JISC IE Architecture
Shared Services Development Plan
The DNER architecture study proposed a number
of shared infrastructure services including:
- a collection description service,
- a service description service,
- one or more resolver services,
- an institutional profiling service,
- a metadata registry,
- one or more user preferences services,
- thesauri and terminology services,
- ratings and annotations services,
- one or more terms and conditions services.
This document outlines the functionality offered by these
services and proposes a two year plan for their development.
Note that authentication and authorisation services are also
considered to be shared infrastructional services within the JISC IE
architecture. However, the development of these services is being
carried out separately as part of the JCAS Sparta initiative so they
are not considered further here.
Overview of functionality
This section outlines the functionality that is expected to be
offered by the shared services listed above. The primary focus of
all these shared services is to provide machine-to-machine (m2m)
interfaces suitable for being interogated by other components in
the JISC IE architecture. However, in many cases these services will
also provide useful information for people and may therefore also
deliver their content in a form more suitable for human consumption
- i.e. through an HTML-based Web interface.
- Collection description
- A collection description service provides machine-readable
descriptions about the content of collections that are available as
part of the JISC Information Environment. The primary intention of
the service is to allow portals, brokers and aggregators to
automatically determine what collections are available to end-users
of the JISC IE.
- Service description
- A service description service provides detailed technical
information in machine-readable form about JISC IE services. The
primary intention of the service is to allow portals, brokers and
aggregators to automatically determine how they should interact
with content providers and other brokers and aggregators.
- A resolver service provides extended services based on the
metadata encoded in an OpenURL. Extended services may include
redirection to document delivery services, redirection to online
bookshops, redirection to local library services and further
'discovery' activities. It is anticipated that resolver services
may make use of institutional profiling services to determin
institutional resolution preferences.
- Institutional profiling
- An institutional profiling service provides machine-readable
information about resolution preferences (e.g. use Amazon rather
than Waterstone's for online book purchases) and local library
holdings information (e.g. University of Bath library holds all
issues of Nature from June 1987 onwards). The primary intention of
this service is to allow resolver services to automatically
determine institutional preferences and holdings information when
- Metadata registry
- A metadata registry provides machine-readable information about
the metadata schemas in use by particular metadata-based services.
The primary intention of this service is to allow portals, brokers
and aggregators to automatically determine information about
appropriate search terms and the structure of metadata records that
will be returned to them. However, metadata registries also provide
a useful human-oriented service, allowing people to see what
metadata schemas are in use by which services - providing a basis
for metadata schema sharing and re-use.
- User preferences
- A user preferences service provides machine-readable
information about users' personal preferences. The primary
intention of this service is to allow portals to automatically
configure themselves for particular end-users and to prevent
end-users from having to enter their preferences into multiple
- Thesauri and terminology
- A thesauri or terminology service provides automated,
machine-readable mappings between terms, either within a particular
thesaurus or across multiple thesauri or classification schemes.
The intention is to allow portals, brokers, aggregators and content
providers ro map terms, allowing the user to use one set of
terminology, but automatically mapping their terms to alternative
or additional terms in thesauri or classification schemes used by
the target service. Note that terminology is not limited to subject
but also includes audience level, resource type and
- Ratings and annotations
- Ratings and annotation services provide additional metadata
about resources in the JISC IE either in the
form of numeric ratings or textual annotation (notes).
- Terms and conditions
- A terms and conditions service provides machine-readable
information about the rights held in or over resources within the
JISC Information Environment and about any restrictions on access
This section outlines a two year development plan for the shared
services discussed above.
As indicated in the JISC IE architecture study, the collection
description, service description, resolver and institutional
profile shared services are seen as being key to the effective
delivery of JISC IE portal services. In the plan below these four
shared services are given priority.
There is a natural grouping between collection description and
service description services and between resolver and institutional
profiling services. Therefore these pairs of services are
considered together. It is anticipated that each of these pairs of
services are highly likely to be delivered in tandem, possibly by a
single service provider, or by two service providers working in
Plan under development