Archive for the ‘Repositories’ Category

As if by Magic …

Monday, March 15th, 2010 by Adrian Stevenson

‘Repositories and the Cloud’ event, The Magic Circle, London, 23rd February 2010

Last year I was asked to join the organising committee for the Eduserv JISC ‘Repositories in the Cloud‘ event that was held at the fantastic Magic Circle venue near Euston Station. The sell out day was a great success, the speakers giving an excellent overview of the current state of the art for cloud computing applications in the area of repository storage in particular. ‘Compute’ in the cloud was also discussed as one of main benefits of cloud technology in helping to reduce bandwidth by placing the compute next to the storage.

It was clear from the event that it’s still quite early days in the use of cloud technologies for repositories, and many have the usual concerns based around the security, control and licensing of the data that you often hear for cloud storage in general. The idea of going for a hybrid approach sounded like a sensible option, where you may keep critical and important data on your own servers, and use the cloud for less critical data, or perhaps use it more as a backup service.

Video recordings of the presentations by Michele Kimpton, CBO DuraSpace, ‘DuraCloud – Open technologies and services for managing durable data in the cloud’, Alex Wade, Director Scholarly Communication, Microsoft Research, ‘Cloud Services for Repositories’, and Les Carr, EPrints, University of Southampton, ‘EPrints Cloud Visions’ are now available on the Eduserv event page.

I caught up with most of the speakers, and a number of the attendees for some quick video reactions, thoughts and commentary. These are available on the event page and I’ve included them here:

Standards, Profiles, Interoperability – Some Notes from the Front

Monday, January 11th, 2010 by Adrian Stevenson

Sword logoTomorrow I’ll be attending the CETIS ‘Future of Interoperability Standards Meeting‘ in Bolton on behalf of the SWORD project that I manage as part of my role at UKOLN. Invitees have been to asked to provide a position paper that “… should focus on thoughts or opinions on the experience of developing both formal and informal specifications and standards, working with standards bodies and potential ways forward to achieve interoperability“. This is quite a tricky one for me, as most of the work on the SWORD profile was done by the previous project manager, Julie Allinson in SWORD phase one, and our SWORD partner from the University of Cambridge, Jim Downing for phase two. I had hoped to get Jim along to this meeting, but it wasn’t possible, so I’ll be the main SWORD representative. Consequently, rather than go into the specifics, I’d thought I’d give a few observations from my experience managing the project, these necessarily being more general. Whether this constitutes a position paper, I’m not sure.

  • Go with the Web
    Mainstream is good. Even if it doesn’t seem to fit, it’s probably a good idea. SWORD went with the Atom Publishing Protocol. It was developed for blogs.
  • Do you really need to standardise?
    Maybe de-facto is good enough? Why waste time and effort? The DSpace, Fedora, EPrints, Microsoft Zentity and Intralibrary repositories all ship with SWORD in their current releases. Microsoft have adopted SWORD as their de-facto standard for deposit and have implemented it in their ‘Article Authoring Add-in for Word‘. ‘Nuff said.
  • Prove a point
    Develop some test implementations and demo clients. Show the thing works.
  • Be agile
    … and don’t be too prescriptive.
  • You can never be too simple
    Do one simple thing well. Don’t try to do everything. It’s got to be clear.
  • Get the message out
    Some say that the marketing is the most important thing.
  • Don’t just say it, do it
    Practice what you preach. You know the quote, there’s too many standards and specifications. Re-cycle. Be strong, don’t re-invent.
  • Allow for serendipity
    … and embrace it when it happens.
  • Don’t go it alone
    Get people on board. Bring people with you.
  • Having great developers makes life easier
    It means you can get things done.

Semantic Technologies: Which Way Now? – A UKOLN Response

Monday, January 11th, 2010 by Adrian Stevenson

Last December myself and Paul Walk were invited to give a UKOLN response to the presentations at the CETIS Semantic Technologies Working Group meeting in Glasgow. Paul couldn’t make it, so it was left to me to come up with a response on the spot. Zach Beauvais from Talis gave an introductory talk on Talis’ activities and Adam Cooper followed with a summary of the ‘Giant Global Graph‘ session from the recent CETIS conference.

I mentioned a new UKOLN project called ‘RepUK’ that will be providing a Linked Data interface to an aggregation of scholarly materials from a number of UK repositories using the Talis platform. I then outlined a few issues around Linked Data, as well as mentioning the new Manchester OpenData project. Following on from discussions at the CETIS conference, I highlighted the difficulty of convincing IT managers and VCs that providing Linked Data interfaces to institutional systems is a worthwhile venture. The slides below provide a pointer to the full range of issues I raised.

After lunch Thanassis Tiropanis gave us an overview of the SemTech Project roadmap and recommendations (pdf).  Following this there was a general discussion about the way ahead for the project, but I’m not sure there were any clear decisions from the day. Nevertheless, it was a useful day for myself and hopefully a productive one for CETIS in determining where to go next.

Linked Data and the Semantic Web: What Are They and Should I Care?

Monday, January 11th, 2010 by Adrian Stevenson

I gave this presentation on Linked Data and the Semantic Web at one of our UKOLN staff seminars last year on the 5th of November. It was well received, so I thought it was worth including here. I will be giving an updated version at a MIMAS developer meeting in Manchester on the 17th of February. The meeting is mainly for MIMAS staff, but it may be possible for other people to attend. Let me know if you’d like to come along.