Mar 082011

The Kultur project was funded by JISC. It was undertaken by Universities of Southampton, Arts London, Creative Arts and the Visual Arts Data Service. The project hoped to address the need to manage non-text outputs effectively. The primary aim was to establish a shared practice across the sector which DMU hopes to benefit from.  The project effected this, essentially, by changing the way the popular EPrints Open Research Archive deals with different media; images and video, by looking at workflow, metadata, preservation, curation, IPR and by looking at the way different types of users approach typically cold or sterile user interfaces of research archives or repositories.  Repositories should go well beyond just being used for REF outputs!

The project worked with core standards; Dublin Core for metadata and the Joint Academic Coding System JACS for its subject classification  but the project also deviated from standards in line with the users’ needs.  Two profiles were looked adding the profiles; Images Application Profile and Moving Images Application Profile to EPrints.  The Moving Images Application Profile wasn’t finished before the end of the project but work continues.  It’s likely that the code will need to be re-visited as HTML5 matures.

In the implementation of the project:

  • the range of research activity was captured
  • metadata was added to to reflect the new media’s attributes
  • real examples were found early in the project
  • provision was made for digital capture of some research outputs
  • a user survey was performed
  • features added : lightbox, slideshow (and video viewer)
  • more features: tabbed abstract pages, visual search results

As part of the EXPLORER project we are looking to apply what was done and learnt during KULTUR to our repository.  De Montfort University’s Open Research Archive is built using DSpace which is a very different animal to EPrints.  On initial inspection, DSpace has the hooks for code to treat objects, in the repository, with differing media types accordingly.  This would probably mean a different HTML markup for each media type which will then be handled by the CSS or Javascript to perform the magic.  The university’s research archive officer and technical lead have said that DSpace will support differing workflows and styles which can be selected by the user.

We will work either with the latest DSpace stable code or with the SVN.  We will also look for DSpace plugins that match our needs or can be adapted.  We will keep the Blog updated with our progress.