SHARE Stakeholders Convene at Association of Research Libraries Spring Meeting

At the spring 2017 meeting of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in Philadelphia, a small group of ARL member representatives and several guests discussed SHARE’s transition to a self-supporting community initiative. Designees from eight libraries, on behalf of their institutions, will form SHARE’s new Stakeholder Committee, replacing the former Advisory Board that guided the project during its initial, grant-supported phases. In order to successfully transition to community support, SHARE leaders explained at the meeting, institutions need to derive local value from SHARE’s open source tools and the open data the initiative aggregates, links, and enhances.

The meeting focused on two incentives, in particular, for libraries to invest in SHARE in order to derive that local value from a public good. The first incentive is SHARE’s Curation Associates program, a pilot cohort initiative that concludes in July of this year. More than 30 library and archives professionals, from such organizational units as metadata, repositories, digital initiatives, and scholarly communication, are participating in the pilot. The associates have participated in virtual and in-person skills labs, including data curation, web scraping, querying the SHARE application programming interface (API), and using tools like Open Refine and simple Python scripts to enhance the metadata in their own repositories. The Curation Associates program aims to teach participants new skills and improve their local curation practices, which provides downstream benefits to SHARE and other services to whom the libraries provide data. Attendees of the May ARL meeting agreed that this program has already demonstrated local benefit and should continue.

The second incentive for libraries to invest in SHARE is the development of an Institutional Research Activity Dashboard, currently in prototype as TritonSHARE at UC San Diego. The dashboard is built on the open SHARE data set, its open source software, and its API and provides a visualization layer on top of SHARE that queries the database for any research outputs related to UC San Diego (UCSD). This leaves librarians and technologists at UCSD with a formidable but tractable challenge, which is to gather structured data about people at the institution (name, title, department, e.g.) and link it to the aggregated metadata about research output already harvested by SHARE from key repositories and registries. Strong person and institution identifiers are not widely used but are the key to telling strong stories at the institutional level—stories about the institution’s research strengths and current activities. Over the next months, the SHARE team will work closely with UC San Diego to document the processes they are using to gather institutional data and identifiers so that those processes can be replicated by others for their local benefit, and for the quality of SHARE’s database writ large.

The SHARE Stakeholder Committee, chaired by Tyler Walters, dean of university libraries at Virginia Tech, will formally launch in a virtual meeting at the end of May. Participating institutions include The George Washington University, The Ohio State University, UC San Diego, University of Goettingen, University of Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Washington University in St. Louis, and Western University. The committee’s small size is both strategic and pragmatic. These institutions have agreed to support SHARE through a variety of flexible modes in order to develop extensible tools and services that anyone can use to derive value from and contribute to SHARE.