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DAEDALUS: Delivering the Glasgow EPrints Service

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Morag Greig and William Nixon describe the key aims and findings of the DAEDALUS Project and the Glasgow ePrints Service.

DAEDALUS [1] was a three-year project (August 2002-July 2005) based at the University of Glasgow and funded by JISC's Focus on Access to Institutional Resources (FAIR) Programme [2]. The project established a number of different services for research material at the University of Glasgow. This approach enabled us to explore an institutional repository model which used different software (ePrints, DSpace and PKP Harvester) for different content, including:

  • Published and peer-reviewed papers
  • Pre-prints, grey literature and theses

Additional services were also developed including an open access e-journal (JeLit) and a subject-based repository for the Erpanet Project (ERPAePRINTS).

The project finished at the end of July 2005 but its range of services and activities are now being taken forward by the University of the Glasgow. Its key service, the Glasgow ePrints Service [3] is the focus of this article.

Key Aims

The key aims of the project were:

  • to establish and populate a range of OAI-compliant digital collections at the University of Glasgow using a range of different OAI-compliant pieces of software.
  • to act as a catalyst for cultural change and ongoing discussions about the "crisis in Scholarly Communication" within the University of Glasgow and the wider community.
  • to disseminate our experiences and findings to the wider community through reports, workshops, exemplars and guides to best practice in the development of these services.

The DAEDALUS Project met these key aims and established a successful "proof of concept" advocacy campaign, a range of OAI-compliant data providers and a rich collection of high-quality research papers and other scholarly content. The project also set up a pilot local OAI-compliant search provider to enable ease of access to these collections.

Over the three years of the project's lifetime this work has been widely, and internationally disseminated at conferences, workshops and JISC meetings. In June 2005 we ran an institutional repositories workshop [4] which was attended by 35 colleagues from other Scottish and UK institutions . A complete listing of the project's dissemination activities can be found on the DAEDALUS Web site [5].

Approach and Findings

The project's overall approach was a twin-track one of service development and advocacy activities. This approach recognised the critical nature of advocacy (and cultural change) and ensured that engagement with academics was maintained throughout the project.

The key findings of the project included the:

  • Demonstration of the success of the twin-track approach of Advocacy and Service Development
  • Importance of ongoing and active engagement with academic colleagues. This is a critical component of Advocacy and has assisted our institution's culture to move more towards one of open access
  • Effectiveness of the mediated submission model in pump-priming content for populating the services
  • Need to address and understand the challenges which copyright poses for different content including published and peer-reviewed papers and theses.
  • Recognition of the range of technical expertise necessary to install, develop and maintain the institutional repository service.

The project has also written a range of reports, in addition to the presentations and papers produced which cover these findings in much greater detail and these are available on the project Web site.

Advocacy

The development of an institutional advocacy campaign was one of the key activities undertaken by the project. While there was some awareness of the concept of open access at Glasgow, the majority of academics were not familiar with repositories. A wide range of strategies for securing content for the repository were employed - these are detailed in a previous article in Ariadne [6]. These were successful in helping to populate the repository, while being very resource intensive. The project was successful in gaining the support of a number of academic departments which agreed to contact being added for all members of staff subject to availability of full text and copyright transfer agreements. By the end of the project an increasing number of departments had made similar requests. This was a very satisfying development, as it indicated that the advocacy campaign had achieved the desired effect. Further details of the institutional advocacy campaign pursued by the project are available in guidelines produced by document staff [7].

Closely related to the advocacy campaign was the need to work with authors and publishers on copyright issues. Early on in the project it became clear that copyright was a major concern for authors, and most authors wanted to be reassured that publisher copyright agreements would be checked by project staff before papers were made available in the repository. There have been significant changes in publishers' attitudes to repositories during the three years of the project. Initially many publishers did not permit deposit in repositories, although some did give permission if contacted directly. Publishers have since started to become more responsive to demands from authors and many now permit authors to deposit their final version of a paper in repositories. While this is a positive move, discussions with authors have revealed that many do not have a suitable copy and do not have time to create one. The problem of multiple versions of a paper being deposited in multiple repositories is also an issue.

While the majority of content in the Glasgow ePrints Service consists of published papers and conference papers, a number of books and book chapters have now been made available. Copyright checking for this sort of material is fairly labour-intensive as each publisher has to be contacted individually to seek permission. Agreements signed by book authors with publishers do not tend to indicate whether deposit in a repository is permitted. So far publishers have been willing to allow deposit where the material is a few years old or indeed out of print, presumably on the basis that there are likely to be few further opportunities to generate revenue. The books and book chapters available in the ePrints Service have been downloaded heavily since their deposit, and feedback from the authors concerned has been extremely positive. In particular, an out of print book in the area of Celtic studies deposited towards the end of August 2005 has already been downloaded over 600 times (by the end of October 2005). The inclusion of books in a repository raises the issue of the possible implications on author royalties. However, some authors are more interested in seeing their work widely read. It is also the case that some studies have demonstrated that making a book available online can have a positive impact on sales.

One of the key outcomes of the project that has helped to persuade academics of the benefits of deposit has been the usage statistics for publications held in the ePrints Service. As mentioned previously, books available in the ePrints Service have been heavily used. Journal articles are also attracting impressive access and downloads. At the time of writing the most frequently used item in the repository has been downloaded over 1700 times; the top 50 items have all been downloaded over 200 times. Such statistics are critical in demonstrating that making articles available in repositories has the effect of making them more visible.

Our content is also available in Yahoo and Google and has been registered with Google Scholar and Elsevier's SCIRUS search tool. This has enabled us to demonstrate further this increased visibility.

Service Development

The project used a range of software including GNU EPrints, DSpace, ETD-db and the initial installation of these was completed by the end of the first year. The work was then focussed on the development and configuration of the services in parallel with the advocacy work. A pilot search service using the PKP Harvester was installed in the final year. All of the software was installed on a single Sun server running Solaris. Details of our initial experiences with GNU EPrints and DSpace are available in Ariadne [8].

With this range of software we took the strategic decision at the outset to second (on a part-time basis) technical expertise from the Computing Service department in the University. The risk of a loss of this expert support if we had recruited a temporary post was felt to be too great for a project which relied on a (new) technical infrastructure. This decision also provided us with long term sustainability and technical expertise beyond the life of the project which will support its ongoing development. The open source software we have used is less straightforward to install, support and configure than commercial software and requires more expertise to troubleshoot and test.

We are using both GNU EPrints and DSpace for different content types but have done more work with the ePrints Service and have more experience with Perl rather than Java (which DSpace uses). The project's key service is running on GNU EPrints.

The Glasgow ePrints Service was launched in June 2004 and it now has over 1800 records with over 360 full text papers.

screenshot (75KB) : Glasgow ePrints Service Home Page

Figure 1: Screenshot of the Glasgow ePrints Service Home Page

Early in the first year it was decided to include both bibliographic records as well as those for full text in the ePrints service. This decision reflected the challenges which copyright posed in securing the full text of papers and was similar to that of the University of Southampton's TARDis Project which also decided to accept both full text and bibliographic records [9].

We felt that it was important to find full text papers in our service easily, so a new field was added which indicated whether a record held the full text of a paper or not; this has enabled us easily to limit searches to full text content only.

The default search in ePrints was initially set to search only for full text records but by late 2004 this was changed to search for all records in the service. The proportion of records which only had bibliographic details at that time was 3 to 1 and it was felt that the default results did not reflect the full range of content available. Academic colleagues had also indicated that they felt it was confusing if a search for their papers only listed the full text papers held in the service and not all of their publications.

In addition to this, our decision to hold, initially, just published and peer-reviewed journal papers in the Glasgow ePrints Service enabled us to make a wide range of changes to both the default deposit process (to remove the mandatory deposit of full text) and the metadata fields which would be used and displayed. These included an acknowledgement of prior publication and an indication of any permissions which we had sought to make the content publicly available. We have mapped these fields to the appropriate unqualified Dublin Core fields for OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative-Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) harvesting, e.g. copyright, reproduction rights map to the Dublin Core 'rights' fields.

screenshot (75KB) : an ePrints Record

Figure 2: Screenshot of an ePrints Record

We have also written scripts to allow bibliographic details to be imported from publications databases using software such as Reference Manager and EndNote into the ePrints Service. Many departments within the University were already using these software packages to hold publications internally, and we felt that it would be important to be able to work with these systems rather than expecting existing data to be entered into the ePrints Service from scratch. The scripts are available in our DSpace service [10].

These scripts have been a key component in the mediated submission model which we have used to populate our ePrints Service; further details about this model are available in the report "Populating the Glasgow ePrints Service: A mediated model and workflow" [11].

During the lifetime of the project a number of unexpected outcomes and opportunities emerged. Most notably the development of additional services to support interest in open access publishing across the University:

  • JeLit (Journal of eLiteracy) an open access journal [12]
  • ERPAePRINTS: a subject-based institutional repository [13]

Conclusion

The repository services set up by DAEDALUS have given us an opportunity to work closely with academic departments which previously did not have much involvement with the Library. This has included opportunities to work with publications databases created by departments and to advise them on the range of metadata required. It has also enabled us to host content such as working papers, technical reports and user manuals they have created in DSpace.

At the University of Glasgow we see the Glasgow ePrints Service and the Glasgow DSpace Service [14] as complementary, and this has enabled us to take a twin-track approach to our advocacy work in gathering differing content which presents different challenges. The work of DAEDALUS has demonstrated that an institutional repository service is greater than the sum of its parts and requires a range of skills and staff to implement it effectively and ensure its ongoing sustainability. Both these services

are now being taken forward by the University and our challenge now is to maintain the momentum of advocacy and cultural change which DAEDALUS has started. Early indications from departments and faculties are encouraging with an increasing number ready to add their content to the service.

Acknowledgements

Our thanks to our DAEDALUS colleagues Stephen Gallacher, Lesley Drysdale and Joan Keenan whose work and assistance have been invaluable in delivering our range of services.

References

  1. DAEDALUS Web site http://www.gla.ac.uk/daedalus
  2. FAIR Programme Web site http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=programme_fair
  3. Glasgow ePrints Service Web site http://eprints.gla.ac.uk
  4. Developing an institutional repository: issues and challenges http://www.lib.gla.ac.uk/daedalus/workshop/
  5. DAEDALUS Documentation http://www.lib.gla.ac.uk/daedalus/docs/index.html
  6. Mackie, M., "Filling Institutional Repositories: Practical strategies from the DAEDALUS Project", Ariadne 39, April 2004 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue39/mackie/
  7. Greig, M., "Institutional Advocacy Campaign: Guidelines and Practical Advice", DAEDALUS Project Report, 2005 http://hdl.handle.net/1905/377
  8. Nixon, William "DAEDALUS: Initial experiences with EPrints and DSpace", Ariadne 37, October 2003 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue37/nixon/
  9. Simpson, P., "TARDis Project Final Report. Southampton UK, University of Southampton, "University Library, 2005 http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/16122/
  10. Drysdale, Lesley, "Importing Records from Reference Manager into GNU EPrints", DAEDALUS Project Report, 2005 http://hdl.handle.net/1905/175
  11. Nixon, William J. and Greig, Morag, "Populating the Glasgow ePrints Service: A mediated model and workflow", DAEDALUS Project Report, 2005 http://hdl.handle.net/1905/387
  12. JeLit, Journal of eLiteracy http://www.jelit.org
  13. ERPAePRINTS Repository http://eprints.erpanet.org
  14. Glasgow DSpace Service http://dspace.gla.ac.uk

Author Details

Morag Greig
Project Manager (Advocacy), DAEDALUS
University of Glasgow

Email: m.greig@lib.gla.ac.uk
Web site: http://www.lib.gla.ac.uk/daedalus

William J Nixon
Project Manager (Service Development), DAEDALUS
University of Glasgow

Email: w.nixon@lib.gla.ac.uk
Web site: http://www.lib.gla.ac.uk/daedalus

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Date published: 
30 October 2005

This article has been published under copyright; please see our access terms and copyright guidance regarding use of content from this article. See also our explanations of how to cite Ariadne articles for examples of bibliographic format.

How to cite this article

Morag Greig, William Nixon. "DAEDALUS: Delivering the Glasgow EPrints Service". October 2005, Ariadne Issue 45 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue45/greig-nixon/


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