Mar 232011
 

As part of the SWORD v2 developments, the Technical Advisory Panel have been busy discussing many aspects of the proposed new version of the standard.  This has been a lively and engaging process.  If you would like to read these discussions and contribute any feedback, you would be very welcome!

One particularly interesting thread came from the project’s technical lead.  The message concerns the scope of SWORD v2 (what areas it should contribute to, ans which it should not):

Hi Folks,

There’s been some great discussion on the list this past week or two, and I thought it might be time for a summary of what looks to me to be a key sticking point: the scope of sword.

There are two distinct sides to this argument as it’s been articulated on this list:

a) That we should adopt the approach of content management API like CMIS or more likely GData

b) That SWORD should be not say anything about what happens to the content once it is sent to the server.

In general, I am against (a) for a number of reasons.  First, I am concerned that the idioms that are associated with GData are not /necessarily/ appropriate.  The hierarchical file system is a common idiom but an idiom nonetheless, and it wouldn’t be SWORD’s place to therefore build itself over the top of it.  CMIS I have a harder time refuting or accepting, so am open to persuasion either way.  Secondly, I don’t see a reason to re-create a content management standard, since they already exist.  SWORD should, instead, provide support for the things that these standards don’t provide for our sector/use cases, while not preventing the use of them.

From a purists perspective of (b) the main thing that SWORD offers, then, is support for Packaging (with a capital P).  This is a valuable addition to the community since it is both common in our sector and expressly not covered at least by GData and I believe not by CMIS (though again, open to correction).  The support for packaging, though, needs to extend to a full CRUD implementation of AtomPub, which is a large part of what the profile attempts to do.  I think we have had some good technical discussion which which will allow the next draft of the profile to do better at that.

In the mean time, there are some grey area parts of the profile, particularly In Progress and Suppress Metadata which are more content management than they are deposit.  I, personally, think these are important; they are light touch, the profile doesn’t mandate the server to obey them, and they help fulfill known use cases.  Likewise the Statement could be viewed as more content management than not, although we have tried to pitch that as more an informational resource rather than an operational one (i.e. read but not write).

What I’m going to suggest for the next draft is as follows:  we’ll put some more time into analysing the appropriate ways of updating and overwriting deposit packages using the feedback on this list.  And we will extend the profile to cover how you would use the SWORD headers to be used in content management operations /if that’s what your implementation wants/ (e.g. how you might use Suppress Metadata or In Progress with GData).  There will, obviously, be plenty of time for comment.

In conclusion: we must constrain the scope of sword to something which doesn’t tread on anyone’s toes and is of value to the community.  Too far one way or the other and we’ll either be superseded or of no value.

Cheers,

Richard

Jan 202011
 

As part of the development of SWORD v2 a Technical Advisory Panel has been formed.  This panel consists of experts from across the SWORD and general Digital Repository domains, along with experts in related fields. The purpose of the panel is to ensure that the standard develops in a way that meets the needs of its user community, that it exhibits best-practice in the area of Internet standards, that developers are able to work with it, and that it tries to be generic enough to allow interoperability with other types of systems whilst maintaining its focus on repository resource deposit.  The panel consists of people from universities, national libraries, research funders, commercial companies, developers, repository domain experts, and repository managers.

The following people have generously donated their time and expertise to be on this panel:

  • Julie Allinson (The University of York)
  • Tim Brody (University of Southampton)
  • Pablo de Castro (SONEX / Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
  • Charles Duncan (Intrallect)
  • Reinhard Engels (Harvard University Library)
  • David Flanders (JISC)
  • John Fearns (Symplectic)
  • Kathi Fletcher (Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow)
  • Steve Hitchcock (University of Southampton)
  • Jason Hoyt (Mendeley)
  • Bill Ingram (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Richard Jones (SWORD Technical Lead)
  • Graham Klyne (University of Oxford)
  • Stuart Lewis (SWORD Community Manager / The University of Auckland Library)
  • Mark MacGillivray (Developer)
  • Andrea Marchitelli (CILEA)
  • Alistair Miles (The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics)
  • Ben O’Steen (Developer)
  • Glen Robson (National Library of Wales)
  • Richard Rodgers (MIT)
  • Robert Sanderson (LANL)
  • Peter Sefton (Australian Digital Futures Institute, University of Southern Queensland)
  • Nick Sheppard (UKCoRR / Leeds Metropolitan)
  • Eddie Shin (MediaShelf)
  • Alec Smecher (Public Knowledge Project)
  • Adrian Stevenson (UKOLN)
  • Ian Stuart (Repository Junction / EDINA)
  • Ed Summers (Library of Congress)
  • David Tarrant (University of Southampton)
  • Robin Taylor (The University of Edinburgh)
  • Graham Triggs (BioMed Central)
  • Alex Wade (Microsoft External Research)
  • Paul Walk (UKOLN)
  • Simeon Warner (arXiv)
  • Scott Wilson (CETIS)
  • Nathan Yergler (Creative Commons)

In the interests of openness, the group discussions are being archived in an open mail archive: http://www.mail-archive.com/sword-app-techadvisorypanel@lists.sourceforge.net/

Dec 232010
 

This is the third in a series of blog posts outlining the SWORDv2 project plan.  This blog post details the proposed timeline of when each work package will take place.

The project is split into two phases, an initial research and specification phase, followed by a development and test phase.  During this time a second stream of advocacy and general community management will be undertaken.  There will also be a stream of work for project support.

Phase One: November 2010 – January 2011

  • Technical
    • Work package 1: Compile use cases
    • Work package 2: Analysis of white paper
    • Work package 4: Creation of prototype SWORD v2 specification
  • Community
    • Work package 3: Initial community formation
  • Project support
    • Work package 10: Project dissemination
    • Work package 11: Project administration

Phase Two: February 2011 – April 2011

  • Technical
    • Work package 5: Server implementations
    • Work package 6: Client implementations
  • Community
    • Work package 7: Instructional documentation and ongoing community management
    • Work package 9: Support the JISCDepo projects
  • Project support
    • Work package 8: Develop a sustainability plan
    • Work package 10: Project dissemination
    • Work package 11: Project administration
Dec 232010
 

This is the second in a series of blog posts that is outlining the project plan for the SWORDv2 project.  This post will describe the work packages that will be undertaken over the next 6 months to complete the project.

Work package 1: Compile use cases

  • The project will work with the SONEX group to gather, document, and publicise relevant use cases that fit with the overarching principles of SWORD v2. These use cases will be used to ensure that the SWORD v2 standard meets the requirements of the repository community.  In addition the community manager will ensure that the repository manager community is made aware of the project, and is encouraged to participate in the collection use cases.

Work package 2: Analysis of white paper

  • As a concluding part to the SWORD 3 project, the Technical Lead wrote a white paper that outlined the potential requirements of the SWORD v2 standard. This white paper was given wide publicity at the Open Repositories 2010 conference and was placed online on the JISCPress site (http://sword2depositlifecycle.jiscpress.org/) for comment by the community.The feedback received from the community needs to be analysed, and once combined with the use cases from the SONEX group it will be written-up to create a document that will define the use cases, requirements, and outputs of the SWORD v2 project. The document will be used to describe to the community what the standard will do and why it will do it, and will give rise to the standard itself in work package 4.

Work package 3: Initial community formation

  • While the analysis of the white paper is being undertaken the Community Manager will need to perform work to start to form an initial community around the SWORD v2 work. This first phase of community building will be centered around publicity of the project including a project web site and blog (to supplement the current swordapp.org site), an elevator pitch to explain the aims of the project to the community, and the creation of an effective communications channel to allow dissemination, discussion and feedback to easily take place.A technical advisory panel will be created that consists of project staff members, and developers and repository managers from the worldwide repository community. They will come from a cross section the different repository platforms and user types. Whilst all aspects of the project will be open for comment by any interested party, the technical advisory panel will be consulted closely at all times to ensure the project is meeting the requirements of the repository community.

Work package 4: Creation of prototype SWORD v2 specification

  • Following the analysis of the white paper, the creation of the report and the formation of the initial community, a prototype SWORD v2 specification will be written. The specification will detail the SWORD v2 protocol to a level where it can be discussed, evaluated, and implemented.The specification will be considered a draft as it is envisaged that during the later implementation phase that the specification will change in light of user experience and evaluation.

Work package 5: Server implementations

  • Once the prototype specification has been written, a server implementation will be required. This will be used in conjunction with the client implementations (work package 6) to test the specification and evaluation it against the use cases and requirements as specified earlier in the project.  The server implementations should attempt to provide some mechanism by which client requests can be validated.  All resultant code will be released with a suitable open source licence.Three server implementations will be created, one each for DSpace, EPrints, and Fedora.  If appropriate and possible, other server implementations will be encouraged with technical support from the project.

Work package 6: Client implementations

  • Once the prototype specification has been written, client implementation will be required. This will be used in conjunction with the server implementations (work package 5) to test the specification and evaluation it against the use cases and requirements as specified earlier in the project.  The client implementations should attempt to provide some mechanism by which they can be used to validate a sword endpoint.There will be 4 client implementations created, to offer a highly heterogeneous environment within which to test the use cases and requirements.  They are also designed to offer a series of multi-language software libraries for easy use within other systems not dealt with here. All resultant code will be released with a suitable open source licence.  The clients will include Java, PHP, Ruby and Phython code.

Work package 7: Instructional documentation and ongoing community management

  • In order to be empowered to interact with the SWORD v2 standard the community will require instructional documentation to make use of the proposed new standard. This will take the form of code examples, training materials, and support.The community will need facilitation to ensure it interacts with the standard and the demonstration implementations. This will be achieved through the provision of support, advocacy and publicity of the standard the implementations.As well as ensuring the user and developer communities adopt SWORD v2 and feel ownership of it, the work of advocating, educating and promoting SWORD v1. This will be achieved by maintaining the SWORD v1 website, and by seeking further opportunities to teach ‘The SWORD Course’ at suitable events.

Work package 8: Develop a sustainability plan

  • A viable sustainability plan is required to ensure the ongoing development and maintenance of the SWORD protocol standard,the implementations, and the advocacy.

Work package 9: Support the JISCDepo projects

  • The JISCDepo programme (#jiscdepo) is a suite of projects that work in the area of repository deposit. This work package will support the JISCDepo projects to use SWORD v2 where applicable, and ensure the SWORD v2 standard meets any suitable requirements that they have.The work will be undertaken by UKOLN through the DevCSI infrastructure. In addition to supporting the JISCDepo programme, they will support the use of SWORD in the wider repository programme of projects funded by JISC. If appropriate, the involvement of DevCSI will be used to run a community development event to bring together developers to experiment and develop with the SWORD v2 standard.

Work package 10: Project dissemination

  • In addition to the advocacy and community development of SWORD v2 through the use of the project website, blog, and other activities, the project will also disseminate its findings, the developments it has created, and encourage community interaction by attending major repository events.  Additionally the project will seek to work with existing support networks such as the RSP to deliver training and and advocacy through their programmes of events.

Work package 11: Project administration

  • The project will require standard JISC project management activities to take place. These include formal project plans, reports, budgets, and attendance at relevant programme meetings. Overheads and administration costs will be required for UKOLN to support these activities and the general running of the project.