Meaning Making

“A place-name, then is a word, or word-complex, that withing one particular community– no matter whether great or small, but of a certain stability-instantly evokes the idea of one particular place through an association of contiguity.” (Olsen, 1928)

What happens if a place-name is not known or located with reference to other place-names and furthermore exists in another language such as the Thai language that  cannot be readily translated.

Reading the texts from people living in an area with unknown place-names led to a the uncertainty of being in an unfamiliar or strange space without marking posts to point the way. Lost in a jungle of test the reader could only stumble without a compass.

My project based on missionary life in Thailand had not been mapped primarily because of the lack of familiar place-names and lack of expertise about the Thai language. Google Maps displayed names in Thai with only the major cities depicted in the English language.

However, I found a Wikipedia map of Thai provinces, many of which were mentioned in the oral and written text of the collection I was working with, the Landon collection. In many cases, the capital city of the province in Thailand had the same name as the province which led to easier identification. However, it was difficult to georeference the location on a google map or other map because of the Thai names.

We do now have a map although imprecise and not as scholarly as a historical map which gives some indication of the relative locations of the different cities. If locations are identified, then the history and sociology of the location can lead to other insights about authorship. Were Chinese people living in this or that particular area of Thailand? How was the author, Margaret Landon, of Anna and the King of Siam influenced by her interaction with the Chinese or other people groups?

The location of the initial inspiration for Anna and the King of Siam has now been identified using a combination of textual media and a mapping media such as Neatline. Kenneth Landon’s association with places in Thailand is also significant historically as he provided information to the U.S government about areas in Thailand that were initially invaded by the Japanese in December, 1941. A glance at the history of the Japanese invasion of Thailand indicated that Kenneth Landon had lived in most of the areas in the Thai peninsula that were invaded by the Japanese. This connection may need to be explored as Landon’s influence on the US and the allies war in the Pacific may prove to be more significant than previously thought.

More discoveries await.








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Unit 13: Most Important Concepts and Lessons Learned

Principles of a Good Digital Collection
In Unit one, we were introduced to the Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections, (2007) a document created initially by a “A Digital Library Forum convened by the IMLS and working in collaboration with participants from the NSF’s National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library program” (Cole, 2001). This document defines the “goodness” of a digital collection as it applies to three primary features of a digital collection, digital collections, digital objects, metadata and digital initiatives For instance, nine principles are applied to the idea of a good digital collection. One of the principles is that a good digital collection is created according to an explicit collection development policy. From a management perspective, the section on digital initiatives provides invaluable guidance for the management of a digital initiative program in any library or institution.

Two statements, in particular, from the Framework of guidance document helped me as I planned my digital collection. The first statement encouraged the use of strategic thinking while not “strictly and unquestioningly” following any particular path, and choosing from a wide array of tools and processes to support the “unique goals and needs of each collection” (pg. 3). The second statement emphasized integrating with the user’s own context which was particularly important in may situation as I needed to create a collection mainly of Physics, Astronomy and Engineering materials based on the research interests of the faculty and undergraduate students in the Physics Department where I work.

Data about Data
My first challenge this semester was to create a Dublin Core application profile for my collection. I consider the application profile a crucial piece of creating a digital collection. The Arizona Memory Project Digital Project Guidelines were very helpful as these guidelines contain a number of Dublin Core Application profiles. The Dublin Core Application Profile provided the foundation for the different Dublin Core elements that I wanted to include in my collection. For instance, many Physics papers and materials are held in repositories such as ArXiv or the INSPIRS high-energy Physics repository and others so I included a Repository element.

Creating controlled vocabularies and an ontology with the OWL editor were invaluable experiences and showed me how important it is to construct these items for a digital collection. It is not all about the repository software!

Repository Software
I installed and configured four different repository systems, (Drupal, DSpace, Eprints, and Omeka) and built a digital collection in each repository system. Installing the repositories using Linux reinforced my Linux skills. Each system had a different installation procedure and different features so the hands-on experience I gained from using the different systems will enable me to select different repository systems for different collection needs. Eprints has  a number of features which make it an ideal choice for a collection of research papers which can be self-archived. DSpace has integrated Dublin Core elements into its software. Omeka and Drupal hve more visually appealing features like different themes and styles and more suitable for museum and cultural collections.

Management Discussions
The management discussions in our online forum considered the wider environment and how librarians could “manage” the transition to the era of “big data” and the transition from a largely print and paper based culture in libraries to the new reality of digital databases and repositories. Wendy Lougee , for instance, argues that “Libraries have been too inward looking” to “fully grasp critical changes in the digital landscape “ (Bottecelli, 2013). Lougee is the university librarian at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities and writes mainly form a library director’s perspective.

Another interesting aspect of the management discussion was the focus on papers about how librarians are working with researchers in the digital humanities fields and scientific fields to manage data and repositories. I found this material very helpful as I could readily apply it to my project of building a digital collection which Physics researchers would be using. Michael Witt, for instance, described how Purdue developed data curation initiatives in a campus-wide context. In particular, Witt described the development  of an institutional, digital data repository (Purdue University Research Repository (PURR) ) and service with the support of the campus research office. According to Witt, “One of the main objectives of this (PURR working group) group was to build opportunities for librarians to engage researchers and participate actively in data curation into the design of PURR” (pg. 178). Witt’s article gave me ideas about how I could interact with the researchers in my department as I plan my collection.

Cole, Timothy. Creating a Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections. First Monday, [S.l.], may. 2002. ISSN 13960466. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 18 Nov. 2013. doi:10.5210/fm.v7i5.955.

Lougee, Wendy (2009)The Diffuse Library Revisited: Aligning the Library as Strategic Asset. Library Hi-Tech 27(4)

Witt, Michael (2012) “Co-designing, Co-developing, and Co-implementing an Institutional Data Repository Service,” Journal of Library Administration 52 (2)

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IRLS Unit 12: Virtualization and Pedagogy

This week we were asked to discus whether or not we would like pre-configured virtual machines to work with  instead of building our own virtual machine to work with different repositories. I googled the words “virtual machine and pedagogy” and found some research has been done on the pedagogical use of virtual machines.

Advantages of Pre-Installed Virtualization
The advantages of using a pre-installed virtual machine for the instructor include less time troubleshooting virtual machines (VM) on different operating platforms as in our online class. As Gaspa and Sousa state, “Difficulties in the multi platform deployment and use of pedagogical

Virtual Machines can have an annoying impact in the success of a compilers construction course. “ They also state that “the VM multi-platform deployment is not easy and becomes usually problematic for students.” Gaspar and De Sousa proposed a web-based host platform for pedagogical virtual machines to overcome these problems.

Pre-configured virtual machines would provide more time to work on building the digital collections in the different repositories. It took approximately two hours to install a different virtual machine for each repository and I would have liked to learn more about the repository software so that I could have created some innovative digital collections. Exploring new ideas takes time which was not available in the course as the course took more time than the usual graduate course of about 15-20 hours per week.

Virtual Machines and ELearning
NextGen Education, an e-learning company is already using pre-installed virtual machines for teaching purposes while combining this use with other pedagogical techniques such as using multimedia to highlight major concepts. See

NextGen  also uses  instructor and student forums where students can pose question such as we did in our course. The forums in our course were extremely helpful in resolving a number of issues with the installation of the different repositories and other software that needed to be installed. NextGen also provides instructor to instructor forums and this may be an interesting idea to incorporate for instructors teaching virtual machine based courses at the University of Arizona. I found the forums invaluable in resolving many issues.

One of the largest course management systems companies, Blackboard, also uses pre-installed virtual machines for some of their developer courses. See

Advantages of  Using a Virtual Machine that is not Pre-installed.
I valued the opportunity to learn about  using Linux commands which are extremely important in working with open-source software. Hand-on tasks with the commands, although time-consuming, are one of the best ways to learn different software tasks. Understanding the commands will enable me to troubleshoot repository systems more efficiently and effectively. I also valued the opportunity to learn at my own pace and in some cases experiment with the different commands. It also gave me some more time for troubleshooting which would not be as easy to accomplish with a pre-installed virtual machine. Similar pedagogical advantages were identified in a paper by T.S Chou (2011) where students used virtualization technology to simulate real-world attacks in a virtual environment.

Although virtualization is being increasingly used in the academic and business community as a teaching tool there does not appear to be as much interest in the effectiveness of using pre-installed virtual machines as a teaching tool. Using a pre-installed virtual machine while concentrating on building an innovative digital collection is a good idea but would be similar to creating a web page without using HTML code. The student would not understand the code and could not troubleshoot effectively to fix any issues that arose with the coding. Another course in the DigIn program, however, on building advanced digital collections using pre-installed virtual machines may be a good development if the first course in the series concentrated more on the installation and configuration of the digital collection.

Chou, T.S. (2011). Development of an Intrusion Detection and Prevention Course Project Using Virtualization Technology. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 7(2), 46-55. Retrieved November 14, 2013 from

Nuno Gaspar and Simão Melo de Sousa. A Web-based Host Platform for Pedagogical Virtual Machines. 9th IFIP World Conference on Computers in Education 2009 – WCCE’09. Bento Gonçalves, Brazil. [pdf]

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IRLS 675 Unit 11: Repository Homesites

This week we were asked to discuss our impressions of the home websites such as of the repositories we have looked at so far.

I decided to use some principles for good navigation and other  user- friendly principles from the field of information architecture and see if the repository websites are lacking. See the section on Getting the Website Architecture Right from

I looked at these principles in particular;
1.In good navigation design, links look clickable.
2. Is there consistent, reliable global navigation?
3. Each page must do two things:

      1. Help the user accomplish one specific task (including finding information about what they need help with in documentation.)
      2. Make the next step easy to access.
        Offer the right help at the right moment in the most unobtrusive way possible.

4. Focus on what users of your website need.

Drupal  has just upgraded to Drupal 7 which may impact the design of the webiste. The horizontal links on the Drupal .org homesite change when the user rolls over the navigation links such as Documentation, and Get Started. The Drupal homepage can be accessed from any of the subwebsites such as Documentation. In other words, the navigation is consistent and global. The Documentation site has many categories such as Installation Guide and the user can find exactly what is needed. The Support site has an impressive number of categories including forums and training. The search box refines the search to different categories in the website such as Modules. A search for Bookmarks module brought up a number of module which can be further refined by the version of Drupal. The Module search function has been very helpful to me as a user.

The main Eprints website at has a number of categories displayed that focus on the user’s needs such as Documentation and Training Materials. The documentation website is a wiki and has a different navigation plan than the main website. However, material on installation and How-to-Guides are easy to find.  A number of tasks are described in the How-to section but there is a more link.  “More” links may confuse the user at times. The site uses a Google search form but the search is not refined as on the Drupal website.

The DSpace website navigation menu at has both horizontal and vertical navigation. Navigation is consistent throughout the website with the horizontal and vertical system being repeated on every page. DSpace also provides a sitemap at which may be useful for some users. Search again is not refined as in Drupal. DSpace has some FAQ’s like the EndUser FAQ guide at The navigation at the FAQ site is not consistent with the main navigation and uses a Duraspace logo which could be confusing for new users.

Omeka has  a nice global navigation menu with categories such as Showcase and Documentation. The Documentation section ahs many different categories including Working with Omeka Admin and a Getting Started section. Each section is further subdivided. A vertical menu on the left documentation side provides easy access to screencasts. Drupal also has screencasts but not as organized as Omeka. See perhaps as users can often upload their own Drupal videocasts as is not the case at Omeka. It appears that Omeka is very much focused on the user as it states in part of the Final Grant Report for the IMLS Grant at

“We are especially pleased to report that the Library of Congress has recently awarded CHNM and its partners at University of Virginia’s Scholars’ Lab nearly $700,000 over two years to fund regular point releases, improved documentation, development community support, user studies, key enhancements to the plugin API, and a set of geo-temporal visualization tools.”

Harvester and JHove
The OpenHarvester site at only has an Administrator’s guide which can be downloaded as a .pdf and well as a README guide which includes installation instructions. No screencasts are provided and no screenshots of the software are provided. The Admin guide is useful but could some more of theis documentation be put on the website. The Wiki page under the Support  navigation menu at the left of the website leads to User Documentation which is difficult to find. When Harvester Community Documentation page is clicked it leads to a blank page at

The JHove page at is similar to the OpenHarvester website in that is  not as well developed as the other websites that I looked at. However, it does have good global and consistent navigation. The documentation section is not broken down into categories that are friendly to a novice user or non-programmer. See No screenshots are available and not screencasts. It would also be difficult to find specific information on the website as there is no search function.

Either Drupal or Omeka would be good choices for repositories based on the state of their websites Ease of use in a website is important for a number of reasons. Finding information fast is essential in a fast-paced working assignment. However, I do not believe that the ease of use of a website and the organization of the documentation should be an essential factor for my final selection criteria for choosing a repository. Technical factors and other factors are very important and rate higher in many cases.

Drupal is a typical open-source website but still has good organizational aspects including a global navigation. However, as users can contribute to the website some aspects of the website could be confusing and not as well organized. Drupal has made a good effort to provide documentation that is helpful to users and has a good search function. Omeka is also friendly to users, well-organized and has a good navigation system. Both Eprints and DSpace are less friendly and use wikis. It my be more difficult to find what the user is looking for on these websites although both have good navigation. OpenHarvester and JHove do not have well developed websites and are lacking in user friendly  documentation on their websites. OpenHarvester has a search function but JHove does not and JHove seems to be geared to programmers and not general users.

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IRLS 675 UNIT 10: Open Access Harvesting Services

Open Access Harvesting: Service Providers Review
My task this week is to review the list of service providers at and also and examine three service providers. I am primarily interested in what features could be used for a good ”federated collection.” Two of the service providers I reviewed are very large, OAISter and BASE while the third service provider is a subject-based service provider in the Library and Information Science field.

OAISter’s website states thatOAIster ”includes more than 30 million records representing digital resources from more than 1,500 contributors.” The record are harvested form collections worldwide and OAIster is accessible through WorldCat. A list of contributing repositories is not available for OAISter on its website and in many cases the links of the items listed go to the individual repository or collection website.

A keyword search for metadata harvesting brought up 1558 records. The search results can be refined by a number of formats including archival material, by author, by year, by language and by topic. The main advanced search page also limits search by format and author as well as a number of other items. Such as the unusual audience term which can be juvenile or non-juvenile. Some items that I clicked on had dead links but  this was not the norm. The user also has the ability to add reviews and tags for an individual item.


OAISter Advance Search

DLIST Digital Library of Information Science and Technology (DLIST) according to its website  “is a cross-institutional, subject-based, open access digital archive for the Information Sciences, including Archives and Records Management, Library and Information Science, Information Systems, Digital Curation, Museum Informatics, records management and other critical information infrastructures.” It is, however, currently closed to new submissions

DLIST is part of the University of Arizona Campus Repository and is among a number of different collections in a DSpace repository. It has a comprehensive Dublin Core metadata record. See an individual record at

Advanced search is not as comprehensive as the BASE advanced search and the item record does not identify the individual repository. A number of filters are available such as Date Issued and Journal. A search for metadata harvesters in using the Description filter returned 375 records which can be sorted by title, issue date, submit date and relevance.

DLIST Advance Search

DLIST Advance Search

No list of repository providers is currently available on the website but an earlier version of the repository did contain such a list. See The bundling of the DLIST repository with the other Arizona repositories is confusing and may be a deterrent to the user. Every item can be exported and shared via services such as Facebook and Twitter.

One of the most innovative service providers is probably the BASE search engine. According to a Wikipedia article it is based search technology developed by  Fast Search and Transfer (FAST) a Norwegian company. See

BASE is one of the “world’s most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources” and is operated by Bielefeld University Library  in Bielefeld, Germany. It provides more than 50 million documents and as such is larger than OAISTER. See

According to the Registered Services Provider website,  “BASE integrates scientific OAI-resources as one information type among others into the local digital library environment, together with catalogues, article databases, digitized collections. The search interface features many characteristics of internet search engines, thus offers a new type of search interface for a local digital library. BASE uses the search technology of FAST Search & Transfer. To learn more about the project see

Documents can be browsed using the Dewey Decimal Classification number and the document type. Document types include videos, audio, and software.  It has a number of services for users including a website for mobile devices. See

The Advanced Search limits results by country or region such as Europe or North America and by publication date. Full-text searches of documents are also available. Search statics are available and my search for “plasma” in the Subject field resulted in 54,022 hits over 52 million documents in 0.62 seconds. Only 5403 documents were returned for the subject search. The name of the collection where the paper or other document is stored is clearly visible at the bottom of the search result.

BASE Advance Search

BASE Advance Search

Features such as checking in Google Scholar, Adding to Favorites, Correct the Dewey Classification number, emailing and exporting records are available for users. Services are also provided for database and repository managers such as the integration of the BASE interface into their own local system. BASE has an excellent Browsing tool which uses the Dewey Decimal Classification and which would be very useful in narrowing the number of records for each subject, for instance, in Physics.

base search 3

BASE Browsing Tool

OAISter and BASE are very large service providers but have different search interfaces. The interfaces have used many similar terms but I fail to see how limiting search to an audience who is juvenile or non-juvenile is helpful to researchers, faculty and students in particular. BASE’s Browse tool is excellent as is its search interface. It is also fast and has a number of features such as Save to Favorites. BASE is also listed as a top ten search website for researchers on JISC’s website DLIST’s search features are not as extensive and the user could easily be confused with trying to search the other repositories in the University of Arizona system instead of DLIST.

Indrani and Thulasi (2009) provide a checklist of search features for service providers that is similar to the Advanced search features in both BASE and OAISter but also point out that each archive follows “their own rules in rendering information related to various metadata fields, users face difficulty in performing efficient search and retrieval from individual Service Providers. They conclude that, “Standardization in rendering information for all metadata elements is also very essential.”

CORE Repository Blog

Top Ten Resources for Researchers


Indrani, V., & Thulasi, K. (n.d.). A comparative study of the search and retrieval features of OAI harvesting services. (International Conference on Semantic Web and Digital Libraries (ICSD-2007). ARD Prasad & Devika P. Madalli (Eds.): ICSD-2007.) DRTC. Retrieved from

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IRLS 675 Unit 9: Subject Listings, Keywords, Tags, Categories and Facets.

My collection is a collection of Physics and Astronomy material that is composed of  papers and research data that students and faculty of the Physics department in my college will be using for their work. They will be both uploading files and downloading files. A comparison of the different ways that Drupal, DSpace and EPrints deal with subject listings, keywords, tags, categories and facets will help me to design a repository that best suits my users’ needs.

Subject Headings
It is difficult to know how experts with doctorates in Physics or Astronomy will use keywords for their own or other researchers’ work. For this reason, I decided to use a combination of tagging provided by the users of my collection and using some broad terms for subject headings that I choose from the material submitted. As I have a background in Physics, I understand many of the terms used and their significance. However, the repositories I am working with, (Drupal, DSpace and EPrints) have different options for implementing controlled vocabularies which could be used as subject headings.

Too Broad?
Keywords or subject headings that are broad could generate too many answers. For instance, seven of my total of  ten digital items can be found using the subject term Physics in EPrints. However, I have used uncontrolled keywords in Eprints which gives me a narrower set of results such as two items when I use the keyword “plasma.” Uncontrolled keywords  can also be submitted in Drupal and DSpace.

My Eprints Subject Headings

My Eprints Subject Headings

Controlled Vocabulary and Metadata Fields
As Heather Hedden (2010) suggests, “not every metadata field needs to have a controlled vocabulary.” Fields such as the title field and the size and date fields do not need a controlled vocabulary according to Hedden. However, I did put digital item authors into a controlled vocabulary field in Drupal to minimize spelling mistakes as many of the authors are employees or students in the Physics Dept. where I work. This would be the only reason to have a controlled vocabulary for authors and follows Hedden’s (pg. 280) suggestion. It is much easier to create such a controlled vocabulary for authors  in Drupal than in Eprints or DSpace. The only reason for not having such a vocabulary is the use of external authors which I will also be using in my collection.

Most experts agree that the problem of consistency or labeling information in a consistent way can be overcome by controlled vocabularies. See For instance, different users will create different terms for the same digital object and if they pick terms form a controlled vocabulary, then there will be less of a problem with labeling the object in a consistent way.

Non-Preferred Terms
Hedden (2010) discusses why it is important to include soem non-preferred terms in controlled vocabularies. Non-preferred terms, according to Hedden (2010) “may be near-synonyms, alternate spellings, grammatical / lexical variants, slang or technical versions, phrase inversions, acronyms and so on.” Since some of my users will be student, it would be good to have some non-preferred terms in my controlled vocabulary. For instance, exoplanets my be a term that is misunderstood by some students and I could include the phrase, “planets external to our solar system” to describe such a planet. This would be easier to implement in Drupal than in Eprints or DSpace.

Categories and Facets
A number of DSpace repsoitories enable searching by Subject, Title, Type and Authors. See the DSpace at Cambridge search page at  Users can browse these different categories in DSpace. However both Drupal and Eprints use advanced search for items such as format or type and most of the other categories Drupal has the capacity with the Views module to create a number of different categories and facets that would be useful to users of the system but Eprints does not have such a module. Eprints has a number of  plug-ins and more plug-ins could be developed to facilitate browsing by categories and facets.

Tagging by Users
Hedden (2010) suggests in ”The Accidental Taxonomist”  that “the wording that is most likely to be looked up by the intended users/audience- in other words the preferred language of the taxonomy’s target population-should take precedence  over other criteria” (pg. 79) in choosing preferred terms for a controlled vocabulary. This is the primary reason why I think users need to tag or add uncontrolled keywords as my collection is built. The perspective of a researcher with a PhD in Physics or Astronomy is much different than the perspective of a student researcher or a the creator of the collection and may lead to much different sets of keywords. If users participate in the selection of  keywords and terms, then they will find the digital collection much easier to search and browse. As the creator of the system, I will gather invaluable information on how users could search the digital collection.


Hedden, H. (2010). The Accidental Taxonomist. Medford, NJ: Information Today Inc.

Hedden, H. (2010). Taxonomies and controlled vocabularies best practices for metadata. Journal of Digital Asset Management 6, 279 – 284. doi: 10.1057/dam.2010.29


2013 Open Repositories Conference

Search User Interface proposal for Subject Repositories: DSpace implementation for Retrieved from

Presentation on DSpace implementation for

DSpace Discovery: Unifying DSpace Search and Browse with Solr

Earlier Version of DSpace

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IRLS675 Unit 8: DSpace, Drupal, and Eprints Compared

Eprints Installation Compared to Drupal and DSpace
A number of ways to install Eprints 3 are listed on the website. The class used the install Eprints 3 via apt with Debian Linux using an Ubuntu server. See The sources list needed to be modified using $ sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list and the eprints software  websites needed to be added to the sources file.   After this, the command $ sudo aptitude install eprints  was used to install eprints.

Eprints uses the typical LAMP stack of MySQL and Apache webserver software wheras DSpace uses a Tomcat server and the PostgreSQL database. DSpace code needs to be compiled and built with Ant and Maven which are Java tools which means that Java software needs to be installed as well when installing DSpace. In our particular system, the build step needed to have Java 6 instead of Java 7 installed. I installed Java 7 and tried to install Java 6 after Java 7 did not work with the build step. This did not work so I had to go back to a snapshot of my virtual machine and install Java 6. The snapshot was taken at a point where no Java software was installed so I did save some time using the snapshot method.

Drupal 7 uses the MySQL database, the Apache webserver, and PHP. The basic steps used to install Drupal are as follows from the website:

Drupal is not initially configured as a repository similar to Eprints and DSpace but it does have modules like a Dublin core module that can be used as a repository feature.

Drupal’s installation documentation is easier to work with than Eprints and DSpace’s documentation. However, the class used specific installation instructions prepared by the instructor Bruce Fulton which minimized the risk of mistakes. Documentation  has never been instructionally robust with open source software. Drupal has made a number of improvements to its documentation. The DSpace installation documentation is the least helpful.

Drupal 7 is much more easier to customize than Eprints or Dspace. For instance, changing a theme with Drupal is as easy as going to Administer –> Appearance and choosing your theme. See However, creating a specific theme involves some programming. See I tried to install the Eprints 3 glass theme. See but this is not as easy a process as switching to a Drupal theme. Changing a theme in Eprints requires configuration at the Linux command line. DSpace has two interfaces, the Jspui interface and the Manakin interface. Both DSpace and Eprints require using the command line Linux interface to change the repository names unlike Drupal which is much more flexible.

Screenshot of DSpace item description entry page

Screenshot of DSpace item description entry page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The functionality of both DSpace and Eprints is limited compared to Drupal. DSpace and Eprints focus on repository features such s Dublin core metadata as in DSpace, subject headings as in EPrints but both have good search features. According to, Drupal has 24,105 modules as of October 18, 2013. However, the number of modules that can be used for repository websites is smaller than this and will depend on how the Drupal4lib community group develops. I installed the Flag module with Drupal and I may install the Organizing Bookmarks module to bring some added features to the Drupal repository.

Eprints has an easier installation process than Drupal and DSpace. Customization in Drupal is easier than in DSpace and Eprints. Drupal also has much more functionality but Eprints and DSpace are more suitable for configuring metadata. Drupal is developing its capability with metadata as a Dublin Core module is now available. Some commercial customization may be possible for some organizations. For instance, Atmire customized the DSpace Dryad interface. See

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IRLS 675: Unit 7: New Features for Repositories

New Features for Repositories?
This week our blog topic is optional so I decided to examine possible new features for my repository collection. I tried to examine questions such as what does the scholarly community require in a repository collection or what services could be added to enhance the content and usage of a repository.

Repositories, User Needs, and Usability
When I started to examine how repository creators plan their repository project, I was startled to find out that according to a census of institutional repositories in the US by Karen Markey et al only 35.4% of those who implemented institutional repositories in the US did a user needs assessment. As usability assessments and user needs assessments are widely used in web development, a field in which I have some experience, I am very aware of the value of such development in helping to drive traffic to websites. Could the same ideas be used in the development of repositories?

A search of the literature revealed that some scholars were already investigating the usability of institutional repositories. Kim & Kim (2008) examined “improvements for better usability of a digital institutional repository – the dCollection.” They used the FRBR model concepts to the search and browser functions of a digital repository as well as to the metadata submission process. For instance, they recommended adding three more terms to the search function department, publication year and thesis adviser.  According to Kim & Kim, “The FRBR is a recommendation of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to restructure catalog databases to reflect the conceptual structure of information resources.

Services to Enhance Content and Usage
Other commentators argue that a publication repository should “first and foremost” be “a tool at the service of researchers” (Armbruster & Laurent, 2010). Their own work, for instance, should be available as a “personal archive” which can easily be created using Drupal modules such as the Organizing Bookmarks module. A publication repository, Armbruster and Laurent, (2010) state “can become an essential aspect of the management of their research process” and the scientist should “feel at ease” managing the editing workflow which could encompass, illustrations and data excerpts. The scientist could have a workspace within the repository.

Other suggestions from Armbuster and Laurent (2010) to enhance usage include the ease of submission to the repository. They suggest “simplified deposit forms with reduced mandatory fields, direct connection to major subject based repositories (Arxiv, PMC) where the paper may already have been referenced, availability of a “favorite co-authors” list, and eventually automatic metadata extraction from the document.”

Another idea proposed by Armbuster and Laurent is the generation of web pages  as a “presentation and communication tool for users of the repository.” The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, for instance, has the main department web page at but this page sits on top of the repository (The Language Archive) at As Armbuster and Laurent state, “When linked to a Content Management

System, an automated generation of web pages can be seamlessly integrated with a laboratory web site.” This could easily be accomplished with the designation of a home page in Drupal which is itself a content management system.


Hyun Hee Kim, Yong Ho Kim, (2008) “Usability study of digital institutional repositories”, Electronic Library, The, Vol. 26 Iss: 6, pp.863 – 881 – DOI:10.1108/02640470810921637

Karen Markey, Soo Young Rieh, Beth St. Jean, Jiyhun Kim, and Elizabeth Yakel, Census of institutional repositories in the United States: MIRACLE Project Research Findings, Washington, D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2007,

Romary, Laurent and Chris Armbruster (2010) Beyond Institutional Repositories. International Journal of Digital Library Systems 1(1) 44-61.

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IRLS 675 Unit 6: DSpace Installation

This week I installed DSpace. The process for DSpace installation is different than a Drupal installation and our particular installation of DSpace used a Tomcat server. The general steps to do the install are outlined in the graphic and the install was completed using Unbuntu Linux commands.


DSpace Installation Process

The only difficulty I had was when installing the Java Development Kit or using the command $ sudo aptitude install openjdk-7-jdk I got a Build Failure message and found out that another classmate was experiencing the same difficulty as the classmate posted in the discussion forum. This happened at step four. I then tried installing the previous version by using $ sudo aptitude install openjdk-6-jdk However, this did not work and I reverted to a snapshot in my virtual machine which did not have the openjdk-7-jdk install. Running the install with just the openjdk-6-jdk version worked. Apparently, getting the correct JDK is vital to the installation process. See for another report of a similar DSpace installation.  The experiment was worth trying as it may have saved me some time. The Maven build process took a surprising 18 minutes.

The installation instructions we used prepared by Bruce Fulton were comprehensive and much better than the instructions at These instructions do not cover the addition of a dspace user giving the user a password dspace, making a dspace directory and giving ownership of the directory to the dspace user: and other tasks I needed to complete for the installation.

Addition of a dspace User

$ sudo useradd -m dspace

$ sudo passwd dspace

$ sudo mkdir /dspace

$ sudo chown dspace /dspace

(From the DSpace Installation Guide by Bruce Fulton, University of Arizona)

Installation Changes
It is always a good idea with open source to continually review installation options and other options used in configuring the software as there may be frequent changes depending on the development activity in the open source community. The instructions at seem to be more compatible with my installation of Dspace but not complelty compatible.

Installation options can change in DSpace as can be seen in the section on the Overview of Install Options at
which discusses the options installers have with the “advent of a new Apache Maven 2 based build architecture.”  The Overview of DSpace Directories at the same website would be a good addition to our installation instructions.

Maven Build Process
The Maven build process is described very well at as is the Ant install. The screenshots of the Maven and Ant process are helpful especially if the installer is not familiar with DSpace. A stated previsously, I was surprised at the time Maven took to complete the build and it may also be helpful to point this out to beginners.

Finally, I think that I would need help from a systems specialist to figure out the instructions for installing DSpace. Having a background in Linux is very helpful as I can recognize the Linux commands but the documentation on DSpace is not well-developed and could be confusing to beginners without a strong systems background. Most open source software communities do not have official documentation and it takes some time to figure out something like an installation process  or how the open source software works. Drupal’s documentation has improved over time and hopefully DSpace’s docuemntation will also as this is a crucial step in attracting more users. Make the installation easy!

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IRLS 675 Unit 5: Drupal Modules

Drupal for Dummies

Drupal for Dummies (Photo credit: rport)

This week I configured Drupal 7 and installed fields from my application profile. I have worked with Drupal before but I have never used or configured Drupal for a digital collection. For instance, I have used the Views module before but not as a major tool in creating a digital collection. I have always been impressed with the flexibility  of Views even the module is not the easiest to work with.

Organizing Material
However, as I am designing a collection of Physics material for students and researchers at my institution, I thought it would be a good idea to have a way for people to organize their own material in the collection. Could they, for instance, bookmark material that they are interested in?

Bookmarks and the Flag Module
After researching some option on the website, I discovered the Flag module ( which integrates with the Views module. I had no problems installing and enabling the Flags module. The Flag module has a number of ways that it can “flag” content. Some uses include bookmarks and listing favorite documentation. Each user can flag an individual item and each user can have their own favorites or bookmarks. For more on the Flags module see and the page at

When I installed the Flags module I expected the Bookmark This link to appear at the end of my Physics content type article. However, this did not happen. To enable bookmarks I had to go to Structure–>Flag  and then selected the bookmark flag. The bookmarks flag was already created but had to be configured for my collection. I had to scroll down to Bundles and under Bundles, I had to select the content type which is the Physics content type. This worked and when I came back to view some of my Physics items, the bookmark link appeared at the bottom. I also had a bookmarks tab which I could go to see some of my bookmarks. As the Flag module integrates with the Views module, the bookmarks tab contains a view which can be edited. See for a screenshot of Bundles.

Favorites and the Flag Module
Next, I tried to configure a flag called favorites which could mark a user’s chosen Physics items as favorites and produce a list of these favorites as a tab on the user’s page. I had to install the Views Flag Refresh module for this project. This website has a list of instructions for creating the favorites flag which I used and will be helpful in creating other types of Flags.

The favorites flag needs a view so that the user can see their favorites. The filter “published” should be used with this View as should the relation to Flags in the Views menu. The favorites flag will be specific to different users if  you choose the user:id option when you configure Views.

See a video on Favorite Documentation pages at

I have to configure my favorites View correctly for different users as it is currently not working correctly and I am getting every user’s favorites under the favorites tab. I will need to look at the Views configuration and may be able to solve the problem by investigating the bookmarks view which is also customized for different users.

Useful Websites

For more on the Flags module see;

On using Drupal for a Virtual Research Environment see;

This website deals with Drupal 6 but has excellent ideas that could be implemented in Drupal 7. See the discussion on Taxonomy and vocabulary.

For a Bookmark Organizer Module see;

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