The University Libraries and Information Technology Services (ITS) are pleased to announce the beta release of a new repository services platform, called ScholarSphere, this fall, in September 2012.

ScholarSphere will enable the Penn State community to share research with a worldwide audience. Faculty, students, and academic programs will be able to use ScholarSphere to collect their work in one location to create a durable and citeable record of their papers, presentations, publications, datasets, or other scholarly creations. Penn State also offers this service to its community to comply with funder policies for sharing the results of research. ScholarSphere helps fulfill the University’s land grant mission to share its knowledge with the citizens of Pennsylvania and beyond.

In the months prior to ScholarSphere’s release, we will be testing functionality and usability of the platform with the Penn State community. This message is a call to invite you to be a test user for ScholarSphere this summer, during the period July 9 to August 9.

What does being a test user mean? As a test user, you would be asked to run through a series of tasks on ScholarSphere – including but not limited to:

* authenticating into ScholarSphere
* uploading files (which involves describing the files to be uploaded)
* downloading files
* searching for content in ScholarSphere
* providing feedback on the user interface

Since members of the ScholarSphere development team will be present at on-site testing cycles, your participation will also give you an opportunity to ask them questions about the platform.

On-site testing will take place in Davey Laboratory at the Physical and Mathematical Sciences (PAMS) Library. On one day for each week during the July 9-August 9 period, there will be a two-hour slot for testing. By no means will the testing take the whole two hours – it will likely last no more than 45-60 minutes. But we set aside two hours in order to allow for extended Q&A and discussion about ScholarSphere.

Beginning in June, there will be online registration for on-site testing. Faculty and students who agree to be test users and are available to test on-site will receive the link then for online registration.

We will also permit remote testing of ScholarSphere, with information regarding instructions for feedback to come in June as well.

Your participation as a test user will help ensure the Libraries and ITS release a highly functional, highly usable platform. We hope you will be able to join us!