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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IRLS 675 Unit 4: Drupal and Digital Collections

drupal icon, svg version

drupal icon, svg version (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Going Digital with Drupal Collections
This week our task is to consider how suitable Drupal might be for our collections. I am creating a Physics Collection for the students and faculty at my local college. The students are undergraduate students and the faculty are actively involved in research at the college. Students will be using the collection so it will be important to have them use search terms that are familiar to them. I can easily create a field in Drupal where users such as students can input search terms. Having a student user define subject terms would be beneficial as experts such as Physics faculty will sue different search terms. A collection of the terms that students use would be valuable to the collection.

Drupal Advantages
The Science, Humanities, and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives lists a number of advantages that Drupal has for developing content-based projects. “Drupal is ideal for content-based projects that seek to organize and connect a variety of media and data. With its fine grained system of permissions and its ability to create and link arbitrary content types, Drupal is ideal for projects where the goal is to link as many things as possible, and to discover, in the process, the patterns that connect them. “ See

The House Divided Project at Dickinson college is just one examples of how Drupal can be used to build a digital collection. See For a good description of the collection see This project has over 10,000 items in its collection.

Authorization and Permissions
Drupal is able to accommodate users with various roles and authorizations. Since there will be some research documents in this collection, some users may want access restricted to the public and have research documents used primarily by internal users.  Internal users need to upload documents but special permission needs to be granted for inputting and configuring the Dublin Core elements needed for the document or other artifact that will be uploaded.

Drupal is also interoperable with a number of other systems. An example of this interoperability is the integration of Drupal  with Kaltura to create Mediabase, an audio-video collection at the University of Virginia. See In this case metadata can easily be attached to the items uploaded. The system also has faceted browsing searching enabled through the Solr search platform. An example of the PB Core metadata associated with the system can be viewed at

Virtual Research Environment
As Drupal has many modules available I could easily create a Virtual Research Environment where students and faculty could collaborate remotely on different projects. GoogleDocs is not an efficient collaborative platform for most people! An example of how different Drupal modules can be used in a Virtual Research Environment can be viewed at Although the sample VRE described at this website created with Drupal 6, most of the modules described are available in Drupal 7. I could use the Views module in a similar way in my collection. The Glossary module (See which “helps newbies understand the jargon which always crops up when specialists talk about a topic”  could be very useful for my purposes as I will have an audience of students and experts. However, the Glossary module has not yet been developed for Drupal 7.

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IRLS 675 Unit 3: Technical Assignments

screenshot of TurnKey Linux Drupal appliance

screenshot of TurnKey Linux Drupal appliance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Assessing Technical Assignments
For Unit three we need to access the pace of the tech assignments so far in the IRLS 675 course. As I am now familiar with the Linux command interface, I do not have to spend as much time trying to understand the commands. The command cd, for instance,  means change directory and is a command that is used often in many of the installations that we are configuring so my cognitive load or cognitive processing trying to understand Linux is not as overwhelmed.

Two Technical Issues
However, this does not minimize technical issues. I try to get my technical assignments done early in the class week so that I can have time to figure out any issues. This week, for Unit Three, I had two issues. My first issue was trying to configure the Apache file so that I could restart Apache and the second was trying to get past the Drupal requirements error page so that I could finally install Drupal.

I got a Directory Closed issue when I tried to configure the Apache file.
First I wrote <Directory /var/www/drupal>AllowOverride all<Directory> in the configuration file. The above was all on one line.Then after examining the configuration file I noticed the text on separate lines so I wrote on three separate lines.

<Directory /var/www/drupal>
AllowOverride all
Once I rearranged the syntax, everything worked. However, this could have been a simple typo such as /varw Instead of /var Syntax is important!

Drupal Requirements
The other issue I had was with Drupal requirements when I began to install Drupal. I got a message stating that Drupal requires you to enable the PHP extensions in the following list. The list contained the  name .gd  I thought that I had run this particular install by using
$ sudo aptitude install php5-gd
However, I kept getting an error message failed to fetch from a ubnutu website even though I pinged Wikipedia successfully. My pinging of Wikipedia indicated that there were no connectivity issues with my machine.

I posted in the Activity area in the online forum but I also noticed another student had posted about the same .gd problem and the failure of apache to restart. This student ran the aptitude update and install again using the following commands
$ sudo aptitude update
$ sudo aptitude upgrade

so I thought that it would be a good idea to do this. I reasoned that I may not have downloaded and installed the correct files when I first tried to run the update and install.  The second update and install process was much slower than the first install and update and many more packets of software were installed. I am working with a host computer that has a wireless connection to the Internet so the first update/install procedure may not have downloaded all that need to be downloaded. The install php5-gd command worked this time without giving me a Failed to Fetch message and apache restarted successfully. I was also able to complete the Drupal 7 installation as I could now get past the requirements error page in Drupal.

Troubleshooting Pace
It is much easier to troubleshoot as I now have some experience of Linux. However, this does not mean that technical assignments can be completed in less time especially  when there are unexpected technical issues. It would be a good idea to build in some time for troubleshooting into the assignments pace for IRLS 675.

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IRLS 675 Unit 2: Content Management Systems

English: Does Your Website Need a Web Content ...

English: Does Your Website Need a Web Content Management System? This fun flowchart can help you decide which features you’ll need for your website, and whether or not you’ll need a content management system such as Joomla, Drupal or WordPress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Content Management Sytems Implementation
For this unit I had to pick an article in  a special issue of Library Hi Tech on content management systems (Vol. 24, issue 1, 2006), summarize it, and discuss it.

Michae Seadle’s editorial for the issue on content management states that Dr. Bradford Eden organized the special issue to “explore some of the key issues in implementing Content Management Systems or CMS’s. The articles in the issue range from developing home-grown CMS’s to migrating a library’s web site to a commercial CMS to change management issues.

Beyond HTML
I choose to examine the article by Doug Goans, Guy Leach and Teri M. Vogel on “Beyond HTML; Developing and re-imagining library web guides in a content management system.” The article reports on the implementations for a web content management system in Georgia State University Library (GSU) that was designed to “manage the 30 web-based research guides developed by the subject liaison librarians.” The system was designed using MySQL and ASP. The case-study by Goans et al describes the migration from a “FrontPage-based web site with minimal login security, site architecture planning, and administrative and editorial processes in place.” Before the implementation of the new system, “liaisons were given complete control of their guides as well as direct, barrier-free access to manage their pages on the web server.”

Content Management Features
The article describes some of the major reasons for using content management systems which are design consistency and limiting access to users for particular purposes. A website that has uncontrolled access could easily crash and not function well if, for instance, errors in coding were made on the website.

In my experience, moving a library website to Drupal, consisted of cleaning up HTML code that had been entered by non-expert librarians instead of the Systems or programming staff. The code could have crashed the new Drupal website. Examples of code entered by non-esperts included broken links, HTML with no opening and closing tags and so on.  This may be too common a scenario in some libraries where information technology staff is limited or non-existent. However, Goans et al’s article does not deal with this scenario.

Why are Gatekeepers Important?
As the article states, “Some libraries adopt CMS technology because they want to reduce the “gatekeeper”effect by eliminating barriers that limit library staff from contributing to the web site” (pg. 32). However, in GSU’s case a state comparable to the wild-west web existed. The lack of technological and managerial barriers led to a situation where the web guides were extremely diverse with different fonts, colors and layouts. The minimal security on the website which was implemented led to a situation where anyone could publish at any time and resulted in one case in  the deletion of the liaisons’sub-web which took many hours to restore. Librarians may want unlimited access to library websites in some cases but it is not a good practice to grant such access to librarians unless they have some expertise in technological issues. The article is a good illustration of what happens with the wild-west effect!

Advantages of a Database Driven Website
The main advantage of a database driven website is the ability to provide dynamic content which is more important in 2013 than when the article was written in 2006. Maintaining a static website which does not reuse content is also time consuming. The article discusses how moving to a database driven website improved workflow and gave the website a consistent design. As such, the article is a good case-study in the improvements that can be made with a database driven design.

Other Features
The entity relationship diagrams in the article could be very useful in helping web development librarians design similar websites. The emphasis on usability and on collaborating with the liaision librarians is also very helpful as is the design of a database based on technologies such as active server pages. Overall, the article is an excellent case-study in the main issues involved with CMS  implementation and development.

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IRLS 675 Unit 1: A Physics Digital Collection

A New Digital Collection
The  initial task in my course on building and managing digital collections (IRLS 675) is to “gather a small collection of digital objects” about 15-20 items such as images, text files, and other documents. Of course, there needs to be a “unifying theme” with the objects I pick.

Example of an Educational Physics Collection
I found a good example of a digital collection built around a unifying theme at  The collection described by the blogger is a digital collection of 50 or so resources for Physics Teaching Assistants (TA’s0 who teach undergraduate Physics students. See the Physics TA Library at Physics TAs are normally graduate students with little experience of teaching.

Goal of the TA Collection
The goal of the digital collection for Physics TAs is to “help bridge the teaching experience gap by providing targeted resources that help to improve the teaching practice of new TAs.” The resources include links to teaching resources and articles introducing Physics TAs to Physics Education Research. Most of the resources are links to material available on the Internet. However, there is a clear purpose and goal for the digital collection.

A Research Collection for Faculty and Students?
As I work in the Physics Department of a local college. I decided to build a digital collection focused on the research interests of our faculty and students. Our Physics/Engineering Department has six faculty members with interests in Medical Physics, Plasma Physics, Physics of Solid Materials, Mechanics, Astronomy and the Philosophy of Science and Theology.

Physics Collections
Many physicists are publishing papers in open access repositories such as INSPIRE. See INSPIRE is a high energy physics “information system” where the Physics community can contribute and search for material.

I focused on material that could be interesting to the faculty and found some papers in .pdf format at   This website is organized like the earlier Yahoo Directory mentioned in the Clay Shirky ontology reading this week at but it did aloow me to download some physics research papers through its links to withopen access to 870,425 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics.” See I found a review paper on dark matter substructure and dwarf galactic satellites while using this website as well as a paper on the philosophy of classical and quantum mechanics.

Cambridge University Repository
Searching for physics repositories with Google led me to a D-Space Repository at Cambridge University in England. Cambridge has had a number of Noble Prize winners in Physics. The Cavendish Physics Laboratory has deposited a number of papers in its portion of the D-Space repository. The repository can be searched at  I found a video on sustainable energy at which can be downloaded as well as a video interview with John Polkinghorne who is widely read by our Physics faculty and students. See These videos are over 300 MB so I am wondering if my digital collection will be able to handle these sizes.

Physics and Theology
I downloaded another .pdf item on physics and natural theology from the Internet Archive. The item was published in 1833 but may be of interest to one of our faculty members. See

English: Close-up of a plasma between the two ...

English: Close-up of a plasma between the two electrodes of a Jacob’s Ladder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Access Terms
Some of the terms used to access the system could be form broader categories of Physics such as quantum mechanics and classical mechanics or medical physics. However, The Cambridge Repository may be worth studying for some access terms. The digital objects in the repository are also classified by type which I think would be helpful to users. WordPress also has some tags generated by this post that could be useful as they would be from a user perspective.

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