[this is a copy of my post on the Repository Research Team blog http://jiscrrt.wordpress.com/]
In issue 57 of Ariadne, Phil, Mahendra, and myself have an article introducing some of our work on ecological models of repository and service interaction. “A Bug’s Life?: How Metaphors from Ecology Can Articulate the Messy Details of Repository Interactions”
In our introduction we outline the isseus that our work is addressing.
“The development, implementation, and support of real services challenges how we have traditionally articulated, represented, and tried to communicate the context of those services. We need abstract visions of an information environment, recommended standards, and models of software architectures (or component software functions) that can inform how we begin to develop local repositories and services. However, we, as a community of managers, librarians, researchers, and developers of technology, also need approaches that help us engage with the complex details of local contexts that shape how and why particular repository implementations succeed or fail”
The article goes on to outline different types of complex systems that exist, provides an overview of some relevant concepts from ecology and how they might be of use, and provides an example of using them to examine an academic’s dissemination of presentations (which was also the subject of our poster at DC2008).
Our article is available here http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue57/robertson-et-al . Comments and feedback are very welcome.