Wednesday, 21 September 2011

EPrints 3.3 Stable

Following a period of internal testing we are pleased to make the first stable EPrints 3.3 release available for download at http://files.eprints.org/691/. If you just want to test out the new version you can access our demonstration repository at http://demoprints.eprints.org/ (account creation requires email address verification).

EPrints 3.3 represents 18 months of effort since the release of 3.2. Version 3.2 brought with it new features that were aimed at making EPrints more flexible and giving more control to repository administrators. 3.3 is a natural progression of this effort that enables a new, completely flexible, data model managed through configuration files. This sets the foundation for using EPrints as a lightweight tool for research management and reporting (CRIS) through e.g. managing projects data.

New optional features and extensions are now 1-click installable through the EPrints Bazaar. The Bazaar is a centralised repository for plugins, extensions, styles and more with a complete control interface within the EPrints software. Repository administrators can browse, install and update extensions with simple 1-click controls. For developers, EPrints includes Web tools for building new extension packages.

The search engine in EPrints is now plugin-extensible. 3.3 comes with support for the Xapian probabilistic search engine (requires Xapian system libraries). Xapian supports boolean queries and relevance-based search results. For non-Xapian supported systems and advanced searching the internal search has been improved to address issues raised by the community - case sensitivity, name-matching and more. For a full(er) list of new features and bugs fixed by the 3.3 branch see http://wiki.eprints.org/w/New_Features_in_EPrints_3.3.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Registration Open for EPrints Bazaar Developer Event

When: 7/8th December 2010

Where: University of Southampton

Cost: Free (You pay accommodation)

Registration has opened for the EPrints Bazaar event in Southampton which will provide the first chance for people to get hands on with the new EPrints App Store (The EPrints Bazaar), the future of extension development for EPrints.

The event will provide hands on access to the Bazaar, demonstrate the features and allow discussion on features which would be nice to have in the first release next year. By allowing people to develop their first Bazaar Application for EPrints we focus this event on developers around the repository community who wish to get their Apps (either now or in the future) out to the community with zero release delay!

For those who haven't seen the Bazaar yet, you can watch a quick demo of how easy it is to install an App here

Places are limited and if the event fills fast we will try and find a bigger room.

For more information and an up to date schedule (subject to change) see this page

Register for FREE here: http://bazaar.eventbrite.com/

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

There’s a repository app for that: EPrints Bazaar wows the Repository Fringe

by Steve Hitchcock

"lovely, very very very nice, wow! fantastic:) impressive Woah! Really easy! working!"

A summary of some of the reaction to the first ever public appearance of the EPrints Bazaar at Repository Fringe 2010.


A new app store, EPrints Bazaar, that enables users to install repository apps and plugins with a single click, made its debut to great acclaim at the latest Repository Fringe meeting in Edinburgh.



The idea for EPrints Bazaar takes its lead from other widely successful platforms, particularly for mobile applications, making the apps, extensions and design themes simple to upload, install and use. The apps are designed for use on a single platform, in this case EPrints repository software, and the store will be open to all apps, developers and users.

A pictorial interface greets users and emphasizes the easy installation and upgrading of packages. As soon as a new add-on is uploaded to the store a repository administrator can install it without leaving their own repository. The Bazaar will also alert you to available updates for installed packages, ensuring your repository is up to date with the latest version of each package.

Already up to a dozen apps are available, including apps custom built for the Bazaar, and existing tools from earlier projects that can now find greater visibility and use. Among those apps demonstrated in Edinburgh are a tool for adding comments and annotations to eprints (SNEEP), social tools for creating user home pages (MePrints), sharing bookmarks and collections (EdShare Collections), and tools to support digital preservation.

The app that made most impact on the Edinburgh audience, drawing a Jobs-like spontaneous outbreak of applause, provides document previews (PreviewPlus). In the modern repository a document, or eprint, record can often present a range of linked resources, including the text, slides, video and data. PreviewPlus allows the user to instantly play a preview version of the item without needing to download often large data files.

EPrints Bazaar is expected to motivate a number of ways for use of the store to grow. In particular, a marketplace community could enable developers to test their apps with users, while users could place requests for required apps.

Apps such as SNEEP and MePrints have developed from JISC projects, and it is expected that EPrints Bazaar could become an important part of the dissemination strategy for such projects.

EPrints Bazaar takes advantage of the modular structure of EPrints, first introduced with version 3.0 some years ago, to separate the development of specific applications by any developer from the core code that has to be maintained by the EPrints developer team. Until now such apps have been available as code downloads from a wiki source, EPrints Files, and required more complex installation procedures familiar to coders and developers but which are less attractive to the majority who are the target users of EPrints Bazaar.

EPrints Bazaar will launch fully early in 2011 with the next iteration of EPrints, version 3.3, when this extension to files.eprints.org will come built into every install of EPrints.

Later this year a developer workshop, to be announced, will enable people to get hands on with the Bazaar and develop their first apps. This will also be an opportunity to develop the community marketplace with discussions about licensing and charging, and a chance to identify missing features before the first release.

Modular EPrints: the final piece of the jigsaw

According to the developer of the EPrints Bazaar, Dave Tarrant: “Recent releases of EPrints have been the fastest, most flexible and most reliable yet. Since the release of EPrints 3.1 we have been abstracting the core of EPrints to enable modules to be plugged in to perform many specific operations from importing/exporting data, reporting statistics, handling complex multimedia formats and storing files in the cloud.

"This modular approach offered users and developers the opportunity to put together repository modules. The EPrints Bazaar represents the final piece in this jigsaw, which allows these extensions to be installed in a single click from within the repository interface. The Bazaar also represents a huge leap forward in EPrints development where abstraction layers sit between the core repository of managed objects and the modules which bring turn-key features.

"We are very excited about the future of the Bazaar and feel it will provide a real turning point in repository customisation. There is also an incredibly simple API for developing extensions, and packaging and testing can be done within the Bazaar itself.

“This empowers the community to take control of repositories without needing a full understanding of the inner workings of the software itself.”

Transforming repository records

Apps such as PreviewPlus transform repository records. To show how other apps might look in the repository, here is a before-and-after screenshot of the abstract and record page for a single item in the repository. This record is chosen for its richness, containing a number of documents, images and videos, and shows how extensions available through the Bazaar can help transform a repository.



A rich content eprint before any Bazaar add-ons



After Bazaar add-ons (each add-on has been tagged for clarity)



First Bazaar Apps shown at Repository Fringe

To demonstrate the EPrints Bazaar at Repository Fringe seven existing add-ons were adapted by the developers to be installed via the Bazaar (in many cases this just involved designing an icon!).

The video of the Repository Fringe presentation covers these and more apps, some of which are entirely new to repository use. In one novel case we look at a plug-in which enables users to view the repository contents as a magazine in the FlipBoard app for the Apple iPad!



Many thanks goes to JISC also who funded many of the projects from which these add-ons come.

  • SNEEP: Social Networking Extensions for EPrints – Richard Davis @ ULCC (http://sneep.ulcc.ac.uk/)

  • EdShare Toolbox: EPrint actions box + Web 2.0 Integration – Marcus Ramsden @ Southampton

  • MePrints: A Users Home in EPrints - Marcus Ramsden @ Southampton (http://wiki.eprints.org/w/MePrints)

  • Digital Preservation Toolkit: Everything you need for Digital Preservation – Dave Tarrant @ Southampton (http://preservation.eprints.org)

  • EdShare Collections: Bookmarks and Collections creation – Seb Francois & Patrick McSweeny @ Southampton

  • PreviewPlus: Rich Document Preview - Patrick McSweeny @ Southampton

  • GreenSpring Theme: A pretty green theme for your repository - Patrick McSweeny @ Southampton


Reaction from the Repository Fringe Conference (#rfringe10)

From TwapperKeeper

Some lovely simple to browse customisation
Nicola Osborne - Edina


preview app and themes - very very very nice
John Robertson (University of Strathclyde)


EPrints Bazaar - wow!
Ian Stuart (Edina)


seeing MePrints in action - fantastic :)
Helen Muir (QMU)


Very impressive live demo of enhancing Eprints repository with plugins from Eprints Bazaar - piece of cake
Herbert Van De Sompel (Los Alamos National Library)


Woo hoo! EPrints Bazaar live demo install of Sneep SUCCESS! Really easy!
Ianthe Hind (University of Edinburgh)


live demo of eprints bazaar installation actually working!
Neil Stewart (LSE)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Digital Preservation Tutorial – iPres2010 (Austria)

Do you have lots of content in a repository or content management system?

Are you worried about long term storage and access to this content?

Do you like wine?


If the answer to the first two is yes then attend the Planets and EPrints digital preservation tutorial prior to iPres2010 in Vienna, Austria. If the answer to all three is yes then why aren’t you already registered!

With both projects ending their current phase of investigation into digital preservation this tutorial offers the final and best opportunity in this phase to learn how the resulting products can help you. This is also the only digital preservation tutorial which guides you through the complete preservation process, from identification and classification, to risk analysis, planning and finally action. Along the way we will touch on the key aspects of preservation metadata, the importance of provenance, trust and authenticity. All of this in a one day tutorial where everything is presented through a series of clear user interfaces designed to help with your preservation challenges.

Information about the tutorial, including details on the world leading researchers who will be presenting, can be found on the conference website: http://www.ifs.tuwien.ac.at/dp/ipres2010/tutorials.html#T3. From here you can also register for the event which includes the iPres2010 opening reception wine tasting event.

Workshop Details

Where: Vienna University of Technology
When: Sunday, September 19th 2010
URL: http://www.ifs.tuwien.ac.at/dp/ipres2010/tutorials.html#T3


Topics Covered


  • Digital preservation overview

  • Bitstream preservation by data replication and distribution

  • File classification and risk analysis using DROID, data registries (including semantic and linked data sources) and your repository

  • Collection gathering for preservation planning

  • Preservation planning in Plato


    • Defining requirements

    • Identifying potential strategies

    • Experimentation

    • Analyzing results

    • Building and validating a preservation plan


  • Putting a plan into action

  • Preserving and managing your preservation plan

  • Provenance, Trust and Authenticity via preservation metadata.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

EPrints at ECDL

EPrints is at ECDL co-running a preservation workshop with the Planets project.

We've covered a lot of the theory of preservation, and have also done some practical exercises showing the forthcoming EPrints 3.2 features that assist with the preservation agenda.

Firstly we had them playing with the new storage layer. This enables repositories to control the locations in which files are stored. We covered how to set storage policies, report on how many files were in each supported storage area (local, cloud, etc), and copy items between locations.

The second set of exercises covered preservation file format risk assessment. EPrints 3.2 can keep track of and report on the preservation risk status of the content (assuming a sensibly configured repository). Migration of 'at risk' formats could be done automatically, but that's still in the future...

The slides and EPrints exercises are available here.

It's been a great day. An active bunch of attendees who had lots of questions were really enthusiastic about the subject.

Monday, 14 September 2009

EPrints at Blogtalk 09

Warm and humid Jeju island, the favoured honeymoon destination of South Koreans, is hosting Blogtalk 09. Palm trees, teddy bears, life-sized plastic dinosaurs and luxury hotels all within walking distance of the beach. The view of the sea from the conference venue is somewhat distracting.

It's hard to talk about social networking without hyperbole (the talks have been full of superlatives). It's certainly important, and the possibilities for EPrints in this area have not yet been fully explored. The Sneep plugin, which enabled commenting on publication records, was very well received, but it is only scratching the surface of what's possible. I'm here to get a feel for what's going on at the moment and how this could be applied to EPrints.

A very interesting first day Keynote about the evolution of data access from Issac Mao posited that the sharing of information constituted a public 'mind'. Data creators acted as 'neurons', enabling hard problems to be solved thought distributed discourse. Blogging and micro-blogging are analogous to neurons firing - or so the speaker thought.

How can repositories leverage this? Academic publishing is social in nature, and the brain analogy works here too. If an academic paper can be said to be the equivalent of a blog post, what is the academic equivalent of a tweet? How can we support more fine-grained academic discourse? And is the repository the right place to do this?

Hmmmm....

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Creative repositories for the arts

A repository which will make it possible for colleges and individuals in the arts to store and present their work in a creative way will be unveiled tomorrow (Wednesday 3 June).

Kultur, a project that is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and that uses the world-leading EPrints software from the University of Southampton, has developed a joint pilot repository for the University of the Arts London, the University for the Creative Arts and Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton. The project will be officially completed tomorrow and an event to mark the occasion will be held at Whitechapel Art Gallery.



'Up to now, the focus of most repositories has been science and engineering and published articles,' said Dr Leslie Carr, Technical Director of EPrints, based at the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science. 'Kultur has provided us with an opportunity to use EPrints to develop the first comprehensive institutional repository for the arts.'

The Kultur project provides a flexible, multimedia pilot repository capable of showcasing a wide range of outputs from digital versions of paintings, photography, film, graphic and textile design to records of performances, shows and installations.

The three institutions involved will now develop their own open repositories to store and showcase their creative work.

'This will make an immense difference to our institutions,' said Andrew Gray, Kultur Project Officer, University of the Arts. 'It is the first repository of its kind in the arts world; there are others but there hasn't been a visual one. The benefit of Kultur is that it will enable us to share our practice-based research across our colleges and with other institutions.'

'It will also open up the art world, which will link up the often lone artist with the wider arts community,' Dr Carr added.

The pilot repository will be showcased at Whitechapel Art Gallery between 6-8pm tomorrow. The event will include presentations from Andy McGregor, JISC, Seymour Roworth-Stokes, Pro Vice Chancellor of Research at University for the Creative Arts, Andrew Carnie, Researcher at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton and Pat Christie, Director of Library and Learning Resources, University of the Arts.

Kultur was collaboration between all three institutions listed in partnership with the Visual Arts Data Service and EPrints. EPrints software developed in 2000 by the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science is used in hundreds of institutional repositories (IRs) around the world.

For information about Kultur, please visit: http://kultur.eprints.org/.