Eric Jannson on the NITLE/DSpace Foundation Collaboration
NITLE (pronounced "nightly") or the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education is a community-based, non-profit initiative that provides professional development programs, managed information services (including DSpace services), and peer networking opportunities to non-profit organizations that participate in the NITLE Network . Last month, DSpace Foundation and NITLE entered into a collaboration to offer DSpace professional development ? repository manager training and user community meetings ? to any qualified non-commercial organization. DSpace Foundation recently spoke with Eric Jansson, who leads NITLE?s initiatives in managed information services, about what the new NITLE/DSpace Foundation collaboration offers the larger DSpace user community.
What does the NITLE / DSpace Foundation collaboration offer to the DSpace user community?
?NITLE is offering non-commercial DSpace community members the opportunity to participate in its DSpace professional development programs. These training programs are focused on repository manager interests and include:
1) Training on the DSpace platform via interactive video conference. Current workshops include ?Start an Institutional Repository Using DSpace" and ?Manage Your Digital Content with DSpace?
2) Full day face-to-face Workshops-To-Go ?Digital Repositories: Using DSpace? as available. Any eligible DSpace user may participate in the full day courses periodically hosted by various institutions that participate in the NITLE Network.
3) Regular NITLE Virtual DSpace User Community Meetings and an annual face-to-face DSpace User Community Meeting through which eligible DSpace users can share knowledge and experiences, learn from one another, and identify areas for on-going collaboration.
Interested organizations may ? on a first-come, first-served basis ? register up to a total of two participants in NITLE's DSpace professional development programs scheduled through June 30, 2009.
NITLE's DSpace professional development programs range in price from $125 for programs delivered online via interactive videoconferencing to $750 for our face-to-face DSpace User Community Meeting (June 11 - 12, 2008, Tacoma , WA ). Prices are listed on the NITLE website in "program units," with a program unit costing $125. Additional programs will be announced shortly. Only events with DSpace in the title are included in this limited offer.
To find out more about this offer or express interest in participating, people should contact
Who is the target audience of your DSpace training?
?Repository managers ? librarians and others charged with running institutional repositories. We do not assume participants have any technical knowledge or that they know how to run the DSpace software from a back-end perspective. In our introductory workshop, for example, we provide the basic information needed for starting an institutional repository using DSpace. We cover both ?buttonology? ? the basics of DSpace interfaces, how to create a community or a collection, work-flows for item submission, etc ? as well as the policy planning aspects or how institutions can make decisions supportive of the repository.?
What is the NITLE Network?
?The Network is a community of non-profit institutions and organizations that participates with NITLE. Participating institutions gain access to an infrastructure?provided by NITLE?that helps them maximize the benefits of technology and innovation. Since NITLE is a non-profit, community-driven initiative, and the Network brings institutions together and enables them to work together, each individual institution can take advantage of the Network infrastructure while the investment costs associated with its benefits are shared across the community. The result is that the cost to any one institution is quite low. So through this kind of cost-sharing, NITLE is able to help its participants leverage both the available digital technology and peer networking that are part of Network participation.?
What services are available to NITLE Network participants?
?We offer managed technology services for DSpace, Moodle, Sakai, and multipoint interactive videoconferencing (MIV). In addition, participation in the Network provides opportunities for professional development and training, various supportive on-line community forums, and access to relevant news and information.?
What is the goal of NITLE?s DSpace managed information services?
?We provide the context for non-profit institutions to be able to focus on the mission-critical aspects of their repositories ? which are not, ?why isn?t POSTGRES backing up? or ?how do we install this-or-that DSpace plugin.? We provide DSpace technical services so the institution can focus on the best use of the DSpace technology to support their academic programs., We provide the necessary technical support so a librarian can effectively initiate and implement a repository program without it requiring resident technical support or knowledge. We supply the information, training and technology ? and for a few thousand dollars an organization can get some training, get a campus repository started and begin to deposit items.?
What are NITLE?s DSpace managed information services and what are the rough costs associated with them?
?NITLE offers a fully managed DSpace instance to its participating institutions. The institutions don?t have to have special hardware or a server ? they don?t have to have anything but a web browser and a network connection. We take care of the setup, hardware, maintenance, and periodic scheduled updates to the DSpace software. We offer two options: either a campus DSpace repository (a segment of a larger DSpace instance) or a customized, fully-managed DSpace instance dedicated to a institution. Additional storage capacity, authentication, and consulting services are also available. In addition to the NITLE Network participation fee, which is $2,500 per year (and comes with all the other NITLE Network benefits mentioned previously), the price for DSpace services range from $2950/year for a shared instance to $12,500/year for a customized, dedicated instance (a $500 setup fee is also required). You may visit the DSpace Services listing for more specific pricing information. Please note that NITLE is a not-for-profit, so these services are designed as an efficient way for campuses to pool resources and share costs.?
How are your user group meetings different from the larger DSpace User Group Meetings, like the one recently held at OR2008?
?Both the NITLE virtual user group meetings and the NITLE face-to-face user group meetings are focused on the repository manager experience. The focus is on how to support academic programs through DSpace, and not on back-end technical questions. This would include how to develop a repository, how to develop policies, how to support the work of academic departments, and how to allow the library to play a more active role in supporting publication and dissemination of campus research and other information.
We bring our DSpace users together once a year for a face-to-face user group meeting. Like the larger DSpace user group meetings, the attendees get energized from the meeting and contact with their peers. We then offer a context for sustaining that energy and interaction within the community by holding virtual user group meetings through multipoint interactive video conferencing (MIV). MIV provides the opportunity for multi-modal interaction through direct verbal Q&A, a live chat box as well as a white board for all participants to write on and reference. While we don?t believe the virtual environment replaces the face-to-face meetings, it does provide a regular forum for questions, discussion, and sharing best practices. Our virtual user community meetings and our workshops reflect our conscious effort to use technology and other models which allow for participation and interaction of community members.?
Who is best suited to take advantage of NITLE?s service offerings?
?Our model really speaks to smaller institutions which generally have incredibly talented staff, but fewer staff available. Starting an institutional repository needs to take place in addition to all the other services these staff are already providing their campuses. That having been said, NITLE welcomes other institutions focused on excellence in undergraduate education, institutions that may have a particular department, group of faculty, or research effort that wants to focus on repository building instead of on technical details of back-end services. NITLE provides a way to make technology like DSpace as easy as possible to adopt, and we try to address as many steps in that process as we can. Sitting on the sidelines and waiting to start a repository isn?t going to serve anybody on campus. We believe our technical service, peer networking opportunities, training, and low cost makes DSpace accessible to even very small organizations. And, these organizations are certainly welcome to grow with us to suit their needs ? they can start with a shared instance, take advantage of the user community to harvest good ideas, and then move to a customized, dedicated instance ? and we have campuses doing just that.?