Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Scandinavian Dugnad

I was invited by the Scandinavian DSpace User Group meeting to join them in their first official meeting yesterday in Oslo. It was great to see so many people representing a small-ish geographical area and a reasonably small population all together from 4 nations (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark) to talk about DSpace. Probably 35 people all-in, with plans to extend the group to be the Nordic DSpace User Group to include members from Iceland, and perhaps even the Faroe Islands, and Greenland (if DSpace instances appear there).

In the grand traditions of Open Source and Open Access, I borrowed presentations given at the recent DSpace User Group Rome, and gave them an update on the state of the DSpace Foundation, DSpace 2.0, and then went on to produce some original slides telling folks how to get involved in DSpace developments. Hopefully all the content will be available on the web soon.

As your humble chronicaller struggled with his sub-par Norwegian, he picked up some interesting things. There is good user end development going on in Scandinavia which could be harnessed to bring improvements to the DSpace UI. There are also increasingly many requests for "Integration with ...", where the object of integration is one of a variety of library information systems. Statistics are high on the agenda here as they are everywhere else. They are also a base of experts in multi-language problems stemming from being polyglot nations with additional letters in their native alphabets.

It's clear where the future of repositories lie in Scandinavian nations where the national interest and the community feature prominently in society and culture. Bibsys, a major supplier of library systems and services in Norway (and organisers of the meeting), have 29 DSpace clients on their books already, and are looking at tighter integration between it and their other products, right down to the information model level. National research reporting systems are much desired repository data sources, and internal information systems at each institutions are starting to feed into their public repositories.

With such a big user group, and such a community focus, there is little doubt in my mind that the Nordic user group will be a great asset to the DSpace users in that region, and probably to the DSpace community as a whole.

PS Dugnad is a Norwegian word effectively referring to voluntary, communal work which benefits the community to some degree, but is also social and enjoyable for the participants. It also formed the basis of the 2006 DSpace User Group Meeting in Bergen

1 comment:

Jan Erik K said...

I (Jan Erik Kofoed) had the pleasure to chair the DSpace meeting. We are very grateful for Richard joining and helping us to accomplish this event. Richard framed the whole event having the first and last presentation. Meanwhile he impressed everyone, listing to us talking in our native languages, and contributing useful comments. (Richard has lived for one year in Bergen, Norway working with DSpace for BORA, the repository for The University of Bergen and three other institutions, so he indeed has a basic skill in Norwegian language).

Until now Norwegian institutions have had great benefit of using DSpace. With our new Dugnad organisation I hope we will be able to pay back and contribute to the DSpace community. We have already made additions to DSpace which might be of interest for others. We will try to communicate this through the proper channels.

We are eager in starting this prosses and to make contacts. Once again, thank you Richard for helping us starting this. Our first Dugnad meeting would not have been the same without you!