Session 3: Interoperability

The final three presentations of the day focussed on interoperability. The first two, specifically discussed ways to make it easier for users to deposit materials into repositories. Julie Allinson, from the SWORD Project, discussed the work they have done and the use of the Atom Publishing Protocol as a framework for developing a derivative SWORD deposit profile. The presentation finished by noting that a NISO standard and tools are being developed for this same purpose and it is hoped that they take into consideration the work done by the SWORD project.

Scott Yeadon, from the Australian National University, gave a presentation on tools which the RIFF Project have developed for DSpace and Fedora to facilitate easier deposit of content into these repositories. Their work took real world examples of content to deposit and developed a submission service, a METS content packaging profile and dissemination service.

Both the SWORD and RIFF Projects demonstrated working examples of their services, albeit in early form. The main question remaining is whether they will be adopted beyond the confines of the project. Part of project work is research and development, but a significant part is also the marketing of the results of the project, for which OR2008 is clearly an important venue.

Finally, Dean Krafft, from Cornell University, presented NCore, a wide range of open source tools for creating digital repositories. Much bigger in scale than the previous two projects, the NCore platform is notable for being released on Sourceforge as a community project. It also has guaranteed funding until 2012, suggesting that even greater work is to come. It’s basically a suite of software tools and services built around the Fedora repository, developed to manage millions of objects, initially at the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). It was an excellent presentation of what appears to be a successful project and set of products. Building a Fedora repository requires a higher investment of resources than installing DSpace or EPrints and projects which use this platform, although often complex and difficult, tend to produce very interesting and impressive results.

Session 2: Social Networking

Carrying on from the morning’s Web 2.0 session, in the afternoon I attended a session on how social networking tools are being developed for and integrated into repositories.

Jane Hunter, from the University of Queensland, discussed the HarvANA project, a system which supports and exploits repository users’ tags, comments and other annotations through the development of separate collections of user contributed metadata. It seems like an interesting and ultimately useful idea, acknowledging the ‘added value’ that user annotations can make to repository objects. Significantly,users can annotate sections of text, images and other media, allowing annotations to be created for parts of the repository object, rather than just the whole.

David Millard, from The University of Southampton, presented the Faroes project, a development of EPrints for teachers wishing to deposit learning resources. He said that their experience on previous projects had shown that users were not interested in nor required content packaging standards and that repository user interfaces needed to provide similar functionality to other repositories such as Flickr and YouTube. Their project aims to provide a simple, attractive interface to EPrints (called ‘PuffinShare’) aimed at teachers sharing documents, images and other single files (or ‘learning assets’), rather than packages of learning objects. It looked like a great project, highlighting some of the challenges we’ve faced on the LIROLEM project and one which I think we would be interested in trying. A public beta is due this summer. He pointed out that the growth of Web 2.0 is due to the popularity of personal services (Flickr, YouTube, Delicious), which also have an optional, additional social value to them, too.

Carol Minton, from the National Science Digital Library, discussed the work they have done on embedding Web 2.0 applications such as MediaWiki and WordPress, into their repository service. Essentially, they have created services that link blog articles and wiki pages to repository objects, enriching the objects with these community ‘annotations’.