Reflecting Back on the Fringe

I’ve written elsewhere about my hopes and expectations prior to attending the event as a whole, and you can read about the sessions in full on the Fringe Blog, should you wish to get a taste of the whole event.  Since there have been so many wonderful posts on the individual sessions I’m not going to duplicate the efforts, rather I’ll just share some key points I learned.

  • There is still a lot of very active development going on and around repositories – that hasn’t been totally subsumed by the REF and CRISes.
  • There is a real feeling of positivity engendered by people working in this sector.  They have very tough jobs, but they all seem to relish it.
  • A sung paper is a thing of joy and delight – more unusual presentations next time please (for the Gen Y and Z people at least!)
  • The fear of cocking up a REF submission is paramount for many repository managers.  The REF has given them a greater institutional value and prominence, but greater risks come with greater reward.
  • Symplectic isn’t a CRIS.  Better not tell my old bosses that, they’d be most upset.
  • SWORD works a treat to populate a repository from external sources.
  • Metadata is either a complete waste of time or the most critical element.  Honestly, I’m still not sure which way to jump on that one.
  • Few digital systems last longer than 15 years (except in the NHS) so planning for sustainability beyond that is a futile activity.
  • Nicola’s team at Edinburgh puts on an excellent conference and makes it look effortless.  Thanks and well done!

And my favourite quote from the whole event

  • Speaker “So, how long is your repository going to last?”
  • Audience member “Probably until the end of the REF.”

Not many months now to see how true that one is – will repositories suddenly dip off the radar in November or will the REF2020 help keep their light shining brightly?



I’m currently a PhD student at Nottingham Trent University based in the College of Arts and Humanities and attached to the Dept of English, Culture and Media. I'm looking into the cultural effects and affects of open access (OA), access to knowledge (A2K) within the HE environment. Previous to this I've worked as a repository manager, Chair of UKCoRR and as project officer for the Repositories Support project. I'm blogging about the Repository Fringe very much from the doctoral student perspective, rather than the working academic or repository manager. I'll also be tweeting extensively about it I suspect. Find me on twiter as @llordllama.

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