eBank UK

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Pilot Development

The pilot is intended to function as a proof-of-concept demonstrator of the Open Archives Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) being used to make research data available and disseminated to third party services. An OAI-PMH repository was created at the University of Southampton using a modified version of the EPrints software. A number of datasets from the chemistry sub-discipline of crystallography were deposited in the archive, which offers a local browse and search interface, tailored to crystallography. Metadata harvesting was then carried out and a demonstrator was built to show the potential for linking the datasets to publications. User scenarios were employed to help understand requirements in this specialised area which deals with complex digital objects. One further area of work was to show how a search service could be embedded in the PSIgate website, in order to reach an established community of users.

For the development of a demonstrator system, the eBank project decided to focus on the sub-discipline of crystallography, as this has a well-defined data creation workflow and a tradition of sharing results data in an internationally accepted standard, the Crystallographic Information File (CIF) adopted by the International Union of Crystallography.

The eCrystals repository

Located at the University of Southampton, and developed by modifying the EPrints software, the repository was tailored to guide the deposition of the data created during a crystallography determination.

Screenshot of Deposit Interface.

During the deposition process, metadata is entered by the depositor or seamlessly extracted from the datafiles. This metadata is then made available for harvesting. Note the data from all the stages of the crystallography workflow is made available at the eCrystals repository, which can be browsed and searched.

Screenshot of an entry in the eCrystals repository

The dataflow in eBank UK

The eBank aggregator service

The aggregator uses the OAI-PMH protocol to harvest the metadata from the eCrystals Repository. The dataflow is shown in the diagram above. The aggregator demonstrator also contains metadata about publications, and the prototype search interface allows searching across metadata about datasets and publications.

Try the aggregator search interface

A technical description of the aggregator service and the systems used in its development is available.

Embedding in PSIgate

Using stylesheets and CGI mechanisms, the service has been presented through an alternative website which is funded to assist the UK academic community to discover resources in the astronomy, chemistry, earth sciences, materials sciences, physics, and science history and policy areas.

Screenshot of the search service presented at PSIgate