Update: I have closed comment on this post now. Thank you very much to all who commented and suggested ideas for a challenge. I have now posted a draft Challenge here and would welcome comments on that post. Thanks again!

Through the JISC-funded DevCSI project, UKOLN has been asked to arrange a 'Developer Challenge' for the Fifth International Conference on Open Repositories, (OR10) to be held in Madrid in July of this year. This will be the third consecutive year that the Developer Challenge has been a feature of this conference. Previous challenges have been both competitive and creative. OR09_dev_challenge.jpg Photo by Graham Triggs

This year we have been considering doing something slightly different. Previously, a general challenge has been issued, inviting developers to submit prototypes for anything which they feel is relevant and useful to the repository community. But now that the community has a better appreciation of the sort of creativity which developers can bring to these events, we wonder if we might try something a little different. A general challenge? We have been thinking about the possibility of the repository community issuing a particular challenge to the developers planning to attend OR10. This could be decided on by the community well in advance of the conference. If we managed to 'crowd source' a few ideas, we could organise a simple vote. Something we are trying to do more with the DevCSI project is to get developers together with non-developers from the same 'domain' (repositories in this case) - so we are quite interested in pursuing this approach with OR10. The OR10 organisers have helpfully couched the conference itself in terms of some challenges:

In a world of increasingly dispersed and modularized digital services and content, it remains a grand challenge for the future to cross the borders between diverse poles:

  • the web and the repository
  • knowledge and technology
  • wild and curated content
  • linked and isolated data
  • disciplinary and institutional systems
  • scholars and service providers
  • ad-hoc and long-term access
  • ubiquitous and personalized environments
  • the cloud and the desktop.

Perhaps one or more of these could serve as the inspiration for a more concrete developers challenge? What this boils down to is finding a challenge in the general area of repositories, recognised as important by the community generally, which could only be met by getting developers to work with non-developers at the conference. For it to be fair, the challenge would need to be non-specific with regard to any particular repository software. I would welcome some feedback:

  • is this general approach a good idea?
  • do you have any ideas for a challenge?

please feel free to comment here if you have any ideas, or alternatively drop me an email at [email protected]. Thanks!