I recently mentioned that my paper on “From Web accessibility to Web adaptability” had been published in a special issue of the Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology journal. Shortly after receiving the notification that the paper had been published I deposited the author’s version of the paper in Opus, the University of Bath Institutional Repository. As I had attended a short training course on use of Opus (which uses the ePrints repository software) a few hours before uploading the paper to the repository I decided to time how long it took to complete the process.

I discovered it took me 16 minutes to do this. As someone responded to my tweet about this, this seemed too long.  I subsequently discovered that I had mistakenly chosen the New Item option – as a DOI for the paper was available I should have selected the Import Items option (not an intuitive name, I feel). In addition I also copied the list of 46 references and tried to apply some simple formatting (line breaks between items) to the list and also to the abstract. This was a mistake, as any line breaks appear to be ignored.

In order to understand what I should have done, I went through the deposit process a second time and this time recorded my actions, with an accompanying commentary as a screencast which is available on YouTube and embedded below.


The video lasts for 10 minutes and the deposit process took 7 minutes (although this includes the time taken in giving the commentary and showing what I did the first time).

It does occur to me that it might be useful to make greater use of screencasting not only as a training aid for institutional repository staff to demonstrate the correct processes for depositing items but also to allow authors themselves to show and describe the approaches they take. I’m sure that some of the mistakes I made are due to limitations of the user interface and I won’t be alone in making such mistakes. Indeed having shown this view to the University of Bath’s institutional repository manager she commented:

I’ve also noticed, from your video a few issues that should be fixed, so it was helpful to see.

Why aren’t we making more screencasts available of user interactions with the services we develop, I wonder? And why aren’t we sharing them?

Note: Just to clarify, this post was intended encourage users to described (openly) their experiences in using services such as repositories. and to share these experiences. The video clip is not intended as a training resource on how to deposit an item in a repository! [24 July 2009]