Communities of repositories

I was recently at the Dilemmas of Digitization conference held at the Maison Francaise in Oxford and organised by the Cost 32 group, a project looking at creating open scholarly communities online across Europe.

One of the points that interested me is the idea that repositories need to develop services of their own to the end user. It is not enough to digitize the article (be it as a plain image or an XML (TEI and METS) form). Personally I dislike plain images since it is hard to really do any thing with them bit I can vaguely understand some of the reasons for doing it – though I feel that enterprises who do use it should go back to documents later and redigitize so that they are open. The end user must be to use the service rather than just view the item.

Services should offer things like collaborative tagging to allow items to be rapidly linked together (either available through an open API where all tags can be altered or via a login where a user sees their own tags and can share them).I believe that UKOLN are looking into this via the EnTag project.

Users should be able to link to social networks via data exports or an API to share documents or bookmark for later use. This leads to enhancing the idea of Open Access (Wikipedia article and Open Archives Initiative) and enables the user and repository to share their data with relevant parties.

For digital repositories to really makeĀ  a difference in a changing search and information retrieval environment, they must be user orientated and foster a sense of community.