Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Streamlining repository deposits

Dorothea Salo, Less cognitive load, faster deposit, Caveat Lector, November 2, 2007.  Excerpt:

...[T]he repository’s getting-started and ingest processes...may be getting in my way. Call it my techie bias speaking if you will, but when Stevan Harnad quite rightly says “the only thing that has been standing between us and 100% OA for years now is keystrokes,” my response does not accord with his “an administrative keystroke mandate is all that is needed.”

My response is “Fewer keystrokes!”

It isn’t just keystrokes, though. It’s the notion of cognitive load, and it’s a simple notion: the more we make people think about putting stuff in the repository, the less of it they’ll actually do, because don’t we all have too much to think about?

I already reduced some of the cognitive load involved in getting set up to use the repository by shortening and clarifying the forms involved. Now I’m thinking to myself, “… forms?” I should find a way to get rid of them....

A faculty member interested in depositing content is interested in depositing content, not in navigating stupid DSpace hierarchies. So to hell with the hierarchies, to hell with forms, to hell with communities and collections. I want a bucket collection that any person signing up with an appropriate email address automatically gets deposit rights to. I’ll deal with the oversight, moving, and mapping myself, as need be. I’m the librarian; organization is my job....

Also, this licensing thing, argh. It’s ridiculous to do this on a per-item basis. The relationship between faculty and repository is an ongoing one. It shouldn’t be formalized per-item. It should be formalized via something more like a memorandum of understanding, or—hey! Websites have those! They’re called Terms of Service agreements! So I want me one of them, and the legalese to back it up, and the tech to make new registrants click through it once when they sign up, record that they have done so, and never bother them with licensing again. Just as legal, and less cognitive load on every single deposit. Win!

(Creative Commons licensing does have to be done per-item, and I don’t have a problem with that. But the contract between the depositor and the IR doesn’t change—or shouldn’t—per item, so let’s just deal with it once, okay?) ...

Update. See Dorothea's follow-up from November 5, summarizing ideas sent by her readers and lamenting the lack of an effective repository manager community to swap ideas and best practices.