An Ecological Approach to Repository and Service Interactions

UKOLN and JISC CETIS have released An Ecological Approach to Repository and Service Interactions, Draft Version 0.9 for comment.

Here’s an excerpt from the "Not the Executive Summary" section:

This work began with the need to express something of how and why repositories and services interact. As a community we have well understood technical models and architectures that provide mechanisms for interoperability. The actual interactions that occur, however, are not widely understood and knowledge about them is not often shared. This is in part because we tend to share in the abstract through architectures and use cases, articulating interactions or connections requires an engagement with specific details. . . .

Ecology is the study of systems that are complex, dynamic, and full of interacting entities and processes. Although the nature of these interactions and processes may be highly detailed, a higher level view of them is accessible and intuitive. We think that ecology and the ecosystems it studies may offer a useful analogy to inform the task of understanding and articulating the interactions between users, repositories, and services and the information environments in which they take place. This report outlines some concepts from ecology that may be useful and suggests some definitions for a common conversation about the use of this metaphor.

We hope that this report suggests an additional way to conceptualise and analyse interactions and provide a common vocabulary for an ecological approach. It should as a minimum provoke and support some useful discussions about networks and communities.