Separate HTML pages for individual records

I’m returning here to an old theme that is still nagging away at the back of my mind and that I think still needs exploring further as the functionality of the SRU interface develops; both by Mike and I and by Intrallect in the context of their ongoing development of the research repository aspect of intraLibrary.

Can we generate individual HTML pages for records such that a search query could generate a list of hyperlinks that point to those individual pages rather than to the location URL stored in intraLibrary which is currently the case?  This would more closely approximate the way that EPrints and DSpace work and potentially solve the Google problem by providing an easily indexable page of static HTML for search engine spiders to crawl.  Could these pages also have nice, short, human readable URLs instead of convoluted search strings / machine-generated public URLs from intraLibrary.  Again more like EPrints/DSpace.  Currently the only way I can give a link to an item is:

http://repository.leedsmet.ac.uk/main/search.php?q=promoting+open+access+to+research&x=22&y=26&exacttext=1

(The SRU search string that will provide the metadata)

Or

http://repository-intralibrary.leedsmet.ac.uk/IntraLibrary?command=open-preview&learning_object_key=i05n27905t

(The machine generated public URL for the actual PDF)

I’ve recently been adding RSS feeds to http://repos-dev.leedsmet.ac.uk/main/browse.php and another issue (aside from the fact that the wrong field is exposed by RSS) is that these also point to the location URL stored in intraLibrary – the PDF in the case of full text but the published URL in instances where there is a citation only.  It would be much better if these feeds could point at a Leeds Met repository metadata record.

I simply do not have the technical insight to know whether any of this is achievable at all and, if it is, how big a job it will be.

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Spinning plates: A repository update

I feel at the moment that I’m trying to spin plates, rushing around like a guest act on the Paul Daniels magic show to impart sustained rotation – when I get to the last plate the first is beginning to wobble….and then someone throws me another, just to make it more exciting.

Oh and all the plates are different shapes and sizes (some of them I swear aren’t even symmetrical which gives them a lop-sided gyration that is really tricky to maintain…)

Currently research material collectively comprises one of the biggest and wonkiest sets of crockery:

  1. Peer reviewed journal articles
  2. Book items
  3. Conference proceedings
  4. Conference items (e.g. ppt presentations)
  5. Theses or dissertations
  6. Reports

All of these need to be displayed differently by the Open Search interface which means Mike is currently hacking away at the code to ensure they are picked up by Educational properties: Type of resource and then formatted appropriately.  In turn this is having a knock on effect for metadata entry and workflow and I’m still not sure how it will all tie together.

We are also relying on Mike to develop advanced search as part of the interface; work is progressing well and we are now able to cross reference (toggling AND/OR) Title; Subject; Publisher; Description (abstract); DOI; Type and Format  – the interface also has a free text box.  Mike is currently trying to implement probably the most important field – search by author – and has identified a potential problem due to limits on the way we can differentiate contributor roles in the metadata – currently we are only able to query Dublin Core rather than the full LOM record.  N.B. Recent testing has indicated that this may not actually be the problem we originally thought and it may be possible to query contributor role=author after all.  Then we’d also like to incorporate browse by author – though this is currently another plate yet to be balanced and spun….

Then there is the ongoing issue of differentiating content (i.e. research material vs. learning objects) and ensuring these are returned appropriately by an extended/alternative Open Search interface – this functionality is crucial to Unicycle of course to make OERs available.  We’re currently exploring using collection tokens which should allow us to submit a query incorporating an authenticationToken such that a given query only returns content from a particular collection.  Initial testing has gone well and we’re pretty confident we can implement this over the next week or so.

(NB.  I need to start thinking about license models for Unicycle and some flavour of Creative Commons will need uploading to intraLibrary, another one for the to do list…)

Ideally we could do with a functioning PowerLink for the VLE by September – as well as being crucial for the PC3 project, it represents functionality that will really get people engaged and allow us to demonstrate the benefits of storing and sharing teaching and learning materials in the repository rather than within the modular, inaccessible silos of Blackboard-Vista.  Also important for PC3 is implementing LDAP authentication (which really should be happening soon!) thereby giving teaching-staff – and the first PC3 cohort – access to intraLibrary – NB.  PC3 doesn’t require Open Access in the same way as Unicycle.

I’ve also been working with Rachel on developing a workflow for CLA material and ensuring that we can generate suitable reports for the CLA – during this process, we uncovered a bug in the metadata editor which slowed us down a bit but with help from Intrallect, we’ve managed to implement a work-around pending the bug being fixed in a future build and Rachel has started using intraLibrary to store and disseminate CLA material on a pilot basis.

The most recent plate JISC have thrown our way, of course, is the Bibliosight project which will almost certainly have an impact on the developing infrastructure beyond the specific deliverables of that project – our first meeting is on Monday 13th July for which there is a draft agenda on the project blog.

I just hope that we can keep all the plates spinning and don’t end up with a Greek wedding scenario!

Mashed Library UK 2009

Today is Mash Oop North! at the University of Huddersfield.

Mashed Library is a semi-unconference style event centred around the theme of data mash-ups in a library context (“bringing together interested people and doing interesting stuff with libraries and technology“). The first event took place at Birkbeck College in November 2008.

There is a blog at http://mashlib09.wordpress.com/

And a ning site http://mashedlibrary.ning.com/

Or follow the twitter tag #mashlib09

JorumOpen will use DSpace

I think it fair to say that intraLibrary being the platform behind Jorum was a factor in our institutional decision to use the platform at Leeds Met so as the #ukoer projects get underway including Unicycle of course, it is with considerable interest that I discover that Jorum plan to implement a customised DSpace repository apparently to run alongside intraLibrary.

The news came to my attention in an email on the OER-INST mailing list which said that the move was to ensure that Jorum scales up for global access. This I promptly tweeted (me being me) and received a couple of coy allusions from interested parties before a tweet from @JorumTeam informed me that “All OER content for #jorum will be served from DSpace. Content licensed under JEducationUK or JPlus will be served from Intralib.y“.  Aside from this tweet, I’m not sure if there’s been anything more official from Jorum yet and apologies if my immediate web 2.0 dissemination of information in a closed mailing list was in any way inappropriate.

As discussed in previous posts (eg.  This one), I am aware of one or two issues with facilitating Open Access via intraLibrary, though I am confident that we do indeed have suitable technology within the software to facilitate OA, in the form of RSS, SRU and OAI-PMH for example.  It may be there are other issues around scalability that I am unaware of and I’d be very interested to learn why and precisely how Jorum have decided to also utilise DSpace.

No doubt we’ll learn more in due course…

Netvibes aggregation of #ukoer blogs

Heather Williamson, JISC programme manager for the OER programme, has aggregated the blogs of institutional strand projects at http://www.netvibes.com/hwilliamson#oer-institutional_projects

Unicycle and BERLiN are also on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/unicycle_oer

http://twitter.com/Berlin_Project

Sorry if others are too, heven’t found you yet…