Archive for the ‘Event Blogs’ Category

Pablo De Castro on the SONEX Work Group

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

SONEX (Scholarly Output Notification & Exchange) is an initiative supported by JISC. Its main aim was to identify and analyse deposit opportunities (use cases) for the ingest of research papers into the research space.

Comparing SONEX and approaches to interoperability

SONEX Work Group

Similarities include: international in scope; building on existing projects/systems. Main differences are: the pragmatic approach of SONEX by characterising an environment for running projects working on repository interoperability and it has a narrow scope: IR-based plus various deposit-driving stakeholders (publishers, CRIS, etc), whereas has a theoretical foundation and a wide scope in that it is characterising Digital Library Management Systems from the perspective of DL end-users, designers, administrators and developers.

Some questions on research data management

  • Are IRs a proper target for research data deposit?
  • Could Sword deal with data transfer?
  • Available workforce for dealing with data management: is it big enough? Trained enough?
  • Research data file sizes: should deposit by reference be considered instead/besides binary data transfer?
  • At what point along the publication life-cycle should dataset deposit take place?

Current SONEX texts

  • Widening deposit use-case analysis in cooperation with selected projects at JISC Deposit call: further use-case scenarios, more digital object types (beyond research papers – Sword v2)
  • Analysis on research data management from JISC MRD environment
  • Providing support to selected projects at JISC Deposit call
  • Gathering information on new & ongoing deposit-related projects and initiatives
  • Dissemination of initiative for potential international cooperation: OpenAIRE,

The talk is available on the dedicated web page.

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Giuseppina Vullo on Quality Interoperability Survey

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Some pointers on Quality:

Giuseppina Vullo

Quality is associated not only with each class of content or functionality but also with specific information objects or services. Quality is also the degree to which a DL conforms to a specific policy on the goal of a DL. The policy can cover very general guidelines to aspects that are highly technical. Quality is also applicable to either overall or single aspects of any products, services and processes, usually defined in relation to a set of guidelines and criteria. This is often implicit.

Sample of Policy survey participants

German Digital Library, Max-Planck DL, e-prints for Library and Information Science (E-LIS), Europeana,
E-Archivo: Institutional Repository of University Carlos III of Madrid, The European Library (TEL), DRIVER (D-NET) and The World Digital Library (WDL).

Survey focus

Formats, Format compliance checking tools (and results), Metadata standards, Metadata compliance checking tools (and results), Communication protocols, Communication protocol compliance checking tools (and results), Web guidelines/standards in the areas of accessibility, usability, multilingualism, Policies and legal obligations (eg for web standards or Reference Model) in addition to Multi-level guidelines and certifications, User satisfaction, Current interoperations, Quality interoperability and the Reference Model.


  • 60% of respondents have validation tools to check Information object format compliance (eg.Pdf/A Validator).
    80% have validation tools to check metadata format compliance (eg. DC Validator).
    50% have validation tools to check communication protocols compliance (OAI/PMH & DRIVER Validators).
  • 10% have very complete metadata; 60% complete metadata; 20% sufficiently complete and 10% incomplete metadata.

So what are the barriers to metadata creation?

  • Time
  • Accuracy
  • Missing, too complex or contradictory guidelines
  • Not having enough humans involved in the process
  • Not understanding its real value, reason and purpose
  • Review is required by qualified personnel

Most respondents see interoperability as mainly being technical in focus. Quality aspects are crucial for successful interoperability.

Connections to the Reference Model: some DLs are already using the RM for:

  • Design and operation of processes
  • Business and organisational models
  • Changes of institutional repositories
  • Revision of DL policies


  • It’s a metadata-centric world.
  • Role of guidelines (e.g. DRIVER, MINERVA, etc.), certifications (eg. DINI, Drambora) and validators
  • Different meanings of Quality and Interoperability: contexts and objectives
  • Lack of formalised and well-analysed policies
  • Need to be supported
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Hans Pfeiffenberger on Trust, Reliability & Quality

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Hans Pfeiffenberger on RidingtheWave

The building of scientific knowledge needs to be preserved for the long term, so it needs solid foundations. Today’s knowledge is conveyed through articles, papers and events, as well as datasets, which begs the question as to whether datasets can be less reliable than books and articles. Are there any sound reasons for treating them differently? An EC-commissioned report, Riding the Wave – How Europe can gain from the rising tide of scientific data (Oct 2010) writes that challenges related to trust that need overcoming include: How can we make informed judgements about whether certain data are authentic and can be trusted? How can we judge which repositories we can trust? How can appropriate access and use of resources be granted or controlled? On data publication and access, the Report states: How can data producers be rewarded for publishing data? How can we know who has deposited what data and who is re-using them – or who has the right to access data which are restricted in some way? How do we deal with the various ‘filters’ that different disciplines use when choosing and describing data? What about differences in these attitudes within disciplines, or from one time to another?

Sample of initiatives

The International Polar Year is a good example of generating significant amounts of data and of the issues at stake. Its mission is to take a data snapshot of the polar caps for re-use in decades to come bringing together 50.000 participants and 63 Nations with ca. 1 G€.

DataCite is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) registration agency for research data. DataCite is now considering to ask data repositories for some kind of certification (professional organization with some policy to permanently deliver on the technology promise). DataCite will foster global interoperability about a specific policy issue.

ICSU World Data System is about global interoperability on a number of policy issues long-term availability: handover of data in case of default would be so much more helpful, if DOIs were employed

  • Open Access
  • Makes things so much easier
  • What about endangered species, social science data?
  • Operates by accreditation, considers certification
  • Which certification?

The Situation Today

There are lots of data repositories today…

  • Most operate as projects, on a best effort basis
  • They are highly incompatible regarding, e.g. (access) protocols and formats supported, content qualities (QA, granularities, and so on), rights/licensing
  • Interoperability at a global scale is hard/impossible
  • Integration of data (don’t mix high/low quality data)
  • Trust about long term availability

Digital Data Library = a data repository with a policy.

Most important elements for the stability of the knowledge architecture of science:

  • Quality of each building block: quality assurance, encoding of quality indicators, provenance
  • Persistent availability, accessibility of each block: Handover / Mirroring and Persistent IDs
  • Checksums?

The talk is available on the dedicated web page.

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Giuseppina Vullo on Policy Interoperability Survey

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Some pointers to start with:

Engaged participants

Policy permeates the digital library from conceptualisation through to operation, so it needs to be represented at these various levels. A achievement has been shedding light on what is unexplored territory at global organisational (rather than only technical) level & interdisciplinary research. Two points to bear in mind:

  1. Lack of policy formalisation and representation methods in current DLs
  2. Time dimension: Handling policy drift over time.

Survey focus

Evaluate policies, strategies, frameworks, programmes, plans, or statements that have been prepared to guide how to develop and exploit aspects of their digital library/digital repository’s information management, exchanging experiences with Open Access Repository community in Europe, including EU initiatives, and in the U.S. The survey focus highlights a number of issues that are shared by experts in both Working Groups on Policy and Quality.

Sample of respondents – showcasing excellence

California Digital Library (CDL) – Calisphere; Data Archiving & Networked Services (DANS – Netherlands); DRIVER; ELis; Europeana; Liber Liber; Nemertes; National Science Digital Library (NSDL);
Padua@Research; UK Data Archive; University of Chicago Digital Repository; USGS Digital Library.


Questions focused on Access, Preservation, Metadata, Networks, Collection development, Intellectual property, Authentication, Service level agreements.

Most of the organisations have a written strategy or plan, either as part of a library strategic plan or as independent entity within their organisation. Existing policies have been amended and matched to the policies of other organisations with regard to policy exchange and reuse only in the areas of Preservation, Access, Collection Development and Metadata. All respondents indicated an interest or need to interoperate with peer and smaller/larger organisations, both in the public and private sector. But interestingly few
written policies have been stated as available to regulate this interaction.

Issues to be addressed

  • Lack of policy formalisation & representation.
  • Limited formal specifications are supported, e.g. for network management, security and privacy.
  • Some technical interoperability of policy is possible, but only for very specific and technical cases (e.g.access control via Shibboleth).

Looking ahead
It might make more sense to talk about a “future” status as opposed to ‘solutions’ for policy interoperability.
Active areas for policy interoperability are related to access, authentication and licensing policies. Research should focus on human-machine interaction, e.g. how licensing policy interoperability might be achieved automatically in the near future. Making policies machine-readable would make them easier to manage.

The talk is available on the dedicated web page.

The talk is available on the dedicated workshop page on the website.

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Leonardo Candela on the Cookbook

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Leonardo Candela on the Cookbook

Leonardo Candela explored the approach to interoperability with a focus on the Technology & Methodology Cookbook. The Cookbook has been designed to provide a comprehensive, pragmatic approach to overcome the lack of systematic approaches and ensure stakeholders don’t re-invent the wheel. The Cookbook is scoped to provide a portfolio of best practices and pattern solutions for common issues associated with the development of large-scale interoperable Digital Library systems.”Patterns” are understood as standard, well-recognised or proven solutions to development challenges. The talk offered a sample of current solutions and related standards across the six main concepts: content, functionality, user, policy, quality and architecture.

The talk also highlighted some of the major challenges associated with interoperability, citing experts on the topic:

  • G. Anthes (May 2010), schema mapping, converting data from one format to another, is particularly hard – the “unsolved problem” of querying geographically distributed databases”.
  • Our own expert, Yannis Ioannidis (professor at the University of Athens) believes interoperability is very difficult to achieve, calling it “a dirty but critcal” job, that is “complex but fun” and that must be solved at least approximately.

The talk is available on the dedicated workshop page on the website.

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Vittore Casarosa on the Reference Model

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

The British Academy

Digital Libraries should enable any citizen, anywhere, anytime to access knowledge in multi-modal format, thus breaking down barriers of distance, language and culture. Digital libraries have the potential to become universal knowledge repositories, combining content and services. To support the development of Digital Libraries as effectively as possible, the DELOS Network of Excellence provided a Reference Model based on a small number of underlying concepts characterising a Digital Library. This Reference Model has been taken forward by DL.orgto enhance and consolidate it with the support of international experts. This expert investigation has focused on the main DL concepts captured in the Model: content, functionality, user, policy, quality and architecture, which were summarised during this talk, which also took a look at all the professionals involved in developing and enhancing a DL.
A key message for the audience is that DLs are among the most complex and advanced types of information systems, which poses a number of research challenges in order to arrive at interoperable systems. A clear architectural framework for the Digital Library System provides a solid foundation to address the complexity on the one hand and interoperability challenges on the other.
The talk Vittore Casarosa is available on the dedicated workshop page on the website.

Bookmark and Share London Workshop off to a great start

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Seamus Ross

The Workshop on Digital Libraries & Open Access. Interoperability Strategies at the British Academy in London kicked off with a welcome to the DL statekholder community in attendance this morning. Dr Seamus Ross, Dean and Professor at the Faculty of Informatics, University of Toronto thanked the attendants for their support of the event, outlining the main goals of the event. He outlined the main focus of the project, now drawing to an end, in terms of the main outputs presented at the Academy: the Digital Library Reference Model and Technology and Methodology Cookbook. These outputs have drawn on the experiences and knowledge  of representatives flanked by an international team of experts on domains spanning content, functionality, user, policy, quality and architecture. Several experts are in atendance to offer their insights and how collaborative work has helped shape the main project outputs.

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Students hail Autumn School a huge success

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Students & Lecturers at the Autumn School

Feedback collected from the participants of the Autumn school, which ran 3-8 October 2010 in Athens, underscores the different levels of quality of the event, from the lecturers, background material, expectations, and addressing the main topic to organisational aspects. All participants are interested in attending similar events in the future and almost everyone felt that the cost is acceptable. Here is how the Autumn School faired out of a total score of 5: speaker effectiveness: 4.41; structure of the event: 4.5; value of background documentation: 4.45; organization: 4.83 and addressing the main topic: 4.58. Autumn School

Views from Librarians & Library Managers at the School

The competence of trainers, good explanations of the field are the two things I liked best about the Autumn School. The wide view of DL’s and requirements that have to be discussed for interoperability is my take-home message.”

The topics for the user domain and architecture domain are my favourite workshop features.”

The expertise of the speakers is what impressed me most. I take home general knowledge about the requirements needed.”

I take away with me a method, a complete list of points to take in count, some sites or applications on which I’d like to find more information after the School.”

I liked the part of the practical hands-on exercises, as well as the part where various researchers presented the steps that they are undertaking such as the DRIVER project. The Autumn School was very helpful in understanding matters that are related to the implementation of a digital library, especially the ones that are related with the matter of interoperability.”

Collaboration by working on problem solving solutions, the participation of the speakers during the lessons and presentations scenarios based on real-life cases is what I liked best. Additional practices solutions and best methods in order to organize or reorganize digital libraries and repositories is what I am taking away with me.”

What I liked most was the D4Science demo, bringing a different perspective. For me the main take-away is new knowledge on conceptualisation and generalisation of DL model, as well as interoperability guidelines.”

I really liked the extensive and thorough presentation of all aspects of Digital Libraries, Digital Library Systems and Digital Library Management Systems. I take back with me new know-how on the Reference Model and the Cookbook.”

Views from DL Designers, Software Developers, Technology Coordinators & Project Managers

I most liked the user interactive study approach of Prof. Yannis Ioannidis. I take away with me the systematization of DL research.”

Perfect organisation, good lecturers, interesting topics, and team working exercises are the best things about the Autumn School. I take away some best practices about DLs and interoperability.”

Meeting nice people, the social dinner, and an informative well-structured series of lectures are what I liked best. A better understanding of DL interoperability issues and some general knowledge of the Reference Model is what I am taking away with me.”

The organisation into the various fundamental “domains”, how they have been treated and explained to us, so as to understand the essential importance and role of each of them to achieve interoperability is what I liked best. Useful theoretical as well as practical references to promote some Digital Libraries ideas for future projects in the Organisation is what I am take back with me.”

Many thanks to all the participants, lecturers, hosts and supporters! We hope to interact with you in the future.

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Interoperability Challenges: one perspective

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

One perspective on interoperability at the Autumn School, 3-8 October 2010 in Athens identifies seven issues.

1. Process – what is the boundary between static content, representations, linkages?

2. Authenticity – how do we (people and machines) know “it” is authentic?

3. Quality – how do we measure quality? Does quality change over time?

4. Change over time – how do we create a “dynamic interoperability” framework?

5. Policy – how do we reconcile policies in a contemporary context? How do we handle policy draft?

6. Legal – how can we address issues related to legal aspects?

7. Preservation – how can we preserve interoperability potentiality? What do we preserve? Autumn School Attendees addresses the interoperability challenge from diverse perspectives: content, functionality, user, policy, quality and architecture, investigating the current landscape, pinpointing best practices, evaluating proposed solutions and assisting the library and research community in understanding why interoperability is important and how it can be achieved.

Other perspectives on interoperability were presented at the Autumn School. is proposing best practices and interoperability solutions in its DL Technology and Methodology Cookbook.

Participants at the Autumn School gaining insights into Digital Library & Digital Repository Interoperability.

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Seamus Ross on Digital Libraries

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

“A Digital Library is the infrastructure, policies and procedures, and organisational, political and economic mechanisms necessary to enable access to and preservation of digital content”.

Source: Ross, S. Digital Library Development Review. Final Report, National Library of New Zealand, July 2003.

Defining a Digital Library

Defining a Digital Library, or DL, and the concepts that characterise it marks an important step not only towards modelling but also approaching interoperability, a complex, multi-layered and context-specific concept, which encompasses different levels along a multi-dimensional spectrum ranging from organisational to technological aspects. Herein lies the focus of the Autumn School dedicated to Digital Libraries & Digital Repositories: Modelling, Best Practices and Interoperability, running 3-8 October in Athens. The event aims to deliver insights into Digital Library and Digital Repositories, shining the spotlight on interoperability challenges and the core concepts for DLs captured in the DELOS Reference Model, which is being taken forward by These six core concepts are: content, functionality, user, policy, quality and architecture.

Seamus Ross, Dean of the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, one of the Autumn School experts, is pictured above.

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