What we’ve been up to….

After a year or so of planning, the last few months have been gratifyingly practical. Work is now racing forward on many fronts. With this blog post I’ll attempt to explain the various strands of work and how they all fit together to attempt to realise the JISC and RLUK resource discovery taskforce (rdtf) vision.

First a bit of background. The vision sets out an approach that we will be pursuing up until the end of 2012. As our work is more about defining this approach, rather than something firmer like an architecture, we need to be able to learn as we go along. Therefore the work between now and December 2012 has been split into 3 iterative phases. We are currently in the 1st phase that runs from January to July. This phase is all about laying the groundwork for the next two phases so the 2 main outputs of phase 1 are data that we can reuse in phases 2 and 3 and definitions of approaches for issues like metadata, technical architecture and sustainability.

Phase 1 activity

Institutional projects

We have funded 8 projects to investigate new approaches to making metadata about the collections of libraries, museums and archives available in a way that enables the metadata to be reused to enrich the original collection and make it more visible. Many of these projects are investigating a linked data approach. The 8 projects are summarised on the JISC website and also in the newsletter mentioned below. Each project has a blog so it is easy to follow along with any that interest you.

Existing aggregation projects

There are 2 projects at Edina and 2 projects at Mimas that are working with Copac, ArchivesHub, Suncat and Go Geo. The projects are all focused on making it easier for people to reuse the data from these services, they are just getting started and more details will be available soon…..

Studies and reports on specific issues

We have commissioned a few reports to address specific challenges involved in the vision. There have been 3 of these so far:

Management framework

The management framework project is the central project that helps bring together all of the strands of work above into one cohesive whole. The framework project has 3 headline purposes:
  1. To gather together the knowledge and lessons from the projects above and to turn it into advice and guidance for libraries museums and archives
  2. To produce a website to enable developers to engage with reusing metadata and to enable other stakeholders to follow progress and identify opportunities
  3. To provide advice to JISC and partners on the infrastructure required to realise the vision
The project has a website which describes the deliverables in more detail. It is a very collaborative project as can be seen from the people involved. Specifically, the framework project is supported by 2 advisory groups. One focused on technical issues and one on management issues.


The management framework project works extremely closely with a dedicated communications and relationship management project. The purpose of this project is to work with the vast range of stakeholders involved in this work (see the table in the implementation plan) and to ensure that we keep on top of their needs, issues and use cases. The project will also provide progress updates and information to help information professionals see how this work can benefit their collections and end users. You can see the first newsletter on rdtf progress on the site now. You can also use that site to sign up for future issues. If you are lucky, you could grab one of the few remaining invites to the April event this project is organising to explore the issue of open data for libraries, museums and archives.
The picture below illustrates how these projects all fit together. As you can see the management framework sits at the centre of the implementation and we’ll use this project and their website to make it easy for people to follow the progress with the work and to engage with any elements that interest them.
Alongside all of this work, I remain busy behind the scenes trying to ensure that the work to implement the rdtf vision takes into account relevant work happening in other nations and with other content types.
Phase 2 will start after July and the intention is to focus on the issue of aggregation. The exact shape of phase 2 will be determined by the work of the projects in phase 1 but we’ve started the planning process already and I’m excited by some of the ideas that are emerging.

2 thoughts on “What we’ve been up to….

  1. Roddy MacLeod

    What thoughts does the Resource Discovery Taskforce have on current awareness / keeping up-to-date – given that the most recent data/articles/items/deposits/etc contain, probably, the most valuable content, and that current awareness is seen as problematic amongst many scholars?

  2. Andy McGregor Post author

    The aim of the RDTF is to make metadata easily reusable so that it is easier to find new ways to exploit the metadata. Even though the words resource discovery are in the title we envisage this reusable metadata being able to cover other types of use cases such as collection management, shared cataloguing and definitely current awareness.


Comments are closed.