The preview site for the Open Repository 1.4.1 release is now available.
This post really should be accompanied by a small trumpet fanfare; it’s been a trek getting here. So first and foremost thanks must go to Graham, Peter and Diahnne who wrote all the lines of code to make this happen. Although you should notice very little in the way things work there have been many changes under the hood. We’re very happy with the new architecture; not just because the sites are operating more efficiently but also because of the opportunities it opens up for us. And it sure is pretty…
So (quite) a few words then about what to look out for. Much of what was there before won’t operate any differently, although some of it may look a little different; the My Repository page, for example. Everything referred to here concerns what’s currently available on the preview site which is our default setting for a new pilot repository.
From the homepage you’ll immediately see a few changes. The list of top-level communities has moved to the left-hand navigation menu so it’s visible on all pages of the site bar the submission form. That list has been replaced by a list of the 5 most recent additions to the repository. In the top right corner there’s an admin editable list of ‘local links’ that can be used to point to your own resource pages. RSS feeds can also be added for the entire repository and are also available on community and collection home pages. Lastly, if you log on you’ll notice that the greeting is now by name rather than by email.
The submission form contains a couple of less obvious changes. If you use the PubMed ID pre-fill option then MeSH terms and journal name will be automatically added and displayed. The document conversion tool (built using OpenOffice) also offers increased options: Excel, RTF, Text and PowerPoint files can all now be converted to PDF. Alternative conversion options will be displayed where appropriate.
The remainder of the submission and workflow processes remain unchanged. However, the default repository submission licence can be changed within the Administrator’s menu. And the item title also now displays within the browser window.
Another new administration feature is being able to add groups to groups, rather than just e-people to groups. For example I needed to add all current customer admins to the admin group. So I created a new group, added all the customer admins to that, and added that group to the main Administrators group. In this way I can control customer administrators separately from project admins.
The various browse options have improved i18n support – that’s internationalisation for all you non-techies out there. By making the language field refer to the title of the item we can filter out all common indefinite articles. So if you have a German title beginning with das it won’t appear under d but the first letter of the next word in the title. There’ll be further information about how we will update the existing entries in your repositories later. Similarly, author names with any non-standard Latin characters that can be decomposed (that’s what they call it) into their Latin equivalents will be. In other words if your surname begins with an accented A it will appear under A. Characters that can’t be decomposed will sit at the end of the author browse list. You can see an example of the internationalisation and Unicode support with this item. Additionally with the browse options you can change the ordering of the page, change the number of results displayed and, where applicable, change the number of author names displayed.
You’ll see changes to the layout of the My Repository and researcher pages, and the community and collection home pages although these are purely visual, there is no change to the functionality. However, I should mention that the researcher pages are currently not displaying, that’s one bug we decided to leave until after the preview site went live.
The last thing to mention is what’s not visible. Search and browse indexes as well as which fields are available for the submission form can all be configured on a repository-wide basis. We’ll be contacting all customers for their requirements before this release is put to life. The option for adding controlled vocabulary pick lists for the subject field is also available as is a ‘suggest an item’ button.
So that’s it; we hope you like it. Please have a play around and send any feedback through to the Open Repository project manager (that’s me).
It’s nice to see that Open Repository is up on the “latest-and-greatest” customizations floating around in the DSpace Community.
It’s good to see OpenOffice.org format conversions put to good use (and the customization to integrate that into the Upload screen is a nice one). I’m also impressed with the submission option to simply enter a DOI or PubMed ID to pre-populate the metadata. Anything to simplify entering metadata by hand is potentially one less barrier to submission.
Overall, the OR 1.4.1 preview seems to have taken DSpace and packaged it up with many of the innovative features and patches that aren’t yet available in out-of-the-box DSpace. Good work!