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Repositories Research Team Newsletter
(September 2007)

The newsletter about digital repositories research.

In this issue

About RRT Newsletter

The purpose of this newsletter is to provide specialised information to all those interested in Digital Repositories Research.

This special issue is packed with useful information about the various activities the JISC Repositories Research Team have been and are involved in the area of Digital Repositories.

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Buda Castle at night

The view from ECDL - Buda Castle at night

This newsletter is sent at the end of the European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL) hosted this year by the Computer and Automation Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA SZTAKI) in Budapest. Some 200 delegates from 48 countries have gathered to discuss the state of the art in Digital Libraries.

The conference keynotes were given by Seamus Ross – “Digital Preservation, Archival Science and Methodological Foundations for Digital Libraries” – and Arne Sølvberg—“Wi-Fi Trondheim – an experiment in providing Broadband Everywhere for All”.

Details of the program are available on the conference website http://www.ecdl2007.org/.

The pre-conference tutorials offered a chance to engage with some key issues in some detail. We were able to attend tutorials addressing teaching and learning about digital libraries (presented by Edward Fox, Virginia Tech), large scale infrastructures for digital libraries (presenting by members of the DELOS and BRICKS projects), and thesauri and ontologies in digital libraries examining the structure and use in knowledge-based assistance to users, design, evaluation, and development (presented by Dagobert Soergel, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland).

Ecologically influenced approaches to repository and service interactions

The more that networks of repositories and services grow, the more complex interactions between them become. The software developers and implementers adopt protocols and choose standards which are used by the implemented repository or service but this is only the first step in developing a useful and consistent semantically-interoperable service. Architectural models alone are not enough to achieve such interoperability at a service level.

In an effort to find other models that might complement architectural models, RRT have been exploring the utility of a model influenced by ecology.

We have produced a draft report (http://tinyurl.com/3bfqgn) which outlines some key ecological concepts that could apply to the repository and service domain. The report will be revised in the coming months in light of feedback received on the report and from a number of workshops. The first of which – “Towards an European repository ecology: conceptualising interactions between networks of repositories and services” – we are holding this week at ECDL.

Presentations from the workshop will be available on the Repositories Research wiki (http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/repositories/digirep/index/Ecology ) in the next week.

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Object Reuse and Exchange OAI-ORE

The Open Archives Initiative are developing a new specification to support digital repository interoperability, this work - Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE) - is funded by the Mellon Foundation and led by Herbert Van de Sompel (Los Almos National Laboratory) and Carl Lagoze (Cornell University).

The OAI describe the project as follows:

ORE will develop specifications that allow distributed repositories to exchange information about their constituent digital objects. These specifications will include approaches for representing digital objects and repository services that facilitate access and ingest of these representations. The specifications will enable a new generation of cross-repository services that leverage the intrinsic value of digital objects beyond the borders of hosting repositories.


A recent acceleration meeting has helped shaped the alpha specification which is due for release this month. We’ll keep you updated about developments with this initiative in future newsletters and on the JISC-Repositories mailing list, but the project leaders have recently written about it in the most recent issue of CTWatch Quarterly (August 2007)

CT Watch article

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JISC Repository Net

JISC have launched RepositoryNet to bring together a core set of activities to “to help coordinate and share practice” among repositories in higher and further education in the United Kingdom.

The core activities in RepositoryNet are:

We introduced the RRT (ourselves) in the last newsletter and we’ll profile each of the activities in coming newsletters. A fuller briefing on RepositoryNet is available http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/publications/repositorynet.aspx

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Upcoming conferences and events

ICADL2007 (International Asian Conference in Digital Libraries); Hanoi, Vietnam
December 10-13

3rd International Digital Curation Conference, Washington DC, USA
11-13 December 2007

Open Repositories 2008, Southampton, UK
April 1–4
(Call for papers and workshops to be announced)

JCDL2008 (Joint Conference on Digital Libraries), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
June 15-20, 2008
(Papers due February 1st)

Second DELOS Conference on Digital Libraries, Pisa (Italy)
5-7 December 2007

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Recent news

Staff changes

Julie Allinson has moved on from RRT to become the Digital Library Manager at the University of York. She is responsible for setting up and running a digital library, including managing an 11 month JISC-funded start-up project called SAFIR (Sound Archives Film Images Repository). More information about her new project is available at: http://www.york.ac.uk/services/library/elibrary/digitallibrary.htm

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Sustaining Repositories

The Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR, http://www.apsr.edu.au/ ) has a newsletter – Sustaining Repositories. Their August issue is available:


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CTWatch Quarterly

“CTWatch Quarterly is an online journal that focuses on cyberinfrastructure related research critical to collaboration and information dissemination within the science community as a whole. Each issue of CTWatch centers on a topic with currency and importance to this community with articles written by experts in their field from both academia and industry.” (http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/)

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Featured blog posts

“Watch your language” Optimal Scholarship


Phil Barker
Update on standards relating to repositories of learning materials


Hanging Together (thanks to Paul Walk)


Not so serious developments

Online courses for cats


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