Facebook to the repository via SWORD

A post to note that I have successfully deposited a document into our institutional repository from my Facebook account using the Facebook SWORD app, written by Stuart Lewis

There’s a few things worth mentioning: It’s a 3.1.1 EPrints IR, hosted at our university and maintained by EPrints Services. EPrints has supported SWORD since v3.1. Originally, the FB app didn’t work for the following reasons:

  • The ‘Depositing on behalf of’ field has to be left empty. I was told by Seb at EPrints Services that this is ‘disabled by default’.
  • The repository URL needs to point at the ‘service document’, not the base URL of the IR. For us, that is http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/sword-app/servicedocument
  • We use LDAP for authentication and the IR configuration needed to be tweaked to account for this when depositing via SWORD.
Once we’d overcome these issues, my ‘test.txt’ doc was successfully deposited from my desktop to the University of Lincoln IR via Facebook:
…with a few caveats:
  • The app announced ‘Item Deposited!’ and gave a URL which resulted in a 404 dead link http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/sword-app/collections/1738/deposit. I don’t know why. I thought it was because I wasn’t logged in to the IR, but even after logging in, the link was dead.
  • The app (maybe it’s defined in the SWORD spec, I haven’t checked), zipped up my metadata and document, which resulted in depositing two items: My test.txt document and the original zip file were both showing in my item list. This could be because of the way our IR is configured to unpack zip folders. I don’t know.

  • The metadata mapping was partially successful. The referreed status didn’t map across at all and the URL reference I gave mapped to the ‘Identification number’ field in EPrints, rather than the ‘Related URLs’ field, which was what I was expecting. Maybe the SWORD app field could be renamed ‘Identification URL/DOI’ or similar? The title, abstract and my name were correctly mapped. It’s a shame that my email address wasn’t autocompleted as it would be if I were depositing through the normal EPrints workflow. 
Despite these issues, it’s good to see this working in principle and I imagine that the above could be rectified quite easily. Perhaps someone can offer their solutions here?

As Stuart notes on his blog, the main value in this kind of app is the ability to broadcast to your Facebook friends that you’ve just deposited something in an IR. My main gripe, however, would be that it doesn’t make the deposit process any easier, which is what interests me about the SWORD protocol. Working this way…

  • I have to use two applications to make my document public, the benefit being that other people are told about what I’ve just done. 
  • The EPrints URL that the app points to, even if it was working, points to a non-public space, so my friends don’t have a direct link to the document from within Facebook. 
  • The metadata fields in the present version of the app, are not configurable which means that I have to add more metadata through the EPrints interface. 
  • Finally, it does seem odd to upload a document from my desktop to Facebook only to send it to another application and finish off the process of deposit there. It would be more useful, if I could deposit files that I already hold in Facebook. I don’t use Facebook enough to really know if there are apps that allow you to create documents within Facebook, but if there were, then perhaps Facebook could be used as a (collaborative?) working space and the SWORD app used to deposit final versions to an IR.