Defiant Objects
Non-standard research outputs in institutional repositories

Defiant Objects is a 18-months London E-prints Access Project’s (LEAP) research project headed by Tahani Nadim (Goldsmiths) with research assistance from Rebecca Randall (Goldsmiths). It follows on from work carried out by the LEAP Media Working Group.

LEAP is the consortium of University of London repositories which includes Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, Imperial College, Institute of Cancer Research, Institution of Education, King’s College, London School of Economics, The School of Pharmacy, Queen Mary College, Royal Holloway, School of Advanced Study, School of Oriental and African Studies, and University College London.

Institutional repositories have now been set up in all 1994 and Russell Group universities and their contents have grown rapidly in the last five years. This development is also reflected in the kinds of research outputs deposited in IRs: No longer “straightforward” paper publications, repositories – particularly those run by universities with arts-based departments – see a steady influx of research outputs that do not easily fit the categories offered by IR systems. We have termed such outputs that escape conventional classification “defiant objects”. But rather than curtail their complexities, we wish to find ways in which best to accommodate these objects in existing IRs.

Defiant Objects will address a number of questions that have arisen in conjunction with the increase in non-standard deposits. A comprehensive “literature review” will provide an overview of current practices and address the following questions: How to identify types of research output and core metadata required for each type? How to decide on appropriate file formats for access and preservation? How do metadata sets map to workflows? What kinds of controlled vocabulary and standard thesauri are and/or should be used?

Following on from this, Defiant Objects will produce a guide and recommendations for supporting non-standard deposits (“defiant objects”) in institutional repositories, especially those in non-textual formats. The guide will be aimed at depositing researchers and repository staff working in research-led universities that encompass arts-based disciplines. The project will also translate its findings into a new workflow for depositing non-standard objects in repositories. This will be installed in a test environment, run on EPrints 3.3, and will be made available for testing.

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