Tag Archives: writing

Recent writing

This blog has been pretty quiet over the past few months.  There are a few reasons for that!

First, I’ve been working in my spare time as the Community Manager for the new JISC-funded ‘SWORD v2‘ project.  The role is partially project-manager (in terms of paperwork, project plans, etc), but mostly community management (managing email lists, creating a panel of experts, maintaining a web site, writing blog posts, creating a wikipedia entry, sending twitter updates etc).

In addition, I was commissioned to write a couple of pieces for IBM’s ‘DeveloperWorks’ web site:

  • Technical standards in education, Part 3: Open repositories for scholarly communication
    Enhancing access to research: Universities and research institutions use open repositories to enhance how they manage the outputs of their research activities, and make that research available to a worldwide audience. This article outlines the history and challenges of scholarly communication in today’s open environment. It describes some of the different standards and technical challenges relating to collecting, storing, preserving, transferring, and providing access to research using open repositories.
  • Technical standards in education, Part 4: Interoperable resource deposit using SWORD
    Using the SWORD protocol to deposit content into heterogeneous repositories: Open repositories are becoming a key component of the scholarly communication landscape as they allow cutting edge research to reach wider audiences. For open repositories to work effectively, they must make use of common standards to interoperate. A repository ingests new content, either through its own user interface or through a web service. The Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit (SWORD) protocol is the standard by which most open repositories allow remote deposit. This article describes the SWORD protocol, why it was developed, possible use cases, and an overview of how it works.

These two articles are part of a series ‘Technical standards in education‘.аутсорсинг интернет магазина

If SWORD is the answer, what is the question?

I’ve just had a new collaborative paper published: ‘If SWORD is the answer, what is the question?’ (DOI: 10.1108/00330330910998057). It covers the most recent iteration of the SWORD repository deposit standard, looks briefly at some issues around the present lack of adoption of SWORD, and most usefully presents seven use cases of SWORD written by their developers:

Lewis, S., Hayes, L., Newton-Wade, V., Corfield, A., Davis, R., Donohue, T., Wilson, S., If SWORD is the answer, what is the question?: Use of the Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit protocol, Program: electronic library and information systems, 2009,  Vol 43, Issue 4, pp: 407 – 418, 10.1108/00330330910998057, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Of course a copy is available open access in our repository: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/5315


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the repository deposit protocol, Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit (SWORD), its development iteration, and some of its potential use cases. In addition, seven case studies of institutional use of SWORD are provided.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper describes the recent development cycle of the SWORD standard, with issues being identified and overcome with a subsequent version. Use cases and case studies of the new standard in action are included to demonstrate the wide range of practical uses of the SWORD standard.

Findings – SWORD has many potential use cases and has quickly become the de facto standard for depositing items into repositories. By making use of a widely-supported interoperable standard, tools can be created that start to overcome some of the problems of gathering content for deposit into institutional repositories. They can do this by changing the submission process from a “one-size-fits-all” solution, as provided by the repository’s own user interface, to customised solutions for different users.

Originality/value – Many of the case studies described in this paper are new and unpublished, and describe methods of creating novel interoperable tools for depositing items into repositories. The description of SWORD version 1.3 and its development give an insight into the processes involved with the development of a new standard.

The seven case studies include a thesis submission system, a SWORD plugin for moodle, an automated laboratory data repository deposit tool, a desktop deposit tool, the BibApp repository integration module, a custom deposit tool for a technical report series, and the Facebook SWORD deposit tool.pass-cracker

Library Mashups book – Chapter 17 now Open Access

Library Mashups book cover imageA new book ‘Library Mashups – Exploring new ways to delivery library data‘ has now been published. The book, edited by Nicole Engard, has a great list of 25 authors from all across the globe, including well known names in the library-tech world such as Tim Spalding, Ross Singer, Bess Sadler and Bonaria Biancu. The chapters cover subjects from the basics such as ‘What is a mashup?’ and ‘Making your data available to be mashed up’, to loads of very specific library-oriented chapters such as ‘Mashing up with librarian knowledge’, ‘Breaking into the OPAC’ and ‘Mashups with Worldcat affiliate services’. There is also a section of the book about interacting with other types of services such as maps, pictures and videos.

Why am I writing about this? Well, for three reasons:

1) The book is great. I’ve learned a lot from it, and have enjoyed reading it. I particularly like this quote by Tim Spalding (of LibraryThing.com) in his chapter “Breaking into the OPAC”:

As a computer programmer with no experience of the library world, I figured this [helping libraries to add LibraryThing data to their catalogues] would be a simple problem to solve. Of course I found out that the library world was different. The code behind its systems was closed and unextensible, with virtually no APIs in or out.

Read his chapter to hear his experiences and answers.

2) The second reason is that I am one of the lucky authors who has been able to contribute to the book. Chapter 17 is “The Repository Mashup Map” which looks at the development of the Repository66 mashup map of Open Access repositories across the world. The chapter explores why the mashup was created, how it was created, and (hopefully) most usefully some of the design decisions that need to be taken into account when making a mashup (decisions related to when and how to download the data, how to match sources, and when and where to manipulate the data etc).

3) However, the main reason for this blog post is to say that a copy of the chapter has now been published online ‘Open Access’. You can find it in the DSpace repository we run at the University of Auckland Library:

Download URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/5258

I hope that you find it useful.

[UPDATE 2/Nov/2009]: Chapter 2 of the book ‘Behind the Scenes: Some Technical Details’ by Bonaria Biancu is now also available open access: http://hdl.handle.net/10281/5117klasnolom

How the West was won – 12 repositories for Wales

Last week, on the 19th January 2009 we held the launch event of the ‘Welsh Repository Network‘. It was a project funded by the JISC in their ‘Start-Up & Enhancement‘ stream and run in association with WHELF (the Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum) to create a network of twelve repositories across Wales – one repository for each higher education institution. We have been rolling these out over the past two years, and this process is now complete! 🙂

The twelve repositories are at:

Another very useful output from the project is a set of twelve case studies detailing the hardware purchased by each university to run their repository, and the rationale behind the decisions. There are a wide variety of universities in Wales in terms of size and profile, so hopefully these will be useful to other people. The case studies can be downloaded from http://hdl.handle.net/2160/1881

The launch event was held in the Drwm at the National Library of Wales. The day started with interesting talks by Glen Robson and Dan Field who are repository programmers at the National Library of Wales about some of their current projects. These were followed by a behind-the-scenes tour of the library, and lunch. The afternoon consisted of a launch speech about ‘The importance of the WRN to Wales’ given by the Librarian of the National Library, Andrew Green. This was followed by a talk entitled ‘Institutional Repositories: Essential tools for the modern research environment’ given by Professor Lyn Pykett the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at Aberystwyth University. Next up was Dr. Andrew Prescott the manager of Library Services at the University of Wales Lampeter who spoke about ‘Repositories and University Information Services’. Finally the presentations were concluded with a talk by the third Andrew of the day, Andrew McGregor, programme manager from JISC on ‘Looking to the future: The impact of the Start-Up & Enhancement (SUE) Projects’.

Finally an official press release is available (in English or Welsh), as is paper detailing the process taken over the past couple of years to get to this position is available:

Lewis, S., Payne, H., How the West was won, ALISS Quarterly, ISSN 1747-9258, Vol 4, no. 2, pp 18-23 (http://hdl.handle.net/2160/1882)

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