Support in action - spotlight on an RSP site visit

16th October 2007, by

Spotlight on an RSP site visit

On the 12th October 2007 Jackie Knowles and Chris Yates, both members of RSP staff based at Aberystwyth University, spent the day on a site visit at the University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UWIC). The Aberystwyth RSP team are specifically funded to provide a high level of support for the 12 Welsh Universities and regular site visits are a key way of the team keeping in touch with local contacts and delivering repository support at the coal face.

Site visits are organised in partnership with a lead contact from each local institution, in this case Helen Thomas, Information Advisor (Electronic Services) at UWIC. The purpose and aim of a site visit is driven by the local needs of each institution; this means the days are often varied and can include elements such as presentations and facilitated discussions through to more specific focussed meetings or technical hands on assistance with installing or configuring repository software.

The main event of the site visit at UWIC was a buffet lunch and drop-in session for the UWIC academic staff. Two short presentations were given as part of this, one outlining repository developments within the UK as a whole and the second focussing in on developments at a more local level within UWIC itself. These were followed by a lively question and answer session. A total of about 20 staff attended and they proved to be an interested and enthusiastic audience. They asked lots of questions about the principles of open access to their research, as well as querying some of the specifics such as copyright ownership of material. During Q&A sessions such as these the RSP support really comes into its own - we were able to assist Helen in responding to some quite tricky questions providing on the spot answers drawn from our range of repository expertise. Helen was looking for volunteers from the audience to put forward their content and agree to become early adopters of the UWIC repository, as well as some volunteers to sit on a local steering group to address some of the policy issues that crop up as their project proceeds. On both counts willing volunteers were identified!

In addition to the main session we also used the opportunity of face to face contact with Helen to fit in a short working meeting. Helen provided the RSP team with update on the specifics of progress with the UWC repository project and its associated project planning; UWIC have been discussing repositories for some months now and are planning to install the DSpace software in early 2008. A further JISC funded project, the ‘Welsh Repository Network’, is providing funding to Welsh Universities to buy the computing kit required to run a repository. Consequently, this meeting was also an opportunity for us to check in with Helen as to the progress with procuring their hardware purchases.

Finally we wrapped up the day with a short discussion about repository metadata with Helen and Luisa Caceres-soto, a cataloguer from UWIC library staff. While the amount of time we had did not provide us with much time to go into detail, it did lay the foundation of some understanding of the importance of metadata in the repository. To follow up both Helen and Luisa will be attending the RSP metadata day taking place in Wales at the end of October and this dedicated session will allow more thorough discussions to be pursued.

Overall the event was a really useful insight into repository discussions as they are happening at a local level and the varied programme typifies the range of support the RSP can offer.

"The advice and support provided by the RSP team is invaluable. Their knowledge of repositories has enabled us to respond to local queries in a swift and accurate manner and their answers on procedural and technical issues have aided our project development. We would like to extend our thanks to the team." Helen Thomas, Information Advisor (Electronic Services),UWIC.


For further information contact RSP.

Alternatively, email RSP Support or phone 0845 257 6860.