Monday, 8 September 2008

DRIVER workshop Tilburg, Netherlands

The "Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research" (DRIVER) project is funded by the European Commission under the "Research Infrastructure" unit. The aim of the project is to enable open access of scientific publications and research data through a network of European institutional repositories. Although DRIVER is a European project, collaboration is sought with international repository providers from USA, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Norbert Lassou (Scientific coordinator of the project) talked about the DRIVER community’s need to agree to fundamental principal such as:
i) Make research publications open access.
ii) Follow the guidelines (DRIVER) to make services interoperable.
iii) The need to be committed to ensure long term access.
iv) Join the DRIVER community (open to anyone) to become part of the repository network.

He emphasised that the main aim of DRIVER was not just to build a network infrastructure but to promote open access of research data. Their goal is to support open access publishing (journal and book), new types of citation & impact measuring services and to develop and provide long-term archiving services for repositories. They support three user groups: repository managers, service providers and researchers as well as the general public. They claim one of the benefits of joining will be that funding and research organisations will be able to build their own interface on the DRIVER data index as well as sharing developments by service providers. Furthermore they aim to develop automated article transfer from the publisher to institutional repositories (European PEER project) and metadata transfer workflows from article databases into institutional repositories (e.g. PubMed > Fact Science research database)

In order to become harvestable by DRIVER your repository has to be compliant with DRIVER guidelines. (The networking of repositories is done using OAI-PMH protocol although this has not been working very well however it is too widespread to drop it completely.) The DRIVER guideline is an ongoing development. A new version of the guideline is currently under development. DRIVER has developed a tool (Validator) to check the contents of repositories (full text) for the quality of metadata. There were technical glitches with this software that has been sorted now. The Validator tool was used (to validate the content of repositories) on 100 repositories and no repository was found to be 100% compliant. However, only a few were non-harvestable. They now allow for ~5% error margin.

The DRIVER team has also developed D-Net Software (DRIVER Network-Evolution-Toolkit) which is an open source toolkit for re-use by repository networks. Use of this software ensures interoperability but it is not considered necessary for each institution to have this software. This software requires a lot of resource and hardware and therefore the cost is high. They would only recommend this to national consortiums or large repositories that support several institutions.

The other talks were more focused on the technical side, providing details of how the network of repositories is achieved; data is aggregated and indexed to be used for searching, browsing and profiling by users. They spoke about the “European Information Space” that is maintained by the DRIVER consortium [].

Mentor scheme (mediation)
Soon to be launched, this project aims to mediate networking between repositories staff/managers. If a particular individual is experiencing problems with the different aspects of repositories or are starting to collect a different type of material and they have no prior experience then they would contact DRIVER and they should find a list of other people doing similar things.

Slides from the talk are available form the Tilburg website [

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