn’t seem to go down too well with the audience and parallels were drawn with the experience of the BBC with only allowing certain services (e.g. the iplayer) available to the UK.

In terms of IPR and licencing it looks like there will be a move to a more creative commons approach. This would hopefully bring about a much needed driver for greater clarity and leadership from institutions over IPR. Citing his previous work in the TrustDR project, John stressed that IPR is not the problem – it only becomes a problem for the teaching and learning community if there are no clear institutional guidelines. John, did emphasise that no decisions have been made, and that the driving factor of any such extension of the JORUM service would be providing something that is quick and easy to use.

Any developments with JORUM are of obviously of great interest to the CETIS community and the next EC SIG meeting (end of May, Manchester – watch the list for more details or contact me about it) will feature a session from John and colleagues and an opportunity for more community discussion around the open resources debate.

Presentations from the conference are available from the Intrallect website. Thanks to all at Intrallect for organising another stimulating conference.