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

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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?

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, 

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. 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. 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.

Why is it worth attending?

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

  • Learn about digital preservation by doing it!
  • Share knowledge and experience with other attendees and our experts (from The Digital Preservation Coalition, The Open Planets Foundation and The British Library)
  • Learn new skills
  • Build contacts with our community and meet colleagues working on similar challenges to you
  • Solve your 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 to fully realise the work they begin at the Mashup.

Some further information can be found here:

Group photo from our SPRUCE-style mashup in York, September 2011 

Hacking and mashing at our Mashup in Glasgow, April 2012

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
  • 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!) 
  • (Liked) The good camaraderie of all the participants, and the willingness of everyone to discuss and help.
  • It's relaxed and practical
  • 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
  • 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.
  • (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
  • This is such a good idea - I found tools I did not know existed and benefitted from others' expertise.

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

I'm not sure if I have what it takes to attend a mashup?

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.

We've had a number of attendees who have been a little intimidated by the idea of coming to a Mashup, but they've quickly found that we create a welcoming, friendly and none-judgemental environment. Technical skills are not a requirement, and our events actually benefit from having attendees with all sorts of skills and viewpoints

Where do I sign up?

We've recently held our Glasgow Mashup event, and will be advertising more Mashups shortly.

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