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Telling VIVO Stories at Duke University with Julia Trimmer

“Telling VIVO Stories” is a community-led initiative aimed at introducing project leaders and their ideas to one another while providing details about VIVO implementations for the community and beyond. The following interview includes personal observations that may not represent the opinions and views of Duke University or the VIVO Project. Carol Minton Morris from DuraSpace interviewed Julia Trimmer from Duke University to learn about Scholars@Duke.

 The Scholars@Duke team includes three full-time staff and three to five people on the developer team. From left in the photo, Rob Nelson, Richard Outten, Damaris Murry, Greg Burton, Jim Wood, Lamont Cannon and Julia Trimmer.

The Scholars@Duke Team includes three full-time staff and three to five people on the developer team. From left in the photo, Rob Nelson, Richard Outten, Damaris Murry, Greg Burton, Jim Wood, Lamont Cannon and Julia Trimmer. 

What’s your role with VIVO at your organization or institution?

I previously worked as a business analyst and project manager in a development group in Duke’s health system. We developed faculty systems for the Duke School of Medicine and integrated institutional data into those systems. I joined the Provost’s Office in 2007 and we created a faculty appointments system by merging data from two legacy systems. The day after we rolled out that system, we started planning what we called the “faculty activities” system. We spent six months looking at available tools and talked to several vendors -- they all mentioned compatibility with VIVO. We liked VIVO, especially that it was open source! and multi-institutional. We went to the first VIVO conference six years ago and never looked back.

Tell me a little about your organization or institution.

Duke University has been a private research university for more than a hundred years. We enroll 6,500 undergraduate and 8,000 graduate students from almost every state and many foreign countries. Our faculty are incredible -- many are doing interdisciplinary work in very disparate fields -- and they are leaders in teaching, research and patient care. We are enthusiastic about supporting their work and honored to help bring their scholarship to the world through Scholars@Duke. We have established a responsive outreach and engagement program featuring multiple solutions for our diverse Duke faculty community that can be found on the Scholars@Duke support page.

Why did you decide on VIVO?

The core VIVO value proposition: “VIVO provides an integrated view of the scholarly work of an organization,” reflects Duke’s values that include a commitment to free access to shared knowledge as well as ongoing outreach, service and volunteerism. We like VIVO’s semantic web! technology, the community spirit of collaboration, and a shared sense of contribution to global knowledge and research. Scholars@Duke supports Duke’s open access policy by linking to full-text publications deposited in our open access repository. VIVO’s linked and open data capability, the shared ontology!, and the active global community all appeal to the leadership at Duke.

What were your requirements going in?

We had two existing systems that we wanted to replace, so we needed a new system with the same features. We wanted a system that was flexible enough for us to develop and contribute our own additions back to the community. Our developers had worked with open-source communities before, so we felt confident that we could make VIVO work at Duke.

What strategic organizational or institutional goals did VIVO help you meet?

Our key goal was to create public profiles for all Duke faculty in one system; these had to be both automated and customizable. Next, we wanted to share this data with Duke schools so that it populates faculty department profiles automatically. Finally, we want to support Duke’s Open Access Repository and help add full-text publications to it that can be linked to Scholars profiles.

What are your plans for VIVO in the future?

We are adding functionality to improve the subject headings/keywords that we add automatically as well as some advanced search features. Next, we’ll be working on CV functionality.

What is at the top of your VIVO “wish list?”

It would be great to have a search tool that searches all VIVO implementations. Cross site search will enhance profile discoverability and collaboration across all VIVOs.

What advice would you give to other organizations that are planning a VIVO implementation?

Start small with a particular initiative backed by engaged users, a research group or a department or school. It’s best to work with the leadership of your institution-- make sure that you are engaging with people at high levels of the institution including administrators and university librarians, and that you clearly articulate your goals. Start small and aim high. That means keep the first implementation simple but engage broadly across the institution.