Last Monday saw the inaugural meeting of the United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories at the University of Nottingham. Having wound our way through the convoluted corridors of the Queens Medical Centre, fifty or so repository managers (and me, although I consider myself to be guilty by association) knuckled down to business: to understand matters affecting repository managers and to look at what UKCoRR (pronounced you-core) should be. With everyone relishing the opportunity to be sat in a room of like-minded individuals, lists of issues and concerns flowed forth. Resources, policies, mandates, advocacy, R.A.E., technology, cultural acceptance, K.P.I.s, good practice, required skill sets, user experience… just a few areas for discussion.
UKCoRR will be more than a regular opportunity for networking and knowledge sharing. It is hoped that the breadth of experience will work its way into an online knowledge bank; a virtual resource of contacts, information and possible solutions to troublesome questions. And whilst initial funding will come from the end of the SHERPA Plus project UKCoRR is intended to remain independent from funding bodies and software providers. As a professional body of repository managers it will represent and promote the needs of the community, working alongside similar groups (Australia and the US so far).
It’s clear that although the concept of repositories is becoming more widely accepted, the role of the repository manager is still greatly undervalued: slotted into already busy jobs, barely staffed and dealing with issues that remain half understood whilst technologies and concepts rush past. For an organisation like UKCoRR to step up to the mark to help make sense of this all is certainly a positive step for the community. So whilst we’re waiting for Bill (Hubbard) and Gareth (Johnson) to decide upon the next steps you might want to consider signing up for the mailing list or drop them a line for further information.