The reason for being involved in the creation of an Institutional Repository
Creating an Institutional Repository (IR) is about connecting people to people, building on the external reputation of your organisation and increasing access to health and care research funded by public money.
You can chose from bespoke software systems, content management systems, library management systems (LMS), or more straight-forward solutions, for example, Excel spreadsheets and Access databases.
Why I chose to use my LMS for an IR.
- I wanted to keep it simple.
- I didn’t want to make the IR a silo. I wanted to raise awareness of knowledge outputs to help put people in touch with one another, and raise awareness of library and knowledge services at the board and throughout the organisation.
- I wanted to do it within my current budget.
- Using my LMS means customers find staff papers when they are looking for books on a topic, this is an added bonus.
- As long as the outputs can be found, for me, the system is not the most important thing. I felt it was better to do it, rather than wait for a gold standard system which may not be affordable.
- I wasn’t convinced a new system would offer us enough added value, or could offer much more than my LMS could offer. Our system is web-based.
- To buy a bespoke system would not just cost an initial outlay, but ongoing maintenance costs and potentially storage costs too.
- Using our LMS increases the scope of the system and provides additional justification for its maintenance.
- My longer term plan is to link to open access articles where they are available. If I can’t link to full text access, I can still raise awareness of the research. The full text can be sourced though the library.
- If the research is already available via a university repository or an organisation’s internet page, I plan to explore if I can link to it. However if the content is in PubMed Central, I will link to that, as I hope the links are less likely to break.
- I don’t store the full-text, I would need additional storage space on our server and copyright can complicate this.
- Cross linking is important to me, to make the content easy to find. Like many LMS I can create links to specific collections. I have a link which displays all staff papers via our Trust research department.
Hints and Tips to get going
- The time it takes to set up an IR will depend on how research active or publication active your organisation is.
- Try and pick a system that won’t become another legacy system or a silo, use one your Trust can easily support.
- Start with items in the public domain and build on that if you can.
- Start with staff papers as they are relatively easy to find. Begin by importing citations and use author affiliation searches.
- Start with the current year; then build on this as far back as you need/want.
- Seek work experience, college/university work placements and pre-employment placement opportunities, these can help you get an IR up and running and to help maintain it.
- Consider sharing staff from research departments. It is a shared priority, so see if they can enter some of the information into your system, or can you raise awareness or support them with theirs?
- If you are storing or linking to internal documents choose a method that will keep them internal (e.g. password protected or on an internal system). Often LMS have hidden categories which can be seen with a password.
- If you are going to use a straight-forward solution like Excel, then ensure you get advice from library colleagues to make sure you get the best out of it. Items can be categorised, filtered and pick lists created to provide consistency.
- Speak to library colleagues who you know have an IR or ask the members of the IR task and finish group to buddy you up with a colleague who can help.
Library Service Manager
Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
(Members of the IR task and finish group are Lesley Allen, Vicky Bramwell, Dominic Gilroy, Hugh Hanchard, Jackie McGuire, Sue Robertson and Caroline Storer)
We cannot fail to notice, both professionally and personally, the discussions taking place about information, evidence and knowledge. How information is used, misinformation shared, known evidence dismissed and knowledge withheld.
One example of fake news was described on Newsnight on August 23rd 2017*. An American travelled 500 miles with a rifle to “self-investigate” a pizza restaurant where an alleged paedophile ring operated and kept under-age children against their will. This news had been reported widely in print and on social media. The source of this news was an investigation into the emails of Hillary Clinton’s personal campaign manager. It was reported that the emails contained the words “cheese pizza” which were thought to be code for “child p-graphy”. The two words shared the same initial letters: c and p. Three shots were fired in the restaurant, there were no under-age children being held and thankfully no-one was hurt.
As we can see from the fake news story, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” (itself a misquote from the poet Alexander Pope) but knowledge can also empower us, enable us to say “no”, to achieve, to understand, to form judgements and to make decisions.
We work every day to collect and supply information, signpost evidence and ensure knowledge is mobilised and used in our organisations. We enable evidence to be used in decision-making, we support the growth of knowledge rich organisations as well as delivering training to help staff critically appraise or discern the usefulness and validity of information. It is that learnt skill that enables wise choices and the avoidance of “fake news”, or in our terms, weak evidence.
But we also need to turn the spotlight on ourselves and ask ourselves questions too.
How do we use information, evidence and knowledge? What is the weak evidence that we use to justify our policies and practices? What are the knowledge needs, preferences and behaviours of the healthcare staff, students, patients and public who use our services? To help us understand these knowledge needs and preferences, two librarians in the South have created a bulletin for us to use. Please read the bulletin, critically appraise what is included and collectively and individually let’s constructively challenge one another to ensure that facts matter, evidence is crucial and knowledge enables good decisions to be made.
The bulletin will be produced four times a year in September, November, January and March. It will be circulated via your library and knowledge services leads, so look out for the September edition due very soon.
Knowledge Services Development Lead (South)
* Eugene Robinson. Newsnight. 23rd August 2017 https://subsaga.com/bbc/news/newsnight/2017/08/23.html