Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Repositories Exchange of Experience - Universities of York and Leeds

An interesting meeting took place on Friday between various library staff who work on "repositories" at the Universities of York and Leeds. University of York is developing a digital library - using Fedora with a Muradora front end - to manage a variety of digital content - including, for example, a collection of images from the History of Art Department (some already digitised, others which will need to be scanned). Leeds has a multimedia repository running on the Digitool platform - originally created as part of the MIDESS project and now continuing as LUDOS (Leeds University Digital Objects) . LUDOS collections include Medieval Manuscripts and images of Physics Instruments. It will also house longitudinal qualitative data from the ESRC funded Timescapes project.

There is significant overlap between the target content for the York Digital Library and LUDOS.

Both the LUDOS and York Digital Library act as a complement to Leeds' and York's VLE systems and to the shared (Leeds, Sheffield, York) repository for research outputs - White Rose Research Online (EPrints software).

Repository development can be a lonely business sometimes! It's good to get in touch with other people who are working through very similar issues. Some of the common ground identified at the meeting:
  • access control : for legal reasons - but also may wish to restrict access to the metadata of non OA items in some cases.
  • metadata - York is investigating VRA Core for images; Leeds decided against this standard, preferring MODS because it enables nested relationships. Potentially, much fruitful sharing of exerience to be had here.
  • data input - repository workflows need to be able to cater for expert and non-expert inputters
  • authentication - we need it!
  • relationships between digital objects
  • to customise or not to customise? - software may be flexible enough to allow lots of tailoring - but future migration should always be considered
  • ingestion of really big files! Should large files be referenced elsewhere e.g. vidoes might live on a streaming server.
  • multiple copies of files - if usage data is important, how to we aggregate statistics?
  • trust and creditials between repository systems - for sharing data
  • metasearch tools from OPAC - various tools were discussed. York and Leeds have similar interests - it would be very useful to share data on this.
  • how comprehensive should metasearching be?
  • embedded (human!) behaviour - how to change it?
  • desktop deposit - what will it look like and is mediation always necessary?
We also had a couple of brief presentations on SWORD - Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit- by Julie and John. We're looking at SWORD as a potential deposit mechanism for to populate both WRRO and ESRC's Social Sciences repository. See the IncReASe project. It would also be interesting to look into desktop deposit using SWORD e.g. as used in the experimental Microsoft eJournal Service.

York: Julie Allinson, Peri Stracchino, Ellizabeth Harbord, Yankui Feng, Matthew Herring, Lucy Jaques
Leeds: Jonathan Ainsworth, Michael Emly, John Salter
White Rose: Rachel Proudfoot, Beccy Shipman, John Salter, Lucy Jaques

This was a useful meeting - and raised lots of issues which there was not time to address in great detail on the day. It was agreed to have another exchange meeting in about 6 months' time.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Access statistics 07-08

The latest access statistics from Google Analytics show continued excellent usage of the repository over the year 01/08/07 to 31/07/08. Most traffic continues to come from Google - predominantly from regular Google rather than Scholar. But there are interesting examples of high volumes of traffic from individual or departmental web site where these have been linked to papers in WRRO. The traffic breakdown is as follows:

Search Engines 81,332.00 (81.97%)
Referring Sites 12,736.00 (12.84%)
Direct Traffic 5,150.00 (5.19%)
Other 6 (0.01%)

WRRO had 88,464 individual visitors, making a total of 99,224 visits to the site and looking at 229,381 pages.

Most users were from the UK, followed by the USA, Canada, India and Germany. In total, we attracted visitors from 190 countries/territories . The three most regularly downloaded papers were:

Thompson, C. (2000) Clinical decision making in nursing: theoretical perspectives and their relevance to practice – a response to Jean Harbison. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 35 (1). pp. 134-137.

Dickinson, T.M. (2005) Symbols of protection : the significance of animal-ornamented shields in early Anglo-Saxon England. Medieval Archaeology, 49 (1). pp. 109-163.

Rodrigues, A.S.L., Andelman, S.J., Bakarr, M.I., Boitani, L., Brooks, T.M., Cowling, R.M., Fishpool, L.D.C., da Fonseca, G.A.B., Gaston, K.J., Hoffmann, M., Long, J.S., Marquet, P.A., Pilgrim, J.D., Pressey, R.L., Schipper, J., Sechrest, W., Stuart, S.N., Underhill, L.G., Waller, R.W., Watts, M.E.J. and Yan, X. (2004) Effectiveness of the global protected area network in representing species diversity. Nature, 428 (6983). pp. 640-643.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

WRRO and arXiv

It's well known that researchers who routinely use arXiv may be reluctant to post their work to a local repository. The work is already openly accessible through a well established, well used service so isn't posting to a local repository simply redundant extra work?

We're keen to see all disciplines and research outputs captured by White Rose Research Online but none of us wants to duplicate effort. To offer a meaningful service to the physicist, mathematicians, computer scientists etc. who use arXiv we need to allow a single deposit to feed more than one system. When depositing in WRRO, we'd like to offer an option to Depost in arXiv, whereby the metadata and any attached files are pushed into arXiv. With work underway on developing and using the SWORD protocol (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) this service development is moving closer week by week. (See the SWORD / arXiv case study by Simeon Warner). However, perhaps a more likely scenario is that arXiv users continue to deposit in arXiv but that we identify WRRO content and pull it back into WRRO from arXiv. Or perhaps depositors will be able to PUT works into WRRO from arXiv - perhaps using SWORD. There are some interesting developments coming from Microsoft which could allow desktop to repository deposit - so perhaps the longer term solution will be single or multiple repository deposit from within Word. (See Microsoft Research Unveils Free Software Tools to Help Scholars and Researchers Share Knowledge.)

We hope that before too long WRRO will have more attractive options to offer arXiv users than simply asking them to duplicate work by adding works to both arXiv and WRRO. We'd be very happy to discuss possibilities with any arXiv users from the White Rose Universities; in any case, we will be identifying and contacting arXiv users with WRRO content during the course of the IncReASe project with a view to importing content from arXiv and, perhaps, offering local WRRO to arXiv deposit.