Over the past couple of months I’ve had a chance to hear updates from a number of repository software developers (at a Fedora training day, at DEV8D and on a number of blogs). Albeit slightly delayed by holidays, here’s a bit of a snapshot of where ePrints, DSpace, Fedora, Microsoft’s repository are at. There’s a lot more information about Fedora than the others as I’ve heard a couple of updates from them. The usual caveat that I may have misunderstood what some of these are or how developed they are should apply. Much of this development is building up to releases at Open Repositories 2009.
(in the process of writing I’ve noted that indepth coverage of most of the Fedora items can be found on the fedora Hatcheck newsletter blog: http://www.fedora-commons.org/resources/newsletter.php )
- A new version of the rest api has been developed by the Fedora community
- An updated Muradora front end.
“The Muradora project aims to develop a web front-end for Fedora repository and to re-factor Fedora authentication and authorization into pluggable middleware components.” Some of this security work is likely to become part of fedora proper
- Islandora - new drupal based front end
- An update of the fedora GSearch service plugin ( full text indexing) http://expertvoices.nsdl.org/hatcheck/2008/02/27/fedora-gsearch-20-release-takes-advantage-of-lucene/
- Plug-ins for popular applications are under development (wikis, zotero, MSWord)
- improve out of box administrative gui - move towards a web-based gui
- improved api for backend storage (akubra api)
- This is linked to discussions with DSPACE, ePrints on a common storage abstraction to develop a
- Pluggable storage sub-system integration.
- Support for SWORD 1.3
Longer term developments
- Work on webdav – to lower ingest barriers by supporting drap and drop
- More enhanced content models
- Active Fedora (based on/ similar to active record in Ruby
- Hydra – working towards an out of the box Fedora to support faculty create/store object directly; longer term support for more complex arrays of digital objects. http://www.fedora-commons.org/confluence/display/hydra/The+Hydra+Project
duraspace: DSpace and Fedora collaboration
Moving to sharable module development – the initial project will be the development of storage module. The investigation of possible durable storage service layer (broker) offering: pluggable storage, ‘Cloud’ storage, ‘interCloud’- university offered storage services
Jim Downing presenting an update on DSpace at Dev8D but (afaik) most of what he presented either realted to the work on duraspace mentioned above or is now part of the new 1.5.2 DSpace release. The details of this release have been summarized by Stuart Lewis’s blog post http://blog.stuartlewis.com/2009/04/15/dspace-152-whats-
in-it-for-me/. A few of the new things from his highlights are:
- Support for SWORD 1.3
- “Shibboleth support has been added.”
- More refined ldap integration options
- support for uketd_dc and exposing it via OAI-PMH (out of the box)
- export tools have been improved
ePrints is now around 10 yrs old and despite close ties to the Open Access movement, ePrints is also developing support for the gamut of institutional processes. In particular, it’s developing greater support for statistics, research management, and better desktop integration.
ePrints are planning to have beta version of ePrints 3.2 by or09 . Key updates planned for this release:
- metadata values can now be resolvable references not just literals.
- extendable data types - will support CERIF (Common European Research Information Format) out of the box.
- integration of work of IrStats project - stats and citations improvements to system.
- Support for a tiered storage layer plugin. http://repositoryman.blogspot.com/2009/02/cloud-researcher-and-repository.html
Edit: a fuller list of updates in this release is available http://wiki.eprints.org/w/New_Features_Proposed_for_EPrints_3.2
Microsoft Research’s team working on repositories and scholarly communications have produced a number of free tools based on Microsoft products (http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/tc/scholarly_communication.mspx). I’ve talked about the Creative Commons plugin before but they’ve also developed beta versions of an ejournal service, a document conversion service, an onotlogy plugin for word, a research information centre (with the British Library), they’ve worked with the ePrints to develop a windows-based version of ePrints, and a research repository.
Version 1 of the research repository is going to be formally released at workshop at OR2009 (https://or09.library.gatech.edu/workshops.php). Work on related tools for the desktop and mobile devices is planned after this launch.
The debate about free / somewhat open tools built on commercial products is a separate issue but it’s worth remembering that most insititutions are going to have and support all the required comercial software anyway - irrespective of what the repository software they consider (I’ll come back to this in another post).
Microsoft also have released some of their development tools to education. In an initiative called dreamspark users can download full versions of Microsoft development software under an academic license. Computer Science departments have had this sort of deal for a while but the two good things about this are: it’s open to any student/ academic and it’s no longer a ‘mediated’ rather it uses shibboleth and your own institutional login to verify status.