Archive for July, 2008

Interview with Tony Hey, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s External Research Division

Posted in Cyberinfrastructure/E-Science, Digital Repositories on July 31st, 2008

Jon Udell's wide-ranging Perspectives interview with Tony Hey, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s External Research Division, is now available.

Copyright Alert: House Passes Higher Education Opportunity Act

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, P2P File Sharing on July 31st, 2008

The House passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which includes provisions that require higher education institutions to take steps to curb illegal file sharing.

On July 30, 2008, EDUCAUSE issued a letter about the revised copyright provisions of the bill.

Here's an excerpt from that letter:

Section 493 (also below) is the result of much tug-and-pull over the last few months. In the end, it will require every college and university to certify that it "(A) has developed plans to effectively combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including through the use of a variety of technology-based deterrents; and (B) will, to the extent practicable, offer alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property, as determined by the institution in consultation with the chief technology officer or other designated officer of the institution."

The language of (A) represents a weaker requirement on colleges than had been discussed in some previous proposals. In particular, the Report language makes clear (see below) that technological deterrents "include bandwidth shaping, traffic monitoring to identify the largest bandwidth users, a vigorous program of accepting and responding to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices, and a variety of commercial products designed to reduce or block illegal file sharing." Further, the Report states that the bill is to be considered technology neutral. It should be up to the institution to determine its policy and corresponding technology, which can include policies that prohibit the monitoring of content.

The language of (B) is stronger than in the previous version, in that it requires that institutions certify that they "will . . . offer alternatives" instead of simply requiring plans for them. There is considerable flexibility, however, in that the institutions must interpret the "to the extent practicable" qualifier in the context of their own situation. Moreover, access to legal alternative services may be accomplished in a growing number of ways, including institutionally provided on-campus services, providing links to a variety of commercial services, and other procedures, as indicated in the Report language. "The Conferees recognize that there is a broad range of possibilities that exist for institutions to consider in developing plans for purposes of complying with this Section."

Read more about it at "Congress Tackles the Higher Ed Act" and "EDUCAUSE Comments on the File Sharing Provisions in the HEA."

July/August NewSpace Newsletter from DSpace

Posted in Digital Repositories, DSpace, Institutional Repositories on July 30th, 2008

The DSpace Foundation has published the July/August NewSpace newsletter.

Major Upgrade: Fedora 3.0 Released

Posted in Digital Repositories, Fedora, Institutional Repositories on July 30th, 2008

Fedora Commons has released version 3.0 Fedora, which "completes all general release features."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Dan Davis, Chief Software Architect, Fedora Commons, explained, "We are pleased to offer a Fedora 3.0 that is a foundational step towards a model-driven content architecture." He went on to say, "Users will find it simpler to maintain and operate their repositories with version 3.0-it's more scalable and fits better into the Web."

Fedora 3.0 features the Content Model Architecture (CMA), an integrated structure for persisting and delivering the essential characteristics of digital objects in Fedora. The software is available at and at The Fedora CMA plays a central role in the Fedora architecture, in many ways forms the over-arching conceptual framework for future development of Fedora Repositories. Fedora 3.0 features include:

Overview of new Features in Fedora 3.0 Release

  • Content Model Architecture—Provides a model-driven approach for persisting and delivering the essential characteristics of digital content in Fedora
  • Fedora REST API—A new API that exposes a subset of the Access and Management API using a RESTful Web interface contributed by MediaShelf
  • Mulgara Support—Fedora supports the Mulgara 2.0 Semantic Triplestore replacing Kowari
  • Migration Utility—Provides an update utility to convert existing collections for Content Model Architecture compatibility
  • Relational Index Simplification—The Fedora schema was simplified making changes easier without having to reload the database and significantly increasing scalability
  • Dynamic Behaviors—Objects may be added or removed dynamically from the system moving system checks into run-time errors
  • Error Reporting—Provides improved run-time error details
  • Multiple Owner as a CSV String—Enables using a CSV string as ownerID and in XACML policies
  • Java 6 Compatibility—Fedora may be optionally compiled using Java 6 while retaining support for Java Enterprise Edition 1.5 deployments
  • Relationships API—API-M has been extended to enable adding, removing, and discovering RDF relations between Fedora objects
  • Revised Fedora Object XML Schemas—The new schemas are simpler, supporting the CMA and removing Disseminators
  • Atom Support—Fedora objects can now be imported and exported in the Atom format
  • Messaging Support—Integrates JMS messaging for sending notification of important events
  • Validation Framework—Provides system operators a way to validate all or part of their repository, based on content models
  • 3.0-Compatible Service Releases—New versions of the OAI Provider and GSearch services are compatible with Fedora 3.0. The GSearch release also enables messaging support for GSearch, which allows for more robust and seamless integration with the Fedora repository.
  • Many new enhancements—see the Release Notes:

ARL Revamps Scholarly Communication Resources Web Site

Posted in ARL Libraries, Scholarly Communication on July 29th, 2008

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has revamped its FAIR (Freely Available Institute Resources) Web site.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has updated and reconfigured the FAIR (Freely Available Institute Resources) Web site, where faculty and alumni of the ARL/ACRL Institute on Scholarly Communication share outreach and program development tools with the broader community.

FAIR is a component of the Institute on Scholarly Communication, a joint program of ARL and ACRL that promotes the development of library-led outreach on scholarly communication issues. Hundreds of institute alumni form a community that provides peer support and professional sharing of information relating to campus outreach. FAIR’s reconfiguration is part of a larger reorganization and expansion of ARL’s Web pages on scholarly communication.

FAIR currently offers four resource collections:

  • outreach to faculty;
  • program planning and development tools;
  • staff development tools; and
  • a collection of position descriptions with scholarly communication components.

With FAIR’s reconfiguration, the collection of sample position descriptions has been significantly expanded with recent contributions from a range of academic institutions. Position titles range from Copyright Librarian to Digital Repository Coordinator in addition to many titles explicitly including the phrase "scholarly communication."

New CONTENTdm Add-on: OCLC Web Harvester

Posted in Digital Asset Management Systems, Digital Repositories, OCLC on July 29th, 2008

OCLC has announced the availability of Web Harvester, which allows CONTENTdm sites to import Web content into their systems.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

OCLC's Web Harvester evolved from collaboration with several state libraries, state archives and universities over a period of seven years. Participants emphasized the increasing importance of collecting and managing Web-based content as information resources move online yet remain within libraries' and archives' collection scopes.

The Web Harvester is integrated into library workflows, allowing library staff to capture content as part of the cataloging process. The captured content is then sent to the organization's digital collections where it can be managed with other CONTENTdm digital content. . . .

The Web Harvester is accessed via the Connexion client, OCLC's powerful cataloging service, and captures content ranging from single, Web-based documents to entire Web sites. Once retrieved, users can review the captured Web content and add it to a collection managed by OCLC's CONTENTdm software, a complete solution for storing, managing and delivering a library's digital collections to the Web. Once in CONTENTdm, then Web content can be accessed and managed in conjunction with other digital collections. Harvested items are discoverable from, WorldCat Local and the CONTENTdm Web interface.

For additional security, master files of the captured content also can be ingested to the OCLC Digital Archive, the service for long-term storage of originals and master files from libraries' digital collections.

OpenDOAR/Google Maps Mashup

Posted in Digital Repositories, Institutional Repositories, Social Media/Web 2.0 on July 29th, 2008

OpenDOAR is mapping repository data using Google Maps.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

SHERPA is pleased to announce the addition of a Google Maps extension to OpenDOAR, its directory of open access repositories ( Just run any search of the directory, and then change the output format from "Summaries" to "Google Map".

Here are a few examples:

—Repositories in Japan . . .

—United States repositories holding theses & dissertations

—Keyword search for "Nottingham"


—Repositories using CONTENTdm software

DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons Announce Decision to Collaborate

Posted in Digital Repositories, DSpace, Fedora, Institutional Repositories on July 29th, 2008

The DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons have announced that they will collaborate on future digital repository initiatives.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Today two of the largest providers of open source software for managing and providing access to digital content, the DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons, announced plans to combine strengths to work on joint initiatives that will more closely align their organizations' goals and better serve both open source repository communities in the coming months. . . .

The collaboration is expected to benefit over 500 organizations from around the world who are currently using either DSpace (examples include MIT, Rice University, Texas Digital Library and University of Toronto) or Fedora (examples include the National Library of France, New York Public Library, Encyclopedia of Chicago and eSciDoc) open source software to create repositories for a wide variety of purposes. . . .

The decision to collaborate came out of meetings held this spring where members of DSpace and Fedora Commons communities discussed multiple dimensions of cooperation and collaboration between the two organizations. Ideas included leveraging the power and reach of open source knowledge communities by using the same services and standards in the future. The organizations will also explore opportunities to provide new capabilities for accessing and preserving digital content, developing common web services, and enabling interoperability across repositories.

In the spirit of advancing open source software, Fedora Commons and DSpace will look at ways to leverage and incubate ideas, community and culture to:

  1. Provide the best technology and services to open source repository framework communities.
  2. Evaluate and synchronize, where possible, both organizations' technology roadmaps to enable convergence and interoperability of key architectural components.
  3. Demonstrate how the DSpace and Fedora open source repository frameworks offer a unique value proposition compared to proprietary solutions.

The announcement came on the heels of an event sponsored by the Joint Information Systems Committee's (JISC) Common Repository Interface Group (CRIG) held at the Library of Congress. The event, known as "RepoCamp," was a forum where developers gathered to discuss innovative approaches to improving interoperability and web-orientation for digital repositories. Sandy Payette, Executive Director of Fedora Commons, and Michele Kimpton, Executive Director of the DSpace Foundation, reiterated their commitment to collaboration and encouraged input and participation from both communities as work gets underway.



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