OR2015 was great. I think I enjoyed myself more than I have at any other Open Repositories. I was involved in a number of things that kept me really busy throughout the conference:
The conference committee had decided that a full developers track would replace the Developer Challenge of previous years, with paper presentation sessions in the main conference. The amazing and well-organised Claire Knowles co-chaired the track with me, and we sent out our call with an emphasis on practical demonstrations and informal presentations.
We filled two sessions with submissions, and we enjoyed a broad set of technology and process demonstrations. Hardy Pottinger gets a special mention for really entering into the spirit of things; live source management, compilation and yo-yo demonstrations while dealing with the inevitable hiccoughs with his live demonstration of DSpace development within Vagrant with aplomb.
As the Developer Challenge had been replaced by the Developer Track, but that left a Developer Challenge size hole in the conference, which Claire and I thought was important to fill. The Developer Challenge has, to my mind, been one of the crown jewels of Open Repositories. It was where repository developers would form small teams and build prototypes of new features. It’s provided a huge number of benefits to the community, among them:
- A forum to talk about the current on-the-ground state and future of repository software
- A networking opportunity for developers
- A list of good ideas that might influence repository platform development
- An event at which developers are the stars
So, as part of the Developer Track, we designed the Ideas Challenge, which involved producing a 4-slide powerpoint presentation outlining a piece of development that could be done. A scoring system was designed to encourage working with new people and the participation of non-developers. We ended up with 9 entries, and some very interesting ideas. Full blogpost at http://www.or2015.net/2015/06/17/ideas-challenge-winners/
EPrints Services had contributed as a supported of OR2015, which entitled use to a vendors table. This worked really well as a walk-up point for EPrints, and Will and I staffed the desk during breaks. A number of our customers and users made a point of seeking us our for a chat, and it was nice to connect with new and old faces. We had some postcards highlighting some of our services, which are downloadable below.
EPrints Interest Group
Discussions with various community members that had begun at the EPrint Services Vendor Table continued through the EPrints Interest Group sessions. In my “State of the Union” presentation, we talked about the future of the software and the community. I showed off the community work I had been doing over the past six months, including the training videos. I then asked the room what they wanted to see, and the most interesting idea that was raised was the possibility of a community steering group for EPrints.
I have, since returning to EPrints Services, been trying to find ways to promote better documentation. My Community Development presentation was a report on work Tomasz Neugebaur and I had been doing over the past few months. I helped Tomasz build a bazaar package by providing advice and debugging support, and he created a bazaar package with good documentation. My presentation encouraged a fairly wide-ranging discussion of documentation, and Meg Eastwood from NAU volunteered to come up with some recommendation on how the wiki could be improved.