Open Repositories 2010

It's my week to do the blog, and I've got so much to blog about I'm almost overwhelmed. I'm currently attending the Open Repositories 2010 conference in Madrid, and I've spent much of the conference listening to smart people and thinking "We need to do that! And that! And oh, wait, that!"

The theme for repositories this year seems to be interoperability. Gone is the idea that we should build one perfect vertical repository that can hold all of your materials and provide all of your services. No more solo repository cowboys.

Instead, we've acknowledged that all the materials we hold rely on all the materials everybody else holds. A paper here might rely on data somewhere else. Our Boston city directories may be used not from our interface, but from a tool or service written at a second institution, which mixes our street directories with directories from four other institutions and GIS data, images, or historical information from yet others.

In one way this is reassuring; it means we don't need to be all things to all people. But at the same time, playing together is hard. I mean really, really, hard.

But fun.