Archive for yodl

York Cause Papers, another Digital Library project

This morning sees the launch of the York Cause Papers images, the result of a JISC-funded rapid digitisation project which ran through to the summer of 2011. The Digital Library has been responsible for taking the scanned images and ingesting them into a Fedora Commons repository, using a configured version of our YODL interface. The HRI in Sheffield host and mange the searchable database of the Cause Papers, and have added links from this database to the image repository, hosted here in York.

The Cause Papers are a fascinating resource, with originals held in the Borthwick Institute for Archives. Further information about the papers and the project can be found in the University’s press release.

To search the York Cause Papers database and find page images Images may also be accessed directly from



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Exploring different approaches to getting stuff done

I’m probably not alone in having some budget to spend up before July, the University financial year end. Like most Universities, we’re year facing a lean year in 2011/12 , so I have been trying to make best use of the funds I have available, within the timeframe given.

As part of this, I’ve identified some pieces of technical work and put these out in an ITT.  The full ITT is available from:

In brief, the three pieces of work are:
1) Implementation of the University of York Archives Hub Spoke and archival stylesheet development

2) Re-usable EAD generation and conversion (from spreadsheets)

3) Implementing page turning and sequencing within a Fedora Commons repository

There are many more things we want to do in the Digital Library but I have chosen these three to help us get a feel for how this approach would fare in the community, whether there are contractors out there looking for small pieces of work like this.

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Developing Mobile Application for Education

On Wednesday 21st of July I attended an introductory event on how to develop on mobile devices (Symbian, Android, IPhone/IPad) and how to deliver mobile friendly web content. This event was hosted at the University of Reading and organised by the nice people from DevCSI a JISC funded initiative.

The event kicked off with Paul Raymond introducing the Symbian platform which runs on Nokia devices. Followed by a demonstration on how to create a simple “hello world” application which accepted a text input and responded with a greeting to the user.  The web runtime kit was chosen as development environment for Symbian. The web runtime kit had the advantage of using standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript to construct native mobile application for the platform. The installation experience and ease of use of the integrated development environment (IDE) compared favourably against Android and IPhone IDE’s. For more information see

Developing for the IPhone was presented by Sam Easterby-Smith, a demonstrator application similar to previous was demoed. Interleaved with a novel interactive session using balloons to demonstrate the memory management caveats on the IPhone, such as retention, sharing and memory leaks. While only an introduction further workshops will be held in Manchester for in depth coverage of development. Xcode the IDE for IPhone/IPad was more comprehensive than that of Symbian, while objective-c the development language was sufficiently different from Java/C# to merit further study.

The afternoon session started with Patrick H Laucke from Opera Software, presenting on Mobile Device Friendly Content for the Web.

A overview of the techniques considered:

  • Do nothing other than develop websites to standards; most mobile browser can view such sites albeit with resolution constraints.
  • Build separate mobile site, such as, avoid browser sniffing and redirects instead give users a choice between mobile and desktop. Refactor layout for mobile devices by reducing content on a page by reorganising and avoid removing features.
  • Build a single adaptive site, with techniques such as fluid layout, progressive enhancements, CSS 2 Media Types {screen, print, handheld}, and CSS3 Media Queries, reduce content delivered over the wire with CSS sprites etc to improve performance see work pioneered by Yahoo in this area

Arguments for using native applications vs web application was presented, native apps have the advantage of using phone features such as geolocation, access to camera, video and audio in the past, however these have since been offset by the availability of the same features in the HTML5 specification, which means browsers implementing the specification will have access features such as geolocation, access to camera and native playback of video and audio without the need for 3rd party plug-in. Geo location has useful applications in location sensitive search. For a demo of geolocation see (Firefox only on desktop browsers).

Further detail and installation instructions for the event can be found at

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First iteration of SWORD deposit tool is realeased

The first iteration of SWORD based deposit tool has been released. It offers a simple way to deposit a range of resources into different SWORD enabled repositories. As shown in the diagram below, the tool allows users to select resources and available repositories are provided for selected resources.
Sword deposit client
As shown in the diagram below, after uploading selected resources, basic metadata is extracted automatically and pre-filled in the metadata input fields. Once metadata is entered and ‘Deposit’ button is clicked, the tool will package up the resources and metadata and deposit them to the selected repository via SWORD endpoint.
SWORD deposit client

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Digital Library 2010 and beyond

It’s New Year and time for an update on what’s going on in the University of York Digital Library and to reflect on what is in store for the next year or so.

In terms of our core funding, this ends in the summer of 2010, with the JISC YODL-ING project funded until March 2011. These funding deadlines help frame our work for the next period and to fit in with this I have created a ‘roadmap‘ document, intended to show where we are planning to get to in the next 18 months. This document is still a ‘draft’, intended to be flexible enough to incorporate changes in direction if circumstances alter. As always, comments are very welcome about the document and the future direction of the Digital Library.

The project has now been around for a little over 2 years, with the first year being spent in recruiting staff, deciding on the architecture and establishing requirements. Since August 2008, a lot has happened, culminating in a York Digital Library (YODL) beta service which is now available for testing with public open access to some content and additional collections access controlled by University username and password. Other highlights from the past 2 years include our History of Art Image Service which, over the coming year, will see students of History of Art actively using YODL to view and download images; also, the Electronic Key Texts pilot which last year made a series of recommendations about how the Library could begin to offer course readings electronically, moves into phase 2 of the pilot to really test delivering content to selected Departments. Lastly, we have been part of another successful JISC bid and are now a partner on the Lifecycle strategies and architecture for regional e-content (LIFE-SHARE) project with Leeds as lead, Sheffield and JISC Digital Media.

For the coming months, a raft of developments are happening, including some performance enhancements, allowing York users to add their own content to YODL and a new improved interface. That’s aside from all the collections which will be coming on stream this year, including lots of images from History of Art, Archaeology, King’s Manor and the Borthwick Institute

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