Just what is a SPRUCE Mashup and what's in it for me?

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on Nov 28, 2013 13:52.

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{tip}{*}{_}Just what is a SPRUCE Mashup?_{*}_ What's it about and what will I get out of it if I attend? More importantly, what do I tell my boss to convince him/her to let me out of the office for 3 days?_
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Its a little difficult to describe what our mashups are like. Ideally you need to see one first hand to understand what we do and what value it has. However, we've had a go at collating information about our mashups on this page, {tip}

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h4. What is a SPRUCE style mashup?

Our mashups are attended by Developers with technical skills and Practitioners who typically have some responsibility for managing, preserving or working with digital collections. We ask our Practitioners to bring along a sample of one (or more) of their digital collections. We begin by working with the collections and identifying Issues that we want to examine further. We team up each Practitioner with a Developer and get working together on a Solution. There's an emphasis on re-using or re-purposing tools that are already available, and sharing ideas on what might be useful approaches to explore. There will be lots of group discussion sessions, lightning talks to report back progress and opportunities to share knowledge. By the final day we'll have a variety of working Solutions that are presented back to the group and evaluated. Our previous events have generated some really useful results, but the most useful output seems to be from the journey itself, and what the participants learn from working with each other.
Our mashups are attended by Developers with technical skills and Practitioners who typically have some responsibility for managing, preserving or working with digital collections. We ask our Practitioners to bring along a sample of one (or more) of their digital collections. We begin by working with the collections and identifying Issues that we want to examine further. We team up each Practitioner with a Developer and get working together on a Solution. {color:#444444}We'll also work with you to build a compelling business case for your digital preservation work, making it easier for you to secure the funding you need to make your work (and digital collections\!) sustainable.{color} There's an emphasis on re-using or re-purposing tools that are already available, and sharing ideas on what might be useful approaches to explore. There will be lots of group discussion sessions, lightning talks to report back progress, and opportunities to share knowledge. By the final day we'll have a variety of working Solutions that are presented back to the group and evaluated. Our previous events have generated [some really useful results|REQ:Digital Preservation and Data Curation Requirements and Solutions], but the most beneficial output seems to be from the journey itself, and what the participants learn from working with each other.

Some further information can be found here:
h4. Some further information about what goes on at a mashup:

* Mashup attendee, Edward Corrado, describes his [experience of a SPRUCE event|http://journal.code4lib.org/articles/8004] in the code4lib journal
* The mashup format was developed as part of the [AQuA the [AQuA Project|AQuA:Home]. See the [results of the first mashups we ran|AQuA:Collections, Issues, Contexts and Solutions], as captured by participants during the actual events themselves
* A paper from the iPRES 20121 conference describes the mashup approach: [People Mashing: Agile digital preservation and the AQuA Project|http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/43837/]
* Swithun Crowe, an attendee from our third and fourth mashup event, [blogged events, [blogged about his experiences at a mashup here|http://openplanetsfoundation.org/blogs/2011-10-14-report-attending-practical-tools-digital-preservation-hackathon]
* A blog post from event facilitator, Paul Wheatley, on what was learnt about running mashup events on the AQuA Project: [Digital Preservation in 3 days flat|http://openplanetsfoundation.org/blogs/2011-06-16-digital-preservation-3-days-flat-aqua-approach-hacking-and-mashing]
* Blog posts from our Glasgow Mashup with the [practitioner with the [practitioner perspective from Rebecca Nielsen|http://futurearchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/spruce-mashup-16th-18th-april-2012.html] and the [developer the [developer perspective from Peter May|http://openplanetsfoundation.org/blogs/2012-04-19-spruce-mashup-batch-file-identification-using-apache-tika] and [Paddy May|http://openplanetsfoundation.org/blogs/2012-04-19-spruce-mashup-batch-file-identification-using-apache-tika] and [Paddy McCann|http://www.dcc.ac.uk/news/spruce-mashup-glasgow]

h4. Why is it worth attending?

SPRUCE Mashups are a great way to do some of the following things:

h4. I'm a Researcher / Practitioner / Collection Owner / Curator / Archivist. Why is it worth me attending?

* Learn (more) about digital preservation by doing it\!
* Get solutions to some of your digital challenges at the event\!
* Share Exchange knowledge and experience with other attendees and our experts (from The [Digital The [Digital Preservation Coalition|http://www.dpconline.org], The [Open Planets Foundation|http://openplanetsfoundation.org/] and [The British Library|http://www.bl.uk])
* Learn new skills
* Build contacts within our community and meet colleagues working on similar challenges to you
* Solve some concrete digital preservation challenges
* Work in an agile way, and experience results from an end to end project inside 3 days
* Secure funding from SPRUCE for further work\! Participants will have the chance to [bid for SPRUCE funding|SPR:SPRUCE Awards - funding opportunity for digital preservation] to fully realise the work they begin at the Mashup

h4. I'm a Developer / Techie. Why is it worth me attending?

* Work on a new technical challenge and learn new skills in the process
* Experience the freedom of agile development
* Get instant feedback from your users, and discover the benefits of knowing exactly what they want from your work\!
* Build contacts within our community
* Learn about digital preservation by doing it\!
* Exchange knowledge and experience with other attendees and our experts (from The [Digital Preservation Coalition|http://www.dpconline.org], The [Open Planets Foundation|http://openplanetsfoundation.org/] and [The British Library|http://www.bl.uk])
* Partner with a practitioner to win funding for further work and/or further consultancy development after the event
* Our developers often report how liberating and refreshing it is to work on one thing for 3 days with no interruptions, no time recording and no committee meetings. SPRUCE Mashups are a great way to recharge your "programming batteries".



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h4. Don't take our word for it...

. At the end of each mashup we ask attendees to give us anonymous feedback and ask for permission to share what they said. Here's what previous attendees said about the Mashups we've run:
* I am not alone\! There is a community out there and while I understood this, the Mashup opened the door to approaching others with my problems
* As a first timer, I was unsure of how things would work - I am a complete fan of this type of event as it far exceeded my expectations.
* It felt very productive. Lots of development. Every solution that was developed was enlightening and showed potential for future use.
* I loved working hands-on with the practitioners\! (I was a little worried that the idea of getting devs and practitioners to work side-by-side was optimistic/idealistic, but I think the reality worked out amazingly well\!) 
* Difficult to isolate any single thing (I liked best) but the ability to work closely with a developer is invaluable - especially when they understand the problem
* (Liked) The good camaraderie of all the participants, and the willingness of everyone to discuss and help.
* It's relaxed and practical
* It was very good to see the practical aspect of Getting Things Done, rather than just theorising
* Really found it useful to speak to others involved in similar work, finding out about different tools, and experiences. Think there were some very useful conversations going on, and lots of things to revisit
* useful conversations going on, and lots of things to revisit
* Great to have people working on real life practical solutions to digital preservation problems at the event, rather than just talking about it and then not doing anything\!
* Getting the outputs directly into the wiki was FANTASTIC\!\!\!\! will be using that immediately for future projects for capturing feedback is always difficult in addition to capturing the aha moments during a meeting that you quickly forget after.
* It is fantastic working alongside practitioners to address real concerns and find some grassroots solutions to the thorny issues of digital preservation.
* (What did I learn?) That better tools exist than the most popular / the ones that we use for some tasks.
* There were a ton of tools I was unaware of and am excited to go back to the office and try out...
* The fact that every single developer created a useful and re-usable tool
* I learned more about working directly with practitioners to solve their problems. This is an attitude that will affect my day-to-day work. Also, I learned lots of details about how other people are addressing/solving issues, what tools they're using to do so, and the results they've had.
* (I'm now) much more aware of resources which are available to help support our work in this area - (I) come from a small organisation with no IT support, but would now feel more confident about where to go to find help and solutions to specific problems we encounter.
* This is such a good idea - I found tools I did not know existed and benefitted from others' expertise.
* I had thought the event might be pitched above my level as someone who is just starting out in the field of Digital Preservation but I learnt an enormous amount and came out with some business process tools, a better understanding with what I was dealing with, some useful contacts and even a bit of code - couldn't ask for more\!
* I was quite nervous about coming - never done anything like this before, and a total non-techie\! But atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, and found it really helpful. So thank you\!

All attendees from our last two mashups, who completed the our anonymous feedback survey, said they'd like to attend another event using the same format.

h4. I'm not sure if I have what it takes to attend a mashup?
h4. Is it really a Mashup, a Hackathon, an Unconference, a Workshop, or something else?

Attending a mashup means you have to contribute to the event. We don't allow observers. But that's the main requirement. You don't need prior "digital preservation" experience. In fact, our events are a great way to learn about managing digital collections. For more information about roles to play during an event and what you need to prepare in advance see [this page|SPR:What you need to prepare before attending a SPRUCE mashup].
The answer is: "F", all of the above. We borrowed liberally from a variety of innovative event formats and added some structure and participant roles to place an emphasis on capturing real life challenges. This puts the end users in the driving seat and makes sure our efforts are focussed on the right targets. Our original aim was to solve digital preservation challenges ([something we've done lots of|REQ:Digital Preservation and Data Curation Requirements and Solutions]), but the added benefit, and perhaps the most valuable output from the events, seems to be the knowledge and skills exchange between the participants. Hence we dubbed the whole concept "People Mashing" when we [presented the event format at the iPRES Conference in 2011|http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/43837/].

h4. Where do I sign up?
h4. What events did SPRUCE run?

We've recently held our [Glasgow Mashup event|SPR:SPRUCE Mashup Glasgow], and will be advertising more Mashups shortly.
SPRUCE delivered 3 mashup events and 1 hackathon. It also partnered with the OPF and DPC to deliver other related events. Full details of [SPRUCE events can be found here|SPR:SPRUCE Events].