Discovery. Where Next?

October 11, 2011

As of July 31 we were officially ‘done’ with the first phase of the RDTF Management Framework activity. The last six (plus) months have been very productive, if furiously busy. We’ve been working with UKOLN to establish technical principles (soon to be publicised) for Discovery, and at the same time pushing our Open Data advocacy agenda through the launch of the Discovery Open Metadata Principles and supporting guidance materials. We’ve been working with the community to identify opportunities and examples activity to help us understand the potential business benefits of Open Data, with the RDTF funded projects and Developer’s Competition helping illustrate in practical terms the potential of newly opened data sets.  We also established Discovery itself as the community initiative to help push through the realisation of the RDTF Vision.

There is a great deal more to do. And there’s certainly room for improvement. It is clear that we need to work harder to clarify what Discovery is (and specifically, what it means to different stakeholder groups) and what we’re attempting to achieve in practical terms.

After some reflection, we’ve established a renewed set of aims and targets, and as a result gained a renewed sense of focus. Between now and December 2012:

Discovery will….

    1. Clearly position and define the benefits of Discovery to research and education at the local and national level
    2. Improve the discoverability of UK library, archives and museum content
    3. Drive a shift in ethos to ‘open’ in institutions, services and funding bodies
    4. Improve the quality and sustainability of new and existing resource discovery infrastructure
    5. Be understood, endorsed and promoted by key stakeholders within the library, archives, and museums sector and beyond

Our targets for moving forward are to

    1. Progress the embedding of the technical, licensing and metadata principles
    2. Drive innovation and sustainable, benefits-led reuse of LAM open metadata
    3. Identify and establish core efficiencies in dataflow and aggregation that can be achieved by key shared UK bibliographic data services
    4. Establish open licenses for JISC library and archives service metadata and where possible facilitate this for other key UK library, archive, and musuem aggregations
    5. Develop demonstration exemplars of what is possible, strengthening the business case for open data, as well as identifying issues for sustainability
    6. Open up and make discoverable important but hidden collections
    7. Demonstrate and support approaches to inaccessible metadata and where no metadata exists
    8. Persuade funding bodies and vendors to support the key Discovery principles
    9. Engage with related initiatives to ensure that the approaches recommended in Discovery are compatible with relevant work occurring elsewhere.
    10. Work with related JISC initiatives to explore how they can be integrated into the Discovery framework

Our key tactics to achieve this will include:

-          Providing case studies, principles, guidelines and training to help embed learning and build confidence, addressing technical and licensing concerns

-          Resourcing developers to drive innovation and overcome technical barriers

-          Entering dialogue with aggregators to identify efficiencies in dataflow and aggregation that can be achieved by key shared UK bibliographic data services

-          Securing buy-in to the Discovery Open Metadata Principles and supporting implementation, with particular emphasis on making available hidden or strategically important collections under open licences

-          Collaborating with JISC library and archives services and other key aggregations to identify opportunities for establishing open licences

-          Establishing dialogue with commercial providers

-          Engaging with related initiatives internationally as well as in the UK to ensure joined up thinking and solutions

One of our key commitments as we move forward is to regularly update this blog with information about these areas of work as they progress, the lessons learned as well as progress made.  We’ll also use this blog as an opportunity to reflect on and engage with related initiatives in the UK and overseas.

As always, we very much welcome your comment.


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