I'm a bad, bad blogger. I find it hard to write reviews of conferences as I go, or even immediately afterwards, but I'm going to try to improve on that in 2008.
This is far from liveblogging, but here are some notes of my impressions from the Clever Collections conference in Melbourne last month. This post is expanded from my brief report for the RUBRIC board.
Daniel de Byl and I ran a workshop on ICE the day before the conference. We had a small, enthusiastic group who seemed to get at least something out of the day. We'll see how many of the attendees keep in contact. Past experience is that without the kind of institutional support we provide at USQ, individuals don't tend to stick with ICE (either that or they are very very self sufficient and don't need to ask us or the ICE mailing list any questions).
One surprise was the talk by Professor Noshir Contractor, From disasters to WoW: enabling communities with cyberinfrastructure. He looked at the way social networks affect how people do research, and how understanding networks could make research more effective. There were some striking examples of visualization tools that showed how research articles and researchers are linked in various ways, going way beyond the simple search and browse used in IRs at present. One example showed two distinct networks of research and researchers working in the same area, but with little overlap (research articles have their own social networks apparently, through things like citations and keywords). I think the example was from the NSA in the USA, looking at how they could merge the networks somewhat.
Dr Ashley Buckle delivered a compelling argument, The Australasian Repository for Diffraction Images, in favour of open access to research data citing recent cases of scientific fraud in protein crystallography.
I was impressed by a whole session with APSR folks talking about their work on repository interoperability.
RIFF & the Australian METS profile : RIFF is the Repository Interoperability Framework which we'll be exploring in detail this week. The METS profile, developed by the National Library is a real improvement over the situation a couple of years ago – it should now be possible to create packages that can drop easily into both Fedora and DSpace – something we couldn't do at the start of the RUBRIC project.
AONS2 : A utility for managing file formats in a repository and reporting on preservation issues.
Fieldhelper : A repository client designed for field researchers such as anthropologists or archaeologists. It has some interesting features, such as the ability to group items and add metadata to all of them with a cute drag and drop way to apply metadata. : Have a look at the screenshots. I think the interface show some promise but the application needs a lot more work and a good deal of field testing. : I was inspired by the demo by Steven Hayes in which he automatically geo-tagged a set of images and packaged then for ingest into a repository to buy a cable for my GPS. Stay tuned.
Two of the presenters, Scott Yeadon and Leo Monus, are coming to USQ in Toowoomba this week to a workshop we're holding on interoperability between repositories and researcher-tools such as ICE and Zotero, as well as workflow tools like the Open Journal System. More on that workshop/unconference soon.