Posts Tagged ‘interoperability’ Tutorial on Digital Libraries Foundation and Interoperability

Monday, February 21st, 2011 Tutorial at ESWC2011 announces the Tutorial on Digital Libraries: Foundations & Interoperability during the Extended Semantic Web Conference, 29 May – 2 June 2011, Heraklion, Greece. The half-day Tutorial focuses on the Reference Model, a conceptual framework for Digital Libraries, coupled with real-world examples and a hands-on session. The aim of this tutorial is to introduce the audience to the state-of the art in Digital Libraries documenting the significant effort towards building a common language to express key issues surrounding interoperability.
The tutorial covers the core concepts characterising Digital Libraries: content, functionality, user, policy, quality and architecture. The tutorial features a rich mix of presentations, interactive discussion, demos and hands-on with comprehensive examples of existing systems that apply semantic technologies to help exemplify abstract concepts. Participants will come away with a conceptual framework and new knowledge on’s approach to Digital Library Interoperability, Best Practices and Modelling Foundations enhancing their research and professional practices.  To ensure maximum impact, will provide tutorial attendees with a Virtual Reading List and pointers well ahead of the event.

  • Yannis Ioannidis, University of Athens
  • Donatella Castelli, Institute of Information Science & Technologies, National Research Council of Italy
  • Leonardo Candela, Institute of Information Science & Technologies, National Research Council of Italy
  • Katerina El Raheb, University of Athens

Target Audience
The tutorial is designed for researchers and practitioners dealing with different aspects of semantic technologies, specifically Information Scientists, PhD candidates, Engineers, Digital Library Designers and Administrators, as well as Digital Libraries Managers, Librarians and Information Scientists attending ESWC 2011.

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Peter Burnhill on Open Access in the UK

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Peter Burnhill

“A scholar’s positive contribution is measured by the sum of the original data that he contributes. Hypotheses come and go but data remain.”
in Advice to a Young Investigator (1897) Santiago Ramón y Cajal (Nobel Prize winner, 1906)

2 traditions/mentalities co-exist in Information Science:

  1. Document tradition: signifying record-ness
  2. Computational tradition: various uses of formal technique

There are non-convergent mentalities working to build the ‘digital library’: modernisation of library services  and infrastructure to access complex databases.

Emergence of Digital Library: Information Science
“Approaches based on a concern with documents, with signifying records: archives, bibliography, documentation, librarianship, records management, and so forth
“approaches based on uses for formal techniques, whether mechanical (such as punch cards and data-processing equipment) or mathematical (as in algorithmic procedures).”

Semantics of Open Repositories & Interoperability
R is for Repository

  • “university-based institutional repository is a set of services … for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution & its community members. … organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access … (C. Lynch, 2003)
  • Digital repository differs from other digital collections in that content is deposited, whether by content creator, owner or third party; architecture manages content as well as metadata; repository offers a minimum set of basic services; must be sustainable & trusted, well-supported & well-managed. Digital Repositories Review (R.Heery and S.Anderson, 2005)

O is for Open

  • OA (for publications) not the only ‘open’ policy:
  • OER: Open Educational Resources
  • Open means ‘not closed’: making teaching & learning materials visible
  • Open CourseWare – often as open stack of webpages
  • Open Data
  • Datasets tradition (IASSIST); ‘open/privilege access to databases; open
  • Open Source Software
  • OSS has its own way of doing things

Key questions

  • Are Repositories the (only) way to support an Open Agenda?
  • Is Open really what Repositories are for?
  • Is this usage just intended to help us avoid issues of IP and access management?

Should the focus be on:

  • Interoperability between Repositories?
  • Interoperability of Repositories with the wider Internet?

Interoperability Challenges & Strategies

  • Whose strategy, and towards what purpose?
  • ‘within & for the research & education sector’? Or beyond?
  • For the institution, the UK, EU, global anybody; for the researcher?
  • For the machine as user [“Provider/Consumer”]?

The talk is available on the dedicated web page.

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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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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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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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RFC Version of the Cookbook released

Thursday, October 14th, 2010 Cookbook - Request for Comment

The demand for powerful and rich Digital Libraries capable of supporting a  broad  variety of interdisciplinary activities and the pressing need to address the data deluge are intimately bound up with the increasing need for “building by re-use” and “sharing”. Interoperability plays a crucial role in responding to these needs. Despite efforts to address interoperability, current solutions are  still limited. The lack of a systematic approach on the one hand and scarce knowledge of  current solutions adopted on the other are among the main impediments to interoperability. What’s more, solutions are  all too often confined to the systems they have been designed for.

Chartered with addressing interoperability challenges, the project and its contributing experts have produced a Request for Comment  version of the Technology and Methodology Digital Library Cookbook. The Cookbook is aimed at collecting and describing a portfolio of best practices and pattern solutions to common challenges face when it comes to developing large-scale interoperable Digital Library systems.

This first Request for Comment (RFC) version of the Cookbook, which should not be considered neither authoritative nor final but rather as a “work in progress” with the aim of enhancing it through external feedback.

Contributing to the Cookbook
Requests for Comments regard both the Cookbook as a whole, as well as on any of its components by leveraging expertise outside the project. The Cookbook main components are:

  • Interoperability Levels&  Digital Libraries
  • Interoperability Model/Framework
  • Interoperability Model in Action
  • Best Practices for organisational, semantic and technical interoperability across six core DL concepts (content, functionality, user, policy, quality and architecture)
  • Interoperability Scenarios

Feedback on the Cookbook is requested until the end of November 2010 and should be sent to To provide feedback in the form of a blog posting, please contact Before sending feedback, we strongly advise you to read the terms and conditions.

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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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Expert View – Sarantos Kapidakis on interoperability, Policy & Quality

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Expert View - Sarantos Kapidakis

On Interoperability: Policy versus Quality

I am in the Quality Working group, and have found a close relation of our issues with policy:

  • The Policy expresses what the goal of a Digital Library is.
  • The policy can cover technical issues, like the maximum response time of a system.
  • The definition of a realistic policy is a very difficult task.

Quality is the degree that the DL conforms to the specified policy. So, quality serves  to measure the effective behaviour and to compare it with the desired behaviour of the DL. This makes quality and policy to be described using the same language: Quality is described be a pair of the current and the desired behaviour.

On Interoperability: Quality and Policy v.s. other issues
Quality (and policy) are not in parallel but intersect with other issues: There is content quality, functionality quality, architecture quality, etc, that is the other core domains characterising a Digital Library as captured by the DELOS Reference Model.*
Each individual quality could be examined in the examination of its own issue. For example content quality could be examined with content. And the total quality could deal with the combined quality, and the effects of the individual quality factors to the overall quality. For example, how the timeouts (from the system architecture – that make some of the results inaccessible) and the quality of the sources affects the quality of the resutls.
This overall quality is also a very difficult problem.

Sarantos Kapidakis, Professor of Informatics, Department of Archives & Library Services, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece

* The DELOS Digital Library Reference Model is informed by the expertise of the international DL research and scientific community working together in recent years through an initiative spearheaded by DELOS, an EC-funded Network of Excellence. The Reference Model is currently being taken forward by, which is addressing interoperability, reference modelling and best practices from a comprehensive and innovative approach encompassing the six concepts captured in the DELOS Reference Model: content, functionality, user, policy, quality and architecture. Current version of the Reference Model. An further enhanced and consolidated Reference Model will be available this autumn.

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Expert View – Perla Innocenti on the European Interoperability Framework

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Expert View - Perla Innocenti

The views expressed by Antonella De Robbio also fit nicely with the three interoperability levels outlined in the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) for eGovernment Services (IDABC, 2004), which we have suggested for the Technology & Methodology Cookbook.*

Also good to read that:

A domain policy could be as a high-level container that specifies performance goals for work processed in resource and actors domains. The domain policy contains all different policies, at different level, organisational, technical and semantic.”

Perla Innocenti, Humanities Advanced Technology & Information Institute (HATII), University of Glasgow – Leader of the Policy Working Group.

* The Cookbook is an innovative artefact that collects and describes a portfolio of best practices, patterns and solutions to common issues faced when developing large-scale interoperable Digital Library Systems (DLSs). It proposes an interoperability model that can be used to characterise – in a systematic way – facets of interoperability challenges, as well as existing, forthcoming solutions and approaches so as to have a framework to select and assess them. A Request for Comment version will be available in late summer 2010. The final version will be informed by feedback from the Digital Library community and published in late 2010.

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Expert Views – Antonella De Robbio on A Digital Agenda for Europe

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Antonella De Robbio on A Digital Agenda for Europe

Expert View - Antonella De Robbio

I am reading the European Union’s document A Digital Agenda for Europe - COM(2010) 245 – Brussels, 19.05.2010 and I think that it could be useful for the Technology and Methodology Cookbook.*

Take a look at the Key Priority Areas in the Action Plan for the European Digital Agenda. The Agenda outlines seven priority areas for actions; the second one concerning “improving the framework conditions for interoperability between ICT products and services”.
This key priority foresees that it is essential to enhance interoperability between devices, applications, data repositories, services and networks inside a framework where the conditions for interoperability can be improved in various ways. One important means to that end is to ensure that good ICT standards are available and used, notably in public procurement and legislation.
The Digital Agenda also provides some examples:

  • Propose legal measures to reform the rules on implementation of ICT standards to allow the use of certain ICT fora and consortia standards. But the Commission will also address situations in which standards do not help because significant market players do not support them. A further aim is better coordination between public administrations through a new European Interoperability Strategy and Framework to ensure interoperability between eGovernment and other public services across Europe.”

The first priority is defined as “Single Market”, stressing the need to simplifying copyright clearance, management and licensing. In order to reply to this first priority, the Commission, by the end of 2010, will propose a Framework Directive on collective rights management to enhance the governance, transparency and pan European licensing for (online) rights management.
Another point of the Agenda (in the First priority) is make sure consumers are protected in cyberspace by issuing a digital code that summarises the rights of citizens in the online world in a clear and accessible way. Currently many consumers find it difficult to know what their digital rights are, especially when these are scattered across various complex legal documents. I think we have same problems with digital libraries. While this is far worse in the digital world, significant issues could also apply to digital libraries.
A domain policy could serve as a high-level container that specifies performance goals for work processed in resource and actors domains. The domain policy contains all different policies, at different levels, organisatiional, technical and semantic.
Recommendations for investigations:
Key Action 1: Simplify copyright clearance, management and cross-border licensing by:

  • Enhancing the governance, transparency and pan-European licensing for (online) rights management by proposing a framework Directive on collective rights management.
  • Creating a legal framework to facilitate the digitisation and dissemination of cultural works in Europe by proposing a Directive on orphan works, to conduct a dialogue with stakeholders with a view to further measures on out-of print works, complemented by rights information databases.
  • Reviewing the Directive on Re-Use of Public Sector Information, notably its scope and principles on charging for access and use.

Key Action 5: As part of the review of EU standardisation policy, propose legal measures on ICT interoperability to reform the rules on implementation of ICT standards in Europe to allow use of certain ICT fora and consortia standards

Antonella De Robbio, University Centre for Libraries of the Library System, University of Padua, Italy

Useful Links:

* The Cookbook is an innovative artefact that collects and describes a portfolio of best practices, patterns
and solutions to common issues faced when developing large-scale interoperable Digital Library Systems
(DLSs). It proposes an interoperability model that can be used to characterise – in a systematic way – facets
of interoperability challenges, as well as existing, forthcoming solutions and approaches so as to have a framework to select and assess them. A Request for Comment version will be available in late summer
2010. The final version will be informed by feedback from the Digital Library community and published in late 2010.

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