User Group Meetings Roundup

User Group Meetings Roundup

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks, with a UKCoRR Members’ Day, the German Language User Group Meeting, an EPrints Hack Day and the EPrints UK User Group meeting all occurring in rapid succession.

UKCoRR Members’ Day

Hosted at the University of Glasgow, this event was a chance to hear talk on the policy issues that keep repository managers up at night. The quality of the presentations was very high, and I particularly enjoyed hearing Ben Johnson from HEFCE talk about Open Access.

I caught up with a few of the repository community’s usual suspects, I presented about the direction EPrints is heading, both from the perspective of the software and the community [ slides ].

German Language User Group Meeting

A few days later, I found myself in Zurich with the German Speaking part of the EPrints Community. I presented the same slides as I did in the UKCoRR meeting, but went into much greater detail while presenting them. We had an active discussion where the following requests were made:

  • jquery integration (i.e. throw away prototype)
  • Features to make responsive templates simpler to implement
  • Bazaar package documentation
    • List of repositories that have each package installed
    • Some kind of indication of how easy a package is to install

While the first two requests are squarely in the camp of core development, the Bazaar package documentation requests are quite easily achievable. EPrints repositories make no secrets about which bazaar packages are installed (check the /cgi/counter url on your repository), so we can harvest bazaar package usage. However, there are some concerns that advertising who has what installed may have privacy or security implications. We may start by simply showing a count of how many installations of each bazaar package are installed, and then we can do cool things like order bazaar packages by popularity.

The second bazaar documentation request stems from the lack of indication on the repository of how easy it is to install a package. Some packages are an easy one-click install. Some require some configuration (API keys and the like). Some require a systems administrator to install additional libraries on your server. Watch this space for new accolades in the bazaar to help with this.

There was also talk about creating more formal channels of communication from the community through to EPrints, and I’m looking forward to seeing how these conversations develop.

It was really great to meet with some of the non-UK community and to hear about their successes, issues and concerns. After the meeting we went to a coffee shop on the roof of the University next door where the view over Zurich was spectacular.

EPrints Hack Day

John Salter decided at the Repository Fringe that an EPrints developer event would be a good idea. We put out the call and were able to gather a handful of developers who met the day before the UK User Group Meeting with the stated goal of closing bugs and pull requests on github. We put it the day before the UK User Group Meeting because EPrints Developers might want to go to that, too.

John ran a tight ship, and there were a number of important outputs to the day:

  • Bugs got fixed
  • We learned how to build EPrints development environments (training video to follow soon)
  • The developer community got stronger

It’s the third point on the list above that excites me the most. We plan to try to have hack days piggy-backing onto user group meetings in future. We also may be running remote hack days, where there’s no meeting, but there is EPrints development. I also think we need to come up with a better name than ‘Hack Day’.

The slides that John presented the following day at the UK User Group Meeting are [ here ]

UK User Group Meeting

The final of my three meetings in three days was the UK User Group Meeting, hosted at the University of Southampton. I got the first presentation slot, and presented some of my ideas for how we can build a stronger community [ Slides ]. Among these:

  • Showing off my Training Videos and encouraging the community to produce some.
  • Talking about how to create wiki documentation from interactions on the eprints-tech mailing list.
  • Soliciting ideas for EPrints feature on tricider

I’ve promised the community that I will attempt to build whichever tricider idea gets the most votes. To my bemusement, there were requests for me to livestream the development.

The rest of the day went well, with interesting presentations from community members, including JISC presenting about the REF plugin, and Peter West showing ORCID integration.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I’ve really enjoyed meeting so many of the community in so many contexts, but I’m looking forward to a few quiet days in the office now.