drs Heila Pienaar (UP) and Martie van Deventer (CSIR)
were sponsored by SERA to visit several UK & USA
projects in support of e-Research at the two
Library of Congress
We convinced John Van Oudenaren, Director, World Digital
Library Project (WDL)
to include UP Library in the project. The Library will
take leadership with regard to the rock art and
Pretoriana collections. It is the only library south of
the Sahara that is a member of the WDL.
Elizabeth Dulabahn, Director, Integration Management,
Office of Strategic Initiatives feels that there is a
miss-match between the way librarians want to give
access and users search for information. The LC web
site is currently undergoing a major review for that
reason – users are just not able to navigate to the
content they are looking for. Most problems are caused
by inconsistencies in the metadata. They are hoping
that tag clouds may resolve some of the problems and are
currently experimenting with collections in Flickr
where both formal metadata and tag clouds are provided
for. The Flickr project is a huge success.
University of Purdue
Michael J. McLennan, Project leader & manager of the
HUBzero research gateway platform
advised us to start a VRE by using the Joomla! open
source toolkit and to slot the HUBzero platform in when
it becomes open source in 2009 / 2010 as HUBzero was
developed by using the Joomla! code.
At the Library we had interviews with Jim Mullins, Dean
of Library, the Library management team & several
Librarians work in the libraries while information
specialists are part of formal research project
teams. They focus on metadata schemes and the
information management needs of research teams and their
contribution is highly appreciated by these academics.
UK JISC VRE projects
We discussed the current situation of the UK JISC VRE
(Virtual Research Environment) projects with Mathew
Dovey (UK JISC e-Research manager) and Fredirique van
Till (UK JISC VRE manager). They regard VERA as the most
successful VRE project (archaeology)
because it involves the entire value chain from the
actual digging to the myExperiment component. With VERA
they have found that the publishing cycle has been
reduced from 12 to 3 months.
Mathew Dovey is also a speaker at the African Digital
Scholarship & Curation Conference in May 2009
International Internet Librarian Conference 2008
We presented a paper
https://www.up.ac.za/dspace/handle/2263/7878 on the
SA Malaria VRE project. The paper was discussed quite a
bit and we received several questions from the audience
– it was our impression that it was one of the better
papers at the conference.
Oxford e-Research Centre
Luis Martinez-Uribe, Digital Repositories Research
co-ordinator is busy with a project on researcher’s data
. The interview schedule can also be used to interview
UP academics and CSIR researchers to discover the data
We also had a discussion with dr Neil Caithness, the
e-Research Centre Project facilitator (and a South
African). He is interested in finding funding for the
African Centre for Gene Technology (UP & CSIR) & to
collaborate with malaria research.
British Library (BL)
We discussed the British Library’s Research Information
Centre (RIC) with the project leader, Stephen Andrews.
RIC can be seen as a generic VRE that the British
Library is developing in collaboration with MS Research.
He is keen to use SA as a mirror site, but a MS
Sharepoint license is necessary to run the system.
Fun & Games
also visited some interesting places in the USA & UK!
The modern London
Hammersmith Station, London
Air and Space Museum, Washington
Contributed by Heila Pienaar