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January 29, 2012 / playforth

UKCoRR members’ meeting and other thoughts

On Friday I travelled down to Portsmouth on a freezing cold train for my first UKCoRR members’ meeting, a mixture of discussion about where we’re heading as an organisation and talks from practitioners on current developments in the repository world.

Although the talks were interesting there was a definite EPrints slant, which left this DSpacer without many practical options for taking forward the ideas. I enjoyed the timely updates from EThOS and UK Repository Net+ and a great intro to OERs (Open Educational Resources), but as a fairly new member I was most engaged by the membership/organisational stuff (introduced in classic Llordllama style through the medium of Babylon 5) and it got me thinking about general questions of belonging and influence in professional life.

UKCoRR doesn’t charge for membership and it’s unlikely I’d be a member if it did. I’m keen on my work but when it comes to personal outlay in the pursuit of my profession… it’s difficult to justify. (My personal CILIP membership has lapsed and I can’t see myself renewing it any time soon.) However, traditionally, organisations that you have to pay to join are seen as a) more exclusive and b) more serious. There may be more of a firm understanding of what you can expect to gain in return for your subscription, and more external recognition. Members may feel more invested in the organisation (because they literally are) and get more of a sense of pride from their membership. The casually interested will certainly be put off – is this a good or bad thing? A true community of practice should be open, but not TOO open – dissent is important but can too many peripheral views pollute/dilute? One compromise idea that I like is paying small amounts towards events, or one-off development needs/opportunities, within groups that I’m a member of, an alternative to a membership fee that still allows members to take responsibility and feel involved.

More on this later perhaps – gearing up for posts on Library Day in The Life round 8 so I’ll see what comes up…

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