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Integrating Repository Function with Work Practice

Posts Tagged ‘repository’

The Sharing Vision

Posted by Dawn on March 23, 2009

Prompted by the visit to Belfast we decided it would be a good idea to formally examine our (Leeds met) sharing philosophy regarding LOs. As this hasn’t been previously represented I also thought it might be a good idea to model pre and post sharing with regard to the repository. Again I have fallen back on adapting UML case studies to visualise these processes. Generally these are read from top to bottom connections show potential decision points, where either, both or none of the following process may be undertaken. Actors represent roles or systems playing a role within a process.


To facilitate this development I cornered our repository officer Nick Sheppard and did a short interview. I doubt there will be time to do a full transcription of this but it did give me some insight into past and future aspirations for the repository and the workflows surrounding it. I’m uploading three of the four intended workflows now, in case time runs away, with evaluations are my top of my agenda at the moment.


Pre-repository shows some learning content being packaged as a learning object using such applications as Course Genie and eCat. Similar to Belfast theses were often used within the VLE. The predominant process was the creation of content and storage on personal or shared drives. Conversations between colleagues were the main driving force for sharing; this resulted in direct hard drive access for the resource, link sharing or a hard copy being reciprocated, depending on the nature of the content and storage facilitated by the tutor.


The current state of affairs, extracted from the conversation with Nick, again has some strong links with Belfast. As we are still discussing the various issues regarding general public release of Leeds Met learning objects, all current upload and potentially any search and download, request go through the repository officer. The repository is as yet not ready for general institution-wide access, with only small pockets currently populating it under Nick’s guidance. One of the most difficult tasks regarding this filtration through one team is the back and forth communication required to gain complete metadata particularly. This is particularly prevalent when checking the copyright of repurposed learning objects.


The vision is to enable individuals to upload and download from the repository as part of their natural content development process. To enable this, the repository needs to be accessed from what ever personal work point an individual chooses to use. This is my simplistic version of this vision with and emphases on as few and seamless connections to as many interfaces as possible. I’m sure others including Nick will add to and comment on this to give it a more robust appearance.


The final and missing diagram, I’m currently extracting form Nicks interview, tries to capture the perceived next step…..

Posted in General, Personal space, Repositories, Search | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Visit from intraLibrary

Posted by Dawn on November 27, 2008

I spent most of today with Nick and Peter from Interlect resolving some of the issues with the repository. The discussion revolved around getting intraLibrary to do what we want in terms of learning objects (LOs). I haven’t had a great deal of time previously to play with the system and it was a good opportunity to sort out some of the complexities surrounding collections and application profiles and their relations to various elements with in the system.

There was some initial discussion with Wendy and Jill about the difference between LOs and research papers. While it is the aim of the repository project to develop an open access platform and community for research papers this is not necessarily the case with LOs. There is concern among staff about making LOs public. This has been highlighted by Nick and other repository developments . For now the general consensus is to proved access only within LeedMet and via a different interface to that used by the research outputs. Ideally we would like to link up to the research interface and at the very least allow access to LOs metadata. This will then enable interested parties to contact staff in to arrange access to objects on a one to one base.

Further to Nick’s post about the components and structure of intraLibrary I came up with the following diagram as an idea to understanding these relationships.

IntraLibrary concepts

IntraLibrary concepts

As Peter noted in our discussions it is the group that is essential to the process and defining an individual’s role and permissions within that group. I suspect a will amend my view of these elements as I continue to organise the repository and my understanding grows.

Another thing we discussed at great length was IP and LOM Right section. As a mentioned earlier I have included Rights in the mandatory minimal set of metadata for LOs in the repository. Peter suggested this what not a good thing. He suggested that this should be added later by a cataloger. I thought it would be very hard for anyone to trace Rights on a LO that has minimal information, hence leaving it up to the depositor. Peter then suggested using a Usage agreement that depositors need to agree to and a take down policy. This puts the onus on the depositor to check their content and then a standard Rights policy can be applied. Special cases will have to go through a more manual process.

Other Issues:

  • Authentication is still a big issue and realistically Peter suspected it could take up till March to resolve. This left us with the decision to manually setup user accounts for LO depositors.
  • There are still some CSS issues in Internet Explore particularly in the upload process and personal preferences. A more recent IntraLibrary build should sort this out and we have been promised to have this done by the end of next weekish!
  • IMS packages produced by the replica project have problems with viewing and metadata extraction. Hopefully peter has solved this one via a setting in the admin section. Unfortunately what ever we did crashed Interlibrary for a couple of our so we didn’t get round to testing it at the time. Job for first thing on Monday I suspect.
  • As mention previously I am currently unable to upload a single XML metadata file to associate it with content in the repository. This is essential for use with the generator we have devised.

Posted in General, Reflections, Repositories | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Search method proposals

Posted by Dawn on September 18, 2008

Mark and I meet earlier this month to discuss where we wanted to go regarding the search prototype. We decided that we would utilise the work already done by Mike on the SRU interface for the research aspects of the repository. This would provide us with an Input Interface for querying the repository.

Mark would come up with some ingenious methods of extending the basic search process. These will incorporate Elizabeth’s ideas about bookshelf browsing without relying on the latent semantic analysis (LSA) she is developing. The LSA current version is reliant on libraries not compatible with a web based apps and will take some time to translate. In the meantime we can put something together that gives the visual impression for testing with users.

The output from this would then be displayed in some visually interesting way, see interface designs here, possibly using PHP, JavaScript, Java servlets or the Google web toolkit. This is the bit I have together put together, after exploring potential technologies.

Today I received four ideas for the processing element form Mark. For those of you not so techy 😉 I have done a few diagrams to give you a better idea.

Method 1 – simple extension
Submit multiple searches, by getting search info. Then creating alternative versions using thesaurus. Rather than doing a single search do multiple searches using this information then produce results as a visualisation.

Method 2 – Iterative result reuse
Getting initial results from a search, extract keywords (or other metadata) of returned document, then use this to find related documents. Extracted keywords and those found in second pass should be standardised using thesaurus. For each set of search results, submit new search, then follow same process recursively (obviously removing common returned elements). Each iteration should result in documents less related to initial document.

Method 3 – Collaborative search via profile matching
Identify all searches performed by a user in a particular session i.e. build a profile of a particular users searches. X-reference this to searches performed by other users in a particular session. Identify different searches are commonly used within the same sessions. This should give a list of related articles that may be of interest to users who search for the dame type of things (even if the keywords, content or metadata of the documents is completely unrelated). The more sessions that a set of related searches are performed, the more likelihood that they are related in some way.

Method 4 – Collaborative search via document matching

Anytime a search is done cache the returned documents. When new searches are done get a returned resource and find all caches that also contain that document, then return the contents of each cache as secondary results. Again this could be done recursively.

Posted in General, Repositories, Search | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

InrtaLibray training day

Posted by Dawn on June 19, 2008

The first training/design session with IntraLibrary was held today. The morning was a general overview the system and an opportunity to play around with the new version. The afternoon was spent in discussion with Nick and his team on what was need to get this all up and running.

Their new version 3.0 (Beta) has had a complete interface re-vamp and I wasn’t overly impressed. In my repository report I mentioned that the icons and interface for IntraLibrary was one of the things that I felt made it stand out from the rest. The general ideas have been retained in the new version but the icons are less prominent as they have opted for much softer graphics. One thing they have removed, which I suggested they put back, was the inline help from the question mark icon. For a none-novice user this is very handy, at least I thought so, as it assisted in clarify what you suspected certain areas and functions were for. Much faster than having to go through the full help list. They have also made the help icon almost invisible. I asked a fellow participant if they could find it and it took them over half a minuet which is not good.

The afternoon session was with Nick’s development team, Jill and myself. During this we discussed the types of workflow required for both learning objects (LOs) and research outputs; security and authentication; taxonomy creation and how this related to LOs and research. One of the main issues to come out of this was the need for an external (available on the public web) search and result pages. These need to be developed in house. Another university (I forget which) has already developed and released (open source) a solution to this problem. We also discussed the possible integration with Sword, a client side depositing application which is currently being developed.

All in all it was an interesting day and while I’m sad to loose the old interface IntraLibrary’s functionality is still more adaptable than the rest. There will be another two training/development days which I hope to attend and Peter (chap from IntraLibrary) said he would get the API’s to me ASAP so we can start looking at integrating the ideas developed in Streamline.

Posted in Events, General, Reflections, Repositories | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Wikipatterns – the book

Posted by Dawn on April 17, 2008

Earlier I mentioned I had purchased a pair of books and commented on the first, Tagging. I have finely got round to reading the second, Wikipatterns. This is proving just as interesting and if you are at all interested in Wikis I whole heartedly suggest reading it. At the very least check out the accompany website. So what’s got me all excited? There are a whole bunch of case studies demonstrating the different things a wiki can be used for and how various organisations have gone about rolling it out. This links to the core of the book which is concerned with those things that discourage and encourage people/groups etc, to take up wikis. These are not only interesting from the perspective of wiki deployment but some can also be applied to the more general deployment of new applications.


For example a simple pattern suggested to encourage wiki use is the Intentional Error.  By putting errors within wiki content it encourages people to edit the wiki. This starts to break down the reservations and fears people have about participating.


So why is this relevant to us? I think there’s two points I want two make here. First we are also, either within Streamline or other projects; trying to engage people in a new technology, so some of the patterns may be of use. Secondly and I think more importantly, the idea of patterns itself is a neat why of passing on experience to others. During the development of a use case for Stuarts scenarios I suggested that that was a good foundation for developing guidelines as a project output.. Maybe we can produce patterns for LO and repository uptake. This would also be useful for PERSoNA and the Repository projects.


Posted in General | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Which repository?

Posted by Nick on February 14, 2008

As you know, during the past month or so we have seen several demonstrations of software that could be used to implement our institutional repository and as the project officer, I have been grateful for the valuable input from the Streamline project team.

We have looked at a range of products with slightly different emphases and, as is the way of things, all of the systems have positives and negatives.

At one end there is the specialised IR software that is tailored to the needs of the research community (Digital Commons, EPrints, Open Repository) , then we have the more generalised repository software that, perhaps, would be better suited to archiving (for example) digital images of heritage collections (IntraLibrary, Digitool) and then there is the ultra-sophisticated digital repository system from Harvest Road that as I understand it, in its fully fledged form, could be used to manage all of the University’s digital information across all its disparate systems.

Without giving too much away here – and a decision really won’t be taken until we sit down with the Project Consultancy Team on 11th March – I would personally favour a system that can be implemented fairly quickly and that will help me promote the principles of Open Access and self-archiving to the research community.


Posted in Repositories | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »