Just finished a meeting with the project team from the Kit-Catalogue project at Loughborough University.
This project is taking an existing resource – a catalogue of equipment mostly of interest to engineering folk and making it into a resource that will be of use across the institution and the wider sector.
The underlying thesis of this project is that while there is a lot of expensive equipment in university laboratories and departments, other people in the same or a neighbouring institution are going out and buying another one. Kit-Catalogue aims to end this waste by firstly cataloguing all the equipment at Loughborough, and then making that information available to people across the university.
That’s the first step, later the plan is to involve local companies (there are some big engineering companies not far from the university and with whom the university has good links) as some of them have indicated that they have kit in their R&D facilities that could be of use to researchers. There is also interest from the research funding councils who now mandate that before a grant is made to buy new kit, the grant seeker must be able to show that they have satisfied themselves that the kit does not already exist and is available to use.
The intention is to release this system (its PHP and MySQL) as an open source offering, and to promote its uptake across the sector. One possibility is to have a kind of syndicated Kit-Catalogue, with local catalogues at institutions but the data available on a regional or even national basis.
Maybe we can link Scope 3 emissions data to items in the catalogue to show the environmental savings?
The project website is here: