Archive for November, 2008

Beyond Advocacy: A Bradford Master Class on Institutional Repositories

The slides and breakout session notes are now available at for the “Beyond Advocacy: A Bradford Master Class on Institutional Repositories” event.  York were represented with presentations from both Julie Allinson (Digital Library) and Rachel Proudfoot (White Rose Research Online).


Leave a Comment

Data curation, eScience and the White Rose Grid

On Thursday November 13th I attended an ‘e-Science Collaborative Workshop’, hosted by the White Roase Grid e-Science Centre in Sheffield.  The event was focussed on the notion of ‘data curation’ and included a number of practical presentations of curation ‘in action’, and also more informational presentations from those working to support digital preservation and curation.  A very quick overview follows and I’m hoping they will put up presentations soon so that others can have a look.

Joanna Schmidt who co-organised the event and gave an overview of the White Rose Grid:

Graham Pryor talked about the services of the Digital Curation Centre:

Martin Lewis covered the work of the UK Research Data Service (, in particular a feasibility study to look at all aspects of the research data lifecycle, from creation to retrieval, through review and re-use.

Darren Treanor gave the best presentation of the day about a project to build an open access repository of very high-quality images of tissue slide samples, which are used by pathologists to identify cancer and the like.  It’s an amazing resource, not just because the images are extremely detailed, but also because it would have been very easy for them to close off this content, but instead they put in a bit of extra effort to anonymise the samples and make them available freely. Virtual Pathology:

Sarah Jones talked about the Data Audit Framework (, a methodology and tool for auditing an institutionals research data management.

Mike Meredith from the Virtual Vellum project talked more about technology than the tool he has built, which is an open source application for viewing groups of images in JPEG 2000 format.  It looks interesting and potentially useful for the digital library project:

Frank Gibson presented CARMEN : Code analysis, repository & modelling for e-neuroscience (
CARMEN is an e-Science Pilot Project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK). “It will deliver a virtual laboratory for neurophysiology, enabling sharing and collaborative exploitation of data, analysis code and expertise. Neural activity recordings (signals and image series) are the primary data types”.  This is a large project with 20 scientific investigators across 11 institutions and £5m in funding.

Oh, and I presented on the digital library.  Presentation here:

Overall, it was an interesting event – good to see different things happening across White Rose and to meet a mixture of people involved in managing large datasets.

Leave a Comment

News from the Digital Library

It’s been a while since I’ve updated on the progress of our digital library project, and in particular the JISC-funded SAFIR phase which is set to complete at the end of December 2008.  Various people have been asking about the project so here’s a very quick overview of progress over the last few months.  Over the coming weeks I’ll provide some more focussed posts on different aspects of the project work.

Regarding the team – we’re now at full strength with Frank Feng and Peri Stracchino making up our crack technical team and Helen Savage giving us some digitisation power in History of Art and King’s Manor Library.  Matthew Herring and Lucy Jaques are still around doing a whole range of non-technical digital library things.  Matthew has worked specifically on metadata profiling and staffs the History of Art slide library three times a week, offering scanning and general image advice to Academics in the Department.  Lucy works half-time on White Rose Research Online (until next February) and the other half on policy creation and our new electronic key texts pilot.

Part of the reason for our quietness is that we’ve been working hard towards our end of the year deadline and with about 6 weeks to go, we still don’t have very much that can be show to the world.  Having said that though, we have a whole raft of things that are almost ready:

  • We’ve installed the fedora commons software and the muradora interface and are about to upgrade to the latest versions of both.
  • We have almost migrated a large chunk of data and metadata into the digital library software from History of Art and are just in the process of testing small samples before carrying out the grand migration.
  • We’ve been experimenting with access control and have a rough plan for controlling access to the History of Art data (something that we have to do for legal reasons).
  • We’ve created a customised form for creating metadata about images, with lots of nice features.  This is still in testing, but again, is almost ready.  We just have to figure out how to tie it into our larger workflow now (a non-trivial task!).
  • We’ve done a whole heap  of thinking about copyright, the CLA licence and licencing generally and are developing a set of guidelines, a digital image licence and a take-down policy which aims to get maximum public content from deposited images, whilst giving assurances to our depositors and copyright holders.
  • We’ve made a lot of decisions about how fedora will manage images, including what the metadata will be, what files sizes we use, how images will be deposited, how they will be licenced, how access control will work and so on.  This is all documented in the Content Model for Images, soon to be public.

In the wider sense, we have two main strands of work ongoing.  One is our image service for History of Art and King’s Manor – Matthew and Helen now staff the History of Art slide library every day in term-time for three hours, plus Helen spends 7 hours in King’s Manor (Tues/Thurs) re-filing slides, scanning and documenting the slide collections.  The second is our elextronic key texts pilot which is a small project to come up with recommendations for how the Library might extend its work into providing key texts electronically, to complement eBooks and electronic journals.  We have identified a small number of modules and will be exploring how best to acquire, store and make available electronic versions of articles or book chapters.

For more information, please do get in touch with me, subscribe to our blog ( or check out our web page for basic project info ( .  We’ll have a system to show people real soon now and I’ll be writing more about our progress over the coming weeks.

Julie Allinson (ja546 at

Leave a Comment