OR2014 Repository Rant accepted (and a call to the community)

This year, Open Repositories 2014 is trying something new with a series of short 24/7 repository rants, to be delivered on Wednesday, 11th of June and one those rants will be mine, entitled:

“The Invisible Institutional Repository: Missing a Trick (and Missing Fulltext)?”

The title (and the rant) seemed like a good idea at the time and I have been both pro (and anti) the “invisible repository” but the challenge is to do the pitch justice in a mere seven minutes:

This repository rant focuses on the challenge of making the institutional repository a valuable (and visible) service for academic colleagues – and ensuring it fulfills its full potential. It considers repository branding, “look and feel”, the need to add value and the challenge of ongoing repository engagement. It then looks to services like Mendeley and ResearchGate to ask if we are missing a trick (and lessons we could learn) from them. It will not provide specific solutions but rather is intended as a think piece in the spirit of this track which will “challenge the conventional wisdom or practice, and highlight what the repository community is doing that is misguided, or perhaps just missing altogether.

More explicitly the presentation is intended to:

  • challenge the value and use of the word repository [at least for end users – what is a repository anyway and really, do our academic colleagues care what it is called?]
  • explore if being invisible matters, are there advantages to being invisible?
  • ..or, if you can be seen, how does your repository present itself – like Amazon, like a Library Catalogue, something altogether institutional, or indeed like a repository
  • ask how we can close the gap between fulltext and just a metadata stub (if we collect both)
  • consider if an institutional repository is just another bit of central IT like the HR system or does it have unique/engaging properties which we should take advantage
  • consider how best we can help our academics feel ‘ownership’ of their material in the repository
  • support the shifting Open Access landscape [and its attendant issues]
  • ask how we can deliver more value [from ‘ego’ e-mail updates about downloads, deposits, tweets, views etc to new services]

My clarion cry to the community

As if that wasn’t enough (while also looking at services like Mendeley and ResearchGate), in my brief time of 24 slides and 7 minutes, I would like to include anecdotes (attributable or not) beyond the University of Glasgow which can support and fuel this proposed rant. My call to the community is to ask for your tales and your experiences. Do any of those questions resonate? Is it enough that we have ‘repositories’ usually in the ‘look and feel’ of our default software so we can readily identify a DSpace one, or an EPrints one, or a.n.other one?

I would be really interested to receive any comments or thoughts from colleagues on the challenges in ensuring that our repositories don’t just languish empty but really do realise their potential and make a difference in scholarly communication and the toll-free dissemination of research.


Enlighten’s One Millionth Download aka Brewster’s Million

Enlighten, the University’s publications database and open access repository, has recorded its one millionth download of Glasgow research.

Presentation to Stephen Brewster


The one millionth download was a 2004 conference paper by Professor Stephen Brewster entitled “Tactons: structured tactile messages for non-visual information display“. There have been over 12,300 downloads of Professor Brewster’s papers in Enlighten since January 2009.

Susan Ashworth, Deputy Director of Library Services, was delighted to present Professor Brewster with a bottle of champagne and said: “Downloads and access to Enlighten continue to go from strength, demonstrating the importance of making the University’s research freely available”.

A download statistics dashboard has been added to Enlighten which enables staff to see the overall downloads as well as their own download totals or those of their school or College. A similar dashboard has been added to the Glasgow Theses service and there are now over 60,000 theses downloads per month.

Statistics dashboards (and IRStats2)

For those who are interested, our download dashboards use an EPrints add-on called IRStats2 [Institutional Repository Statistics 2 – the successor to… IRStats].

Request a Correction: Integrating EPrints and Supportworks

In May 2011 we launched a new “Request a correction” feature for Enlighten to make it easier for our authors and their staff to request updates and changes to records which are live and publicly available in Enlighten.

These requests enable authors to:

    • Claim a publication so that it is linked to their name
    • Update the publication status from In Press to Published
    • Amend bibliographic details like page numbers, issue or volume

A “Request a correction” text link was added to the bottom of the record.

The link takes requesters to a simple form which asks for an @glasgow e-mail address and provides an input box for the request itself. This was based on the “Request a copy” feature already part of EPrints core code.

The requests are e-mailed to deposit@lib.gla.ac.uk, the Enlighten team’s e-mail account.

Integration with Supportworks

Lessons from our MiniREF exercise and introduction of this feature also provided us with the opportunity to review how we manage requests, not just for corrections but for full text additions, copyright correspondence and general queries. This review led us to consider using Supportworks, the University’s help desk management system.

IT Services created a new Enlighten Team for us and a range of call profiles to identify the requests and their resolutions. All e-mail to deposit@lib is now sent on to the Supportworks help desk system.

Request a Correction: Calls

Thanks to some additional programming in Supportworks e-mails from the “Request a Correction” are automatically created as calls. They are assigned the call profile of “Amend a Record” and if the requester has used their @glasgow e-mail address they are listed as the customer and can update the call and check on its status.

Supportworks Call

Example of Supportworks Call

These requests appear as calls in Supportworks and the team automatically receive an e-mail alert. Staff can accept a call and it is then easy to identify the status of calls, who is dealing with it and how it is progressing.

Usage and Future Developments

Since the launch in May we have had more than 180 requests via this new feature, the vast majority of these have been changes such as those outlined above.

Supportworks also provides search and reporting options which can show the volume and type of calls for particular periods. The Enlighten team will be able to receive automatic weekly updates which will provide details of the number and type of calls.

As we come closer to REF2014 we may also refine the call profiles to include REF updates to enable us to more readily track the volume and changes made.


With thanks to Lesley Drysdale who modified the “Request a copy” code, Mark Temple who did the programming and set-up in Supportworks and the Enlighten team who are managing the corrections.

Open Access Repositories Resource Pack (OARRPack)

The University of Glasgow has been commissioned by JISC to create an Open Access Repositories Resource Pack (OARRPack) for the UK’s Open Access Implementation Group (OAIG). This is aimed at encouraging UK universities to adopt Open Access and the open agenda.

Wide range of Open Access Information

As colleagues will know, there is a vast quantity of information about open access available via numerous websites, reports, videos and other documents but within the UK context this is not available as a coherent whole.

The aim of this project is to survey the guidance currently available to HEIs in the UK and further afield on why and how they can practically implement a more open approach to the release of their research outputs. By analysing what is currently available, synthesising this, talking to key stakeholders and establishing what new content might need to be produced the project team will then develop an OA resource pack.

The pack will be aimed at both university senior managers and at repository managers and other staff charged with implementing open access policies.

It will provide a mix of the high level information necessary to enact institution-wide policy changes and the practical details needed in order to implement these policy changes.

Community Engagement

To inform the development of the OA resource pack we would like to encourage the Open Access community and our colleagues to contribute in a number of ways by:

  • Sharing details of useful resources with us
  • Suggesting OA experts to take part in a small experts group feeding into the development and evaluation of the pack;
  • Letting us know if you think your senior management would be willing to talk to us, either about how open access was implemented at your institution or about what they would need from an OA resource pack in order to implement an institutional OA policy

Contact us

Suggestions, ideas and comments can be sent to eprints@lib.gla.ac.uk or to our Twitter account @OARRPack

Related Links

EPrints, Impact and our MiniREF Exercise

During October-December 2010, the University ran a “MiniREF Exercise” to gather data on outputs, impacts and esteem data for over 1200 Research staff. The review of that work is now ongoing.

Enlighten, our institutional repository service was used as the platform for selecting and reporting on this information. The Library’s Enlighten team worked closely with the Office of the Vice Principal (Research and Enterprise), Research Offices in Colleges and many academic colleagues as we updated/added publications data.

Impact and Enquire

Our JISC funded Enquire project had impact as a core element and gave us scope to explore different options for gathering supporting information about publications as well as impact data. Ultimately, we decided to work with and implement the functionality which Southampton had developed, back in 2007 for RAE2008.

IRRA – Institutional Repositories for Research Assessment

The work of the Institutional Repositories for Research Assessment (IRRA) project, funded by JISC for the RAE2008 seemed an ideal fit for the collection of outputs, impact and esteem data.

The IRRA Project had developed an EPrints add-on for research assessment which created separate mySQL tables for recording measures of esteem, selecting publications and providing reports. This was designed to:

“Facilitate the gathering of evidence for RAE returns by allowing users to:

  • Record measures of esteem
  • Select items from the repository
  • Qualify each selected item for RAE return

And allowing unit managers/administrators to:

  • Carry out each of the above on behalf of a user (e.g. to adjudicate between two users selecting the same item)
  • Identify and resolve problems with selections
  • Produce reports in Word and Excel (RA2) format”

– From the “EPrints RAE Module Silver Release README”

The EPrints add-on has a rich set of features for capturing and reporting supporting information . We configured it [with assistance from Tim Miles-Board at EPrints] to provide an additional focus on impact and esteem data for our mini-REF pilot exercise. We created two separate means of collecting impact information. The first was a separate section to capture the impact of an individual’s research. The second was an impact option for each specific output where multiple authors could add their own impact to the same output. We didn’t use the latter approach however.

We trialled this with our internal REF Working Group who were very impressed with initial demonstrations of this add-on and provided valuable feedback enabling us to refine the language and make changes to the functionality. One example of this was the removal of the “Selected by” feature which would show staff who else had selected publications, at least in the user view. We have kept this as a feature in our REF Reporting section which only a handful of Administrators have access too.

New MiniREF user options

Using these IRRA add-on we have created new set of mini-REF options which are displayed when staff login.

Mini-REF Options

These options included “REF Selections” – for publications and outputs associated with an individual, and “REF Impact” for impacts authored/created by individuals. A third option “REF Reporting” was only available to designated REF Administrators in the College Research offices. This was a new user role (with thanks to Patrick McSweeney at EPrints).

REF Selections

When users chose “REF Selection”, a list of outputs from 2008 onwards was displayed for selection. In the original release this was based on surname and publication year from 2001 onwards. We updated this to 2008 onwards and took advantage of our author GUID work to more precisely show records available – or in some cases highlight those records which didn’t yet have a GUID.

Staff could select their publications, rank them in order of preference, provide additional information and rate them. The text and guidance for this exercise was written by colleagues in the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Enterprise), in consultation with our REF Working Group.

REF Selected Items

Selected Items screen

Clicking on Edit Info provided Users with a Selection Details screen where further details, a self-rating and a preference could be added.

REF Selection Entry Screen

Impact and esteem

In addition to the selection of four outputs we also wanted to capture impact and esteem data. The IRRA add-on provide a range of granular esteem options (which included impact) but for our MiniREF exercise we only used three fields

  • Impact
  • Esteem
  • Other Information

The Other Information field was added to enable staff to provide any supporting information they wanted to provide.

REF Reporting and Administrator Options

The IRRA add-on also included a reporting section, this includes Word (HTML) and CSV (for Excel) outputs. This could potentially be extended to an appropriate XML format, potentially CERIF for interoperability. For our exercise we focussed on the existing reports. The Excel report was the one which was used the most since the data could be re-used in Access or just readily reviewed in Excel itself.

This was designed with the RA2 in mind and included labels. We removed many of these and replaced the output codes such as D [a journal article] with the text “journal article”.

It was possible to extract various lists either electronically or in print, for example, to help with preparation and checking of REF submissions.

We added a REF Administrator role so that authorised staff including College Research Office staff and Research and Enterprise administrators could complete information on behalf of academic colleagues. This was an invaluable feature.

REF Administrator Options

Concluding comments and key lessons

Over 1200 academic colleagues returned data to the MiniREF, this was through a mix of self and proxy selection. The exercise ran for just over six weeks and during that time more than 4000 additional records were added to Enlighten. The Library’s Enlighten team dealt with over 700+ e-mail and telephone enquiries [and this doesn’t include the ones which went to our College Research Offices].

We learned a number of key process and development lessons, including:

  • Your publications database can never be comprehensive enough in advance of an exercise like this
  • Ensure you are ready to deal with the volume of queries, updates and additional publications which the exercise will elicit
  • Administration features including the opportunity to make changes on behalf of users (to update records on their behalf) and to run various reports are absolutely vital for managing returns and gauging progress
  • Learn lessons, take onboard feedback and be flexible/nimble enough to make changes to the system and workflows
The Library’s role and the work of the Enlighten team has been greeted very positively and favourably as a result of this exercise. It has enabled us to work much more closely with academic colleagues and College Research staff. We will now build on this work to ensure Enlighten is as comprehensive as possible.

Using Google Analytics to show our Top 100 Searches

We have just updated our August 2010 Top 100 searches from Google and other Internet search engines. This post provides an overview of how we do this and the Excel file(s) which we use.

It’s done manually at the beginning of each month but doesn’t take long to do, once the initial files were set-up. We just:

  • Extract the data from Analytics
  • Use Excel to produce an Top 100 searches in HTML
  • Copy the HTML data into a Top 100 searches page

Getting Started with Google Analytics

In Analytics, Keywords can be found under Traffic Sources from the left hand option menu. Set the date range which you want to report on and GA will display an overview of the numbers searches and the number of keywords used. It will show the first 10, we change this to the top 250 to get an overview of the searches.

Keywords Traffic for Enlighten for August 2010

Keywords Traffic for Enlighten for August 2010

The keywords are exported using the Export > CSV for Excel file format. This exports daily search counts as well as the keywords and their visits.

Exporting as CSV for Excel

Exporting as CSV for Excel

From Analytics to Excel

In Excel we trim the data from Analytics into just two columns keywords and visits. At its most basic, we could have just made this data public but we felt it was more useful to provide links back into Enlighten which would enable us to this data.

Excel with Keyword and Visits Columns

Excel with Keyword and Visits Columns

To use these, we add two additional columns, one for the keywords to be used by the link (Keyword_Plus) and the other for the links which will be generated by our Excel formula (Link). In the new Keyword_Plus column, we replace all the spaces with + these will be used as the search terms by Google.

In the Link column, we use a formula in Excel to create an HTML formatted list which combines the first two columns. This is set-up to pass the search terms back to Google. To ensure relevance we use our local custom Google Search but results could be limited using site:.

We use the former because it gives us more control over the sites searched and the “look and feel” of the search and results pages. We do definitely recommend applying an option like this and not just passing results to Google…

Excel with Keyword Plus column

Excel with Keyword Plus column

The formula which we use for links is this (the hardest part was sorting out the & and ” syntax!):

="<LI><A HREF=""http://www.lib.gla.ac.uk/enlighten/search/results.html?cx=008133519044995412890%3Ai9xbikqzcrc&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=UTF-8&q="&C1 &"&sa=Search"&""">"&B1&"</A> "&"("&B2&")"&"</li>"

An alternative version just going directly to Google and limiting by site:

="<LI><A HREF=""http://www.google.co.uk/search?q="&C2 &"+site:eprints.gla.ac.uk"&""">"&B1&"</A> "&"("&B2&")"&"</li>"

A copy of our August 2010 Excel file, including these formula can be found as GA_Custom_Search_Example.xls and GA_Site_Search_Example.xls on the Enlighten website.

Once the formula is in the first row of the search terms, we scroll down to add this for all 100 searches. The column variables are replaced with the keywords and visits and prepped with <LI> so they can be used as an ordered list. This was initially an unordered list but we changed it quite early on to become ordered since that made more sense for a Top 100 listing.

From Excel to the Top 100 Searches web page

The results of Column D are copied into our Top 100 Searches web page between ordered list tags to show their ranking. The introductory text is updated to provide an overview of the number of searches for that month.

This is uploaded as index.html into our /top100searches directory. and the finished page is available from the Top 100 Searches link which is part of our default left hand navigation bar.

Enlighten - Top 100 Searches (August 2010)

Enlighten - Top 100 Searches (August 2010)

Monthly and Yearly Counts

Over the last couple of months of we have also started to provide monthly as well year to date search counts. This gives new search terms (and papers)  an opportunity to be seen.

See:  2010 to date

A word about John Wayne…

Searches for John Wayne continue to rank at the top of both our annual and monthly statistics. Using the Advanced Filter for August 2010 we can see that there were 68 variations on keywords with John Wayne sending a total of 392 searches. These accounted for 2.28% of our search traffic.

The paper, “Is that you John Wayne? Is this me?”: myth and meaning in American representations of the Vietnam war by Professor Simon Newman is freely available from the publisher link in the record in Enlighten.

Enlighten workshops for University staff

Last week we ran a couple of workshop sessions open to staff across the University who deposit in Enlighten. We have an Enlighten contacts mailing list which we set-up after our various department meetings to update staff on new services, workshops and changes.

The workshop was also a good opportunity to provide a snapshot “state of the nation” showing Enlighten’s growth in deposits [with thanks to the Enlighten team and EPrints Services] and usage through a mix of our ROAR data and Google Analytics.