EasyDeposit – the SWORD client creation toolkit
June 4, 2010 4 Comments
One of the reasons that SWORD has not been more widely adopted, I think, is due to technical barriers for repository managers, so I was very excited when Stuart Lewis released EasyDeposit, an open source SWORD client creation toolkit – http://easydeposit.swordapp.org/.
I’ve had a few problems installing EasyDeposit due to institutional server configuration but Stuart has very kindly set up a test install for me to play with as well as pointing me towards another working configuration of EasyDeposit that collects meta-data from the DOI which could be a Godsend for repository managers.
On logging in to the Administrative interface, the administrator can edit the welcome screen content, header, footer or CSS so I was able to add some (very basic) branding to the interface:
N.B. The Admin interface also allows you to Configure deposit steps with a variety of options that I found slightly mind-boggling!
The first step is to Connect to a Repository. EasyDeposit is pre-configured with SWORD service document URLs for test installs of all the major SWORD enabled repository systems – DSpace, EPrints, Fedora and intraLibrary (see http://www.swordapp.org/sword/demonstrators); the user is also able to enter an alternative service document URL for their own repository:
Thus armed with a valid service document and an active repository account, the user is ready to begin a deposit. At least in theory but I should have known that it wouldn’t be so easy after all and it turned out that I was unable to deposit to intraLibrary because EasyDeposit only currently supports METS containing SWAP/Dublin core (supported by DSpace / EPrints / Fedora) whereas intraLibrary only supports IMSCP – more on this later.
I’m not yet able to test with my own repository then but manfully swallowed my disappointment and set up an account with the DSpace SWORD 1.3 Demo installation and connected successfully to the repository at http://dspace.swordapp.org/jspui whereupon I was asked to Select a Collection (available collections will depend on how a particular repository is configured of course):
I chose to deposit into the Research Materials collection and was presented with a form to Describe my Item with basic metadata (Title, Author(s), Abstract, Type of Item, Peer reviewed, Bibliographic citation, Existing URL):
Next I choose up to 5 files from my local hard-drive:
Then I Verify the information before clicking to indicate that I understand and agree and to Deposit:
And finally I am presented with confirmation of my deposit and a URL handle (which doesn’t actually link and throws an error, not sure why – perhaps related to the test installation?). I was, however, able to find my deposit in the DSpace test installation:
EasyDeposit is a fantastic tool; Stuart has developed a user-friendly, web-based SWORD client that is a great starting point for repository managers. With a little bit of technical know-how it should also be fairly straightforward to customise; like Open Search, it’s written in PHP so Mike should be able to adapt it to our specific requirements.
(For those that are interested, there is another great demo implementation at http://easydeposit.swordapp.org/example/doi/ that automatically populates metadata from a DOI (the stuff that dreams are made of!)
Customisation for our specific requirements isn’t by any means trivial, however, not least because intraLibrary is based on IEEE LOM metadata and does not support METS – only IMSCP – and Stuart has suggested that he may need to add a basic IMSCP packager to the core PHP SWORD library in order to facilitate deposit to intraLibrary…unless we just use EasyDeposit to deposit pre-packaged IMSCP packages (file[s] + an imsmanifest.xml) rather than collect files/metadata and make a package from them…
In addition, we are using intraLibrary to manage both research material and Learning Objects/Open Educational Resources with each type of resource utilising quite different Application Profiles. Our first priority is actually likely to be Learning Objects rather than research material (we are currently working with two partner institutions on a project to discover and deposit resources into multiple repositories- see http://acerep.wordpress.com/; it’s early days but I always knew that metadata was likely to be a stumbling block – especially given that the three institutions all use different repository platforms – all are using commercial LO platforms rather than Fedoro/EPrints/DSpace). In this case I would think that we may want to deposit pre-packaged IMSCP packages rather than requiring the deposit tool to create packages from metadata and files (though whether this will actually work depends on the functionality of the other institutions’ software – yet to be established!)
Having said that, I am keen to implement a web-based SWORD deposit for research material and also, perhaps, electronic theses which was one of the initial drivers for EasyDeposit; a system that allowed theses to be deposited but without users having to know what a repository is, or how to use one, and would not require thousands of accounts left in a repository that deposited a single thesis then left the institution (all the deposits can be performed with a single username and password).