Admin Tips and Tricks from the Recent Digital Commons Repository Manager Certification Course

Spring in Berkeley means the bepress Spring Bake-off, warm days before the summer fog rolls in off the Bay, and a chance to host IR admins in person at our 3-day intensive Digital Commons Repository Manager Certification Course. Congratulations to all the participants! Yamil Suarez, Berklee College of Music, articulated the relief many felt knowing that DC offers unlimited, personal support throughout their tenure as admins, saying “I can sleep at night knowing I will be working with consultants to be able to launch and run DC.” John Beatty, University at Buffalo School of Law, echoed many others who reported that the course was “extremely valuable … I am now more confident that I can manage the repository successfully.”

Admins told us that the course offered the right balance of concrete ideas and high-level vision/strategic initiatives. Therefore, we thought you’d enjoy a few takeaways you can use in your own IR:

  • Easy site navigation: A popular feature that makes navigating your repository even easier for readers is to rename breadcrumbs—simply use the Breadcrumb label field on each structure’s configuration page. A great example is Utah State University’s internationally renowned Small Satellite Conference collection of proceedings.
  • Easy browsing: Admins were excited to find a way to make browsing by year or doc type easier for repository visitors with a jumplist (easily enabled via the configuration page for series and ETD structures by checking the box next to the “Add a drop-down navigation list” option, saving the change, and updating). See a yearly jumplist at ScholarWorks@UARK’s Technical Reports published by the Arkansas Water Resources Center back to 1971. You can also create a jumplist by document types as seen in Lingnan Videos: Lectures and Seminars, which sorts by types of events.
  • Easy engagement strategies: Faculty outreach was a popular topic. Perhaps the most useful tip was to get comfortable describing the IR and what it offers in just a few sentences (known as a 30-second “elevator pitch”). This way, when you run into IR stakeholders (deans, library staff, faculty, Office of Research personnel, student leaders, etc.), you can quickly promote the IR and invite them to participate—they’re likely to respond with a need you can help solve through IR services such as managing an upcoming conference, posting a dataset currently living on a professor’s personal computer, or publishing a niche journal in need of a home. Cheryl Cavalear, W.E. Upjohn Institute, shared that after the course she felt “much more prepared to use the IR – and talk about it with staff.”
  • Easy reporting to improve your IR: Consultants helped admins scan their repositories for ways to improve their publication structures by running a Configuration Report. This report gives ideas for simple ways to improve your repository, such as adding introductory text for those publications that currently lack them (intro text really helps!). If you would like to see a report of how the Configuration page is set up for each of your publication structures, simply ask your consultant for a report in spreadsheet form.

Many participants expressed that individual sessions with their Consultants were very valuable. Carole Steinfeld, Columbia Law School, shared that “Everyone was so helpful, knowledgeable, and also very friendly, which put me at my ease.” Our Product Team saw this workshop as a natural extension of their iterative, community-based development model and they appreciated hearing from admins as well as offering hands-on exercises in designing user interfaces. All of us at Digital Commons enjoyed hosting the dedicated group of participants listed below — we hope to see you here one day soon as well!

2019 participants in alphabetical order:
John Beatty, University at Buffalo School of Law
Debra Borrelli, West Virginia University
Cheryl Cavalear, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
Danielle Daugherty, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Michelle Emanuel, University of Mississippi
Jan Haley, HCA Graduate Medical Education
Jason Hallen, Carleton College
Deirdre McDonald, Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Kirstin O’Keefe, Clemson University
Charity Park, Arkansas Tech University
Phil Reynolds, Stephen F Austin State University
Eric Robinson, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
Erin Sheffner, Governors State University
Carole Steinfeld, Columbia University Law School
Yamil Suarez, Berklee College of Music
Mindy Tomlin, Collin College
Melissa Williams, University of Mississippi