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The once and future library - reimagining the national library as infrastructure service provider in an open science world

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UKCORR members' day 2018 presentation from Torsten Reimer, Head of Research Services at the British Library.

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The once and future library - reimagining the national library as infrastructure service provider in an open science world

  1. 1. A medley of: For repositories to succeed they have to end. Reflections on the repository scene The once and future library – reimagining the national library as infrastructure service provider in an open science world Dr Torsten Reimer Head of Research Services Torsten.Reimer@bl.uk / @torstenreimer http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8357-9422 UKCoRR meeting, British Library, London, 10 September 2018
  2. 2. Authors do not care about repository systems https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonbain/33169141452/ CC BY NC ND 2.0
  3. 3. Readers do not care about repository systems https://www.flickr.com/photos/p_marione/10353933614/ CC BY NC ND 2.0
  4. 4. What matters is the repository function, its purpose https://www.flickr.com/photos/missrogue/1064784666/ CC BY SA 2.0
  5. 5. The repository function is the same as that of a library: help people to find, access and use information – persistently. https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewgustar/16793367681/ CC BY ND 2.0
  6. 6. You don’t need to build a local system to deliver this function. https://www.flickr.com/photos/han_shot_first/7771438844/ CC BY 2.0
  7. 7. We too often think about locally developed systems. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mukluk/207619079/ CC BY 2.0
  8. 8. As a result we build local systems, and, from a global perspective, maintain them badly. https://www.flickr.com/photos/waynerd/6677201937/ CC BY NC ND 2.0
  9. 9. Conceptualising the repository service mostly as local repository system has dangers: •Inefficiency (duplication of effort) •Systems-over-service approach •Over-customisation hinders interoperability and staying up-to-date
  10. 10. We should focus on repository services instead of systems. We should ask ourselves whether it is always best to develop and host our own repository system. https://www.flickr.com/photos/betsyweber/8734581153/ CC BY 2.0
  11. 11. www.bl.uk 11 A note from the sponsor…
  12. 12. www.bl.uk 12 Libraries in a changing environment • Sustainable funding? • Declining use (in some areas)? • Research is digital, are we? • Are we still needed for discovery? • In an open world, do we still have a role for access to digital content? • Global content grows so fast, our collections are shrinking (relatively)
  13. 13. www.bl.uk 13 Living Knowledge • The British Library Act tasks us to – “[be] a national centre for reference, study and bibliographical and other information services” – to make our services “available in particular to institutions of education and learning, other libraries and industry” and to contribute “to the efficient management of other libraries and information services”. • Living Knowledge articulates the vision of the British Library as the most open, creative and innovative institution of its kind.
  14. 14. www.bl.uk 14 Collections aren’t always the answer We need to rethink the idea of a national collection as just ‘the stuff’ the Library holds. It is now about sustaining the global knowledge environment – open and persistent/ Other content BL collections Open Access Digital, onsite access Digital, remote access BL collections
  15. 15. www.bl.uk 15 New Service Strategy • Discover content, regardless of format or location • Identify relevant information within that content • Unified discovery workflow Find • Unified access workflow • Just-in-time provision for external content • Workspaces and tools Use • Digital collection unification • Collection management as a serviceShare https://insights.uksg.org/articles/10.1629/uksg.409/
  16. 16. www.bl.uk 16 BL data strategy ‘Our vision for the British Library is that research data are as integrated into our collections, research and services as text is today.’ Data Archiving and Preservation Data Discovery, Access and Reuse Data CreationData Management
  17. 17. www.bl.uk 17 Collection Management as a Service Digitisation • On (user) demand • For institutions Metadata & Preservation • Enhance content • Provide identifiers • Build semantic links • Licensing • Preservation across formats Discovery • BL & external content • Feed external discovery platforms (e.g. Google) • Discovery as a service • Single Digital Presence • BL disocvery widget Analysis • Text and data mining • Machine interfaces • Visualisation • Machine learning Access • Shared platform • Institutional portals • Machine interfaces • Push to external platforms
  18. 18. www.bl.uk 18 Repository related plans • Re-develop national preservation system (>5m items, petabyte-scale) into multi-tenancy service • Develop access layer with multiple (logical) repositories • Pilot for a multi-tenancy (4/20 partner organisations) access repository • Consider national OA preservation approach • Discussions with Jisc and others on partnerships Preservation Layer Services Layer Access Layer EThOS Data.bl.uk BL Institutional Repository Partner Repositories
  19. 19. www.bl.uk 19 And back to the repository matter
  20. 20. www.bl.uk 20 What the UK could have done in 2012 • Procure preservation solution • Procure access solution • Mandate deposit of all scholarly content on this platform • Provide portals for each higher education organisation (HEI) • Provide interfaces so HEIs and other platforms can push and pull content Discovery & Access Humans Machines National preservation solution Content deposited by Machines Authors
  21. 21. www.bl.uk 21 Repositories as a national concern • In February 2016, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills published an independent report on open access, written by Professor Adam Tickell. • One of his recommendations was “that the British Library, Research Libraries UK and the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) convene, with appropriate support, to advise as to the best mechanisms to ensure that there is at least one permanent copy of an open access publication and that due regard is given to long term curation of digital assets.” • [Now – think of “Plan S”!]
  22. 22. www.bl.uk 22 UUK repositories working group • UUK OA Coordination Group with different stakeholders (government, funders, HEIs, publishers, libraries) • A repositories working group was set up to look into Adam Tickell’s recommendations. • Meetings throughout 2017, a workshop at the British Library and a survey of UKCoRR repository managers. • See the final report.
  23. 23. www.bl.uk 23 UK OA landscape – positives Strong community Track record for open solutions Jisc services UK PubMed Central Technical expertise EThOS Many repositories Policies
  24. 24. www.bl.uk 24 Challenges, (not just) for the UK 1. Concerns about sustainability of the underlying repository software package 2. Difficulties with CRIS system integration 3. Difficulties with integration with university systems (other than CRIS) 4. Difficulties with maintaining custom functionality 5. Issues with changing publisher and/or funder policies changing compliance status of articles 6. Lack of integration with identifiers (such as ORCID or DOIs) 7. Limitation of reuse through deposit licence (‘all rights reserved’), e.g. for text and data mining 8. Limited/no facilities (such as API) to support text and data mining 9. Linking publications to related datasets (and vice versa) 10. Linking publications to relevant funders 11. Management effort for journal embargoes 12. No or limited preservation functionality 13. Not enough resource to update from older/out-of date version of repository software 14. Not enough staff resource for operational management 15. Reporting facilities not sufficient for funder reporting 16. Reporting facilities not sufficient for internal reporting 17. Technical support: lack of skills / capability 18. Technical support: not enough capacity 19. Tracking/integrating AAMs deposited in subject/other institutional repositories (REF OA policy) 20. Usability and user interface issues https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1136075
  25. 25. www.bl.uk 25 Selected WG recommendations • [Many recommendations on metadata, persistent identifiers etc.] • A study into the feasibility of a national preservation solution be undertaken, recognising that the British Library and Jisc are key stakeholders. • HEIs, Jisc, subject repositories and other stakeholders take forward as a high priority improvements in the user experience. • A study be conducted to explore the need for national repository solutions or ‘hubs’ for one or all of the big challenges – discoverability, sustainability and preservation. This study will consider costs and benefits, and ultimately seek to define the guiding principles and services […].
  26. 26. www.bl.uk 26 A national preservation solution? • The British Library is already preserving the nation’s published output, working with UK legal deposit libraries. • However, we are only allowed to give access on our premises and it doesn’t cover UK content not published by UK publishers (unless it is in our web archive). So the current solution isn’t fit for (this) purpose. • A solution wouldn’t require a single national repository. It could be done by pushing/pulling content from repositories to one or more preservation platforms. From a preservation perspective this may be better than a single system.
  27. 27. www.bl.uk 27 A national discovery solution? • [Isn’t that Google? ;-)] May or may not be useful, but does not require a single, national repository. https://www.flickr.com/photos/62954923@N03/15625479052/ CC BY 2.0
  28. 28. www.bl.uk 28 What could a national repository fix? 1. Concerns about sustainability of the underlying repository software package 2. Difficulties with CRIS system integration 3. Difficulties with integration with university systems (other than CRIS) 4. Difficulties with maintaining custom functionality 5. Issues with changing publisher and/or funder policies changing compliance status of articles 6. Lack of integration with identifiers (such as ORCID or DOIs) 7. Limitation of reuse through deposit licence (‘all rights reserved’), e.g. for text and data mining 8. Limited/no facilities (such as API) to support text and data mining 9. Linking publications to related datasets (and vice versa) 10. Linking publications to relevant funders 11. Management effort for journal embargoes 12. No or limited preservation functionality 13. Not enough resource to update from older/out-of date version of repository software 14. Not enough staff resource for operational management 15. Reporting facilities not sufficient for funder reporting 16. Reporting facilities not sufficient for internal reporting 17. Technical support: lack of skills / capability 18. Technical support: not enough capacity 19. Tracking/integrating AAMs deposited in subject/other institutional repositories (REF OA policy) 20. Usability and user interface issues https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1136075
  29. 29. www.bl.uk 29 One system to rule them all? • A singe repository platform sounds tempting. • However: – Can one monolith meet all needs? – Competition has benefits! – It is getting easier to exchange data between systems – Multi-tenancy is hard – Resilience vs. single point of failure – Local resistance to giving up in-house system • With a government mandate unlikely and no obvious technology solution a gradual move to more shared services seems a more likely solution. If they are good enough, we might still get there.
  30. 30. www.bl.uk 30 Concluding thoughts • Stop customising and forking. • Think in service, not systems terms. • Only develop your own systems if you can do it better than others. • Can we at least gradually move to more shared services please? • We need an internationally coordinated approach to preservation.

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