Digital Library Repositories and Instructional

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					    Digital Library Repositories and
     Instructional Support Systems:
Repository Interoperability Working Group
               Leslie Johnston
         University of Virginia Library

                           Coalition for Networked Information, 4/16/2004
Repository Interoperability Working Group

• People:
   –   John Mark Ockerbloom, University of Pennsylvania
   –   Leslie Johnston, University of Virginia
   –   MacKenzie Smith, MIT
   –   William Ying, ArtSTOR
• Goal: Creation of a Checklist that outlines both
  essential and desirable interoperability
  functionality between Repositories and Learning
           Checklist Assumptions:
            Use of Repositories
• A scholar is likely to require materials drawn from
  multiple repositories to support research or
• Teaching is increasingly supported by learning
• To make the most effective use of digital content
  in teaching, learning applications need to be able
  to easily interoperate with digital repositories.
            Checklist Assumptions:
             Scope and Audience
• The Checklist focuses on the flow of information
  from repository to user rather than on content
• The Checklist is intended primarily for those
  developing repository systems of any type and
  learning applications intended to work with them.
   – Metadata only, available digital media
     files, publications/pre-press, or learning objects within
     a learning application.
• Academic, not-for-profit, and commercially-run
  repositories will benefit from the Checklist.
            Checklist Assumptions:
             Scope and Audience
• Scholarship is a three-stage process:
   – “Gathering,” where content is
     discovered, evaluated, and acquired for use.
   – “Creating,” where content is adapted for instructional
     use, or new content is created based on the information
     in the gathered content.
   – “Sharing” where the new or adapted content is then
     made available to others.
• The Checklist focuses on Gathering, where
  content is drawn from digital repositories, but the
  needs of the later stages are important for
  understanding necessary repository services.
               Checklist Assumptions:
                 Scholarly Process
• Tasks in Gathering
    – Discover sources of potentially useful content.
    – Search for content that meets their needs.
    – Collect references to relevant items they find.
    – Import items, descriptions of those items, or references to those
      items into learning applications.
    – Save copies of some of these items to local applications or storage.
    – Find Related items to those they have collected, in the same or
      different repositories.
• Of the activities above, the essential activities that a digital
  repository must directly support are
  searching, collection, and import.
            Checklist Assumptions:
                 Data Model
• The Checklist assumes a simple data model:
   – There exist distinct, identifiable pieces of digital
     content, or items, that can be searched
     for, collected, and imported for instructional purposes.
   – Items can be found by searching collections, groupings
     of items that can be addressed and queried through a
     common interface or set of services.
   – Items, and possibly collections as well, have metadata
     associated with them, information that describes them
     and otherwise aids in their use and management.
             Checklist Assumptions:
• Repositories provide content, not simply metadata, to users.
• Teachers and learners use the content of digital repositories
  through learning applications.
   – Courseware packages, citation managers, and presentation and
     analysis software.
• With the wide selection and range of repository
  interfaces, there has also emerged a layer of mediators
  between repositories and applications, or gateways, that
  help users locate content they need in appropriate
Component Architecture Diagram

        Learning           Learning       Learning
       application        application    application



     Repository      Repository         Collection
         Checklist Assumptions:
        General Design Principles
• Ensure broad accessibility of the repository.
• Provide access controls to items in a way
  that does not hinder learning applications.
               The Checklist

• Each section includes:
  – Rating of Essential or Desirable for each
    category of interoperability functionality.
  – Description of the functionality and what
    purpose it serves.
  – The place in the architecture of a repository.
  – Some technical recommendations, but not meant
    to be proscriptive.
               The Checklist

• Finding content:
  – Support search for items. (ESSENTIAL)
  – Provide standard or documented metadata for
    items. (ESSENTIAL)
  – Support search via software agents.
                The Checklist

• Collecting content:
  – Provide stable references to items.
  – Support citations in recognized scholarly
    formats for items. (DESIRABLE)
               The Checklist

• Accessing content:
  – Provide ways to get and use item content.
  – Provide views of item content. (DESIRABLE)
  – Allow items to be copied into local systems.
                The Checklist

• Documentation:
  – Document policies and functions of the
    repository. (ESSENTIAL)
  – Make the repository, and its content, known to
    other applications. (DESIRABLE)
  – Document the technical profile of the
    repository. (DESIRABLE)

• Creation of a questionnaire spreadsheet
  based on the Checklist.
  – Representatives of six repository projects were
    asked to fill in the questionnaire.
  – Answers were reviewed to judge both
    compliance of the project to the proposed
    interoperability standards and to gauge the
    successfulness of the questionnaire in
    determining compliance.

• The questionnaire answers produced a number of
   – The questionnaire was not deemed fully
     successful, especially for larger environments where
     some portions of the infrastructure might comply and
     others do not.
   – Who answers the questionnaire changes the compliance.
   – How can the questionnaire take into account the
     necessary interoperability differences between
     repositories and catalogs, which are metadata
• A revised questionnaire will be created.

• Use Cases:
  – The use cases developed by the other working
    group led to a number of changes in the
    Checklist, especially in the definition of the
    process of scholarly research, the delineation of
    activities that make up the "Gathering" stage of
    research, and the categorization of functionality
    as essential or desirable.