The new issue of Ariadne includes an article by Tracey Stanley on the University of Leed’s EVIE (Embedding a VRE in an Institutional Environment) project, which bears a certain resemblance to some of the work coming out of the University of Minnesota, the University of Washington, NYU and various other places examining researcher behaviors and related service needs. Lorcan has blogged about several of these projects elsewhere, for example here, here and (more generally) here.
Like many of these other projects, the Evie project bgan with a survey of researcher needs.
“Respondents prioritised the different aspects that they required as follows:
- Finding and acquiring published information such as articles, conference proceedings, monographs etc.
- Finding out about funding opportunities; applying for funding; managing funding projects.
- Collaborating with partners within the University or elsewhere.
- Sharing or archiving research results.” [T. Stanley “Developing a Virtual Research Environment in a Portal Framework: The EVIE Project” Ariadne Issue 51]
These examples are less specific than the requirements generated by the Mellon-funded project at Minnesota, but still quite similar. It would be interesting to compare the prioritized lists of requirements generated by these different projects. A consensus may already have emerged. Leeds is interesting in that they’ve already deployed and tested a set of tools (within a virtual research environment) to meet these requirements. I was also glad to see that they’re already thinking about the need for making the VRE permeable, so that it can benefit from an contribute to networked resources:
“There is also a requirement to integrate not only with systems within a single institution, but also, driven by the dispersed nature of research communities, with a variety of systems and resources outside the institution. These might include:
- Collaboration tools at a collaborating institution or commercial partner.
- External Web 2.0 collaboration tools (eg: Google Docs).
- Grid services.
- Broader Information Environment tools and services.
- Integration with the emerging landscape of institutional and other repositories and other publication mechanisms. [T. Stanley Op. cit.]
The focus here on grid services, institutional collaboration, and integration in existing networks is particularly interesting. It’s something our Programs and Research group will be examining as part of our work agenda in Supporting New Modes of Research, Teaching and Learning.
Constance Malpas is a Research Scientist at OCLC. Her work focuses on data-driven analysis of library collections and services, with a special emphasis on strategic planning and managing institutional change. She has a particular interest in the organization of knowledge and research practices in the sciences.