Yesterday I attended, along with the UKCoRR Technical & Web Officer, an event hosted by the RSP in their native Nottingham. The theme of the day was to take a look at the overlap in working, activities and priorities between repository managers and staff, and those working in the research offices. It was also a chance to meet with staff from the various repository software groups and CRIS suppliers too.
Despite being pitched to the two main groups, there were certainly a few more repository folks there on the day than research managers. That said there were enough from both camps to make for an effective dialogue and exchange of experience.
One of the issues that was flagged up during the day was how do we continue this exchange of experience in the wider community. For my own part I’ve been working closely with our research office for a number of years; although working with people and really understanding what drives, motivates and challenges them on a day-to-day basis is a different matter entirely. Some people at the event suggested that a shared email list for repository and research managers would be the solution. While others, myself included, felt that there were more than enough lists we were all on already and that attendance at events from people like ARMA, RSP and UKCoRR by people from both camps would be more effective in striking up an ongoing dialogue.
It is worth noting that UKCoRR will be approaching ARMA in the coming weeks to try and establish some form of ongoing communication and in some respects this building of a shared community of experience and practice I suspect will be very much at the heart of it.
However, we approach I think one thing is clear – there is a need for continued closer working with our research manager colleagues, something which can only strengthen the visibility and importance of the role of the repository within our institutions. All be it that it throws up some new challenging questions such as “Would the repository be better managed by a team embedded in the research office than the library?” and “One system, two workflows – is this really the best way to operate?”.