I very much like this infographic from COAR. I've been working with COAR on the Next Generation Repositories Working Group and we have been gradually building a picture of a technological future for repository systems. As this work has progressed over the last year or so, it has gradually become clear that there is an opportunity to describe a sustainable knowledge commons. While the Next Generation Repository group is gradually assembling a picture of the technical components and protocols which can make this work, this infographic covers some other, non-technical aspects which will also be required.
(This is the second of two posts forming my contribution to Open Access Week 2015.) The following proposal was written as a thought-experiment to test, in a recognisable problem-space, the idea outlined in my previous post, The Active Repository Pattern. I was able to call on the the advice of colleagues at EDINA who have world-class expertise in the area of 'routing' open-access metadata and content. The United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR) was invited to comment, and many members of that organisation provided some very valuable feedback, for which I am very grateful!
(This is the first of two posts forming my contribution to Open Access Week 2015.) Context Institutional repositories It is easy to overlook, or take for granted, the way in which the drive towards open-access (over the last decade or more) has succeeded not only in creating several viable "institutional-repository" software packages, but also in encouraging libraries and IT departments in universities to deploy them. It should be recognised that individual universities have shown, and continue to show commitment to maintaining their repositories in spite of shrinking budgets.
I have been slightly involved (through Jisc funding) with the ResourceSync specification project, being led by Herbert Van de Sompel of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The project has just released a draft specification, which is available at http://www.openarchives.org/rs/. The draft will be available for public comment until March 15th 2013 - you are invited to comment via the ResourceSync Google Group. Group discussions are openly accessible; posting requires group membership.
Together with Sheridan Brown, I have been tasked with developing some guidelines and a metadata ‘application’ profile for institutional repositories (IRs) in the UK. We are calling this work RIOXX. This post focusses on the application profile more than the guidelines, and describes phase 1 of the project, which aims to deploy this application profile across IRs in the UK by the first quarter of 2013. Objectives to develop an application profile which enables open access repositories to expose metadata more consistently and which, in particular, conveys information about how the item being described in the metadata was funded to develop general guidelines for repositories which support the use of the application profile to support such technical development as is necessary to implement these recommendations and the application profile in common repository platforms to develop these such that they pave the way for a likely CERIF-based solution in the medium-long term.
I've been at the excellent JISC CNI Meeting in Edinburgh these last two days. Lots of interesting work being described and met some great new people. Some people have asked me to post my slides, so here they are: JISC CNI Meeting, Edinburgh 2010 from Paul Walk
A brief comment, as I hop across the North Sea back to Bristol. With the news that arXiv will now accept deposits from institutional repositories, Dorothea Salo continues her theme about a deposit flow which goes from author, to institutional repository, to subject/discipline repository. Dorothea offers some scenarios, including: Achaea University adopts a Harvard-style open-access mandate. If she wants her articles in arXiv as well, Dr. Troia must rather annoyingly dual-deposit… unless Achaea’s IR implements a deposit pipeline to arXiv, in which case the most she has to do is tick a ticky-box (and I can imagine ways to abstract away the ticky-box).
I just got around to reading the press release issued after the collapse of Europeana (previously the more easily pronounced 'European Digital Library') following its launch a couple of weeks ago. If you go to the site now, you are greeted with the following message: The Europeana site is temporarily not accessible due to overwhelming interest after its launch (10 million hits per hour). We are doing our utmost to reopen Europeana in a more robust version as soon as possible.
In the latest edition of Ariadne the JISC Information Environment (JISC IE), and that diagram in particular, get taken to task by Tony Ross in an article called Lost in the JISC Information Environment. Tony takes a look at the origins of the JISC IE, or more particularly its technical architecture, and asks a series of searching questions about its purpose and effectiveness. I think he does a good job of highlighting some of the difficulties inherent in trying to conceptualise an environment in which the supply of resources is necessarily distributed and the requirements of users are multifarious.
At a JISC workshop last Thursday I was invited to present some ideas around an architecture to support and exploit repositories in the UK. I gave the presentation the title Repository Architecture #83 ;-) My intention was to suggest some starting principles and then explore how they held up in the face of real-world issues. Here is the slide where I outlined these principles: I also asked the question: "do we actually need a new architecture?
Here's an interesting approach. Bernhard Haslhofer at Media Spaces has developed OAI2LOD Server, a system which harvests metadata with OAI-PMH, processes the records to create a triple store and exposes interfaces to this for linked-data clients, SPARQL clients and web-browsers. According to the web-page: The OAI2LOD Server exposes any OAI-PMH compliant metadata repository according to the Linked Data guidelines. This makes things and media objects accessible via HTTP URIs and query able via the SPARQL protocol.
Back in February I was asked to give a talk to the JISC Digitisation Programme meeting. I blogged about this shortly beforehand asking for comments and suggestions. The response was fantastic - I received a bunch of great suggestions and incorporated many of them into the presentation. Everyone who commented got a public 'thankyou' at the event, and I included all names in the slides I used. I have finally gotten around to making the slides available (someone who was at the meeting has asked for them so they made some sort of impression with someone!
For some time now I have occasionally advised people involved in repository administration that they should consider registering the Base URL of their OAI-PMH interface (if they have one) with Google as a proxy for a Sitemap. Until recently, Google has supported the use of OAI-PMH Base URLs in its Webmaster Tools which site owners can use to create and register sitemaps in order to give hints about the structure of the website to Google's web-crawler.
I was pleased to be invited by Brian Fuchs to a 'Million Books Workshop' at Imperial College, London last Friday. A fascinating day, in the company of what was, for me, an unusual group of 20-30 linguists, classical scholars and computer scientists. The morning session consisted of three presentations (following an introduction from Gregory Crane which I missed thanks to the increasingly awful transport system between London and the South West) which brought us up to speed with some advances in OCR, computer aided text analysis and translation, and classification.
In Repositories thru the looking glass over on the eFoundations blog, Andy Powell gives a summary of a keynote he gave to the Vala Conference last week. It's interesting stuff, and I will take the time to look at the presentation slides as well. I mostly agree (vehemently in some instances) with Andy's points, though I do find myself questioning some parts of this, so I'll quote some snippets and make a few comments here.
I have been invited to give a short presentation to the JISC Digitisation Programme on Friday, giving an overview of different ways of exposing content and metadata. I'll be talking to projects which are concerned with Cultural Heritage content which is being surfaced in websites to support eLearning. Formats vary tremendously. This is the complete list: 18th century parliamentary papers 19th century pamphlets online A digital library of core e-resources on Ireland Archival sound recordings 2 British Cartoon Archive digitisation project British Governance in the 20th century: Cabinet papers, 1914-1975 British Library 19th century newspapers British Library archival sound recordings project British newspapers 1620-1900 Electronic ephemera: Digitised selections from the John Johnson collection First World War poetry digital archive Independent Radio News Archive digitisation InView: Moving images in the public sphere Medical journal backfiles Modern Welsh journals online NewsFilm online Online historical population reports Portsmouth University: Historic boundaries of Britain Pre-Raphaelite resource site Scott Polar Research Institute: Freeze Frame – Historic polar images The East London theatre archive UK theses digitisation project Aside from the obvious stuff like OAI-PMH, Google, RSS, what should I be talking about?
Having attended the CRIG Unconference last week, I think that it delivered much that was interesting and valuable. I look forward to the results of the synthesis of the many contributions from the delegates. Although there was just one formal presentation, the volume of content was still considerable, as just about everyone actively contributed something. The final analysis will have to demonstrate whether or not the quality of the content has been good enough to be useful.
I spent Wednesday at a small event called Open source community - friend or foe?, organised by OSS Watch to discuss strategies for developing communities around development projects. To quote from their website: OSS Watch promotes awareness and understanding of the legal, social, technical and economic issues that arise when educational institutions engage with free and open source software. It does this by providing unbiased advice and guidance to UK higher and further education.
The Higher Education sector has invested a lot of time and effort into the development and adoption of open standards. Interoperability has, for some time, been one of the key design-principles in the development of new software and services. Developers working in projects funded by JISC for example are, necessarily, at pains to demonstrate that their solution uses open standards where possible in order to ensure interoperability. Would I be amiss if I suggested that there are some who have been satisfied to leave it there?
With all due respect to Issac Newton, I love Kathy Sierra’s effort to bring his noble sentiment up to date. The always readable Sierra has written a great post about the wisdom of sharing ideas freely, even with competitors, instead of jealously guarding them. She differentiates between Knowledge Sharers and Knowledge Hoarders - especially in the particular flavour of knowledge we call ‘expertise’, and quotes a wonderful line from David Maister’s The Trusted Advisor: