Technical standards in education, Part 4: Interoperable resource deposit using SWORD

Stuart Lewis

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


Research institutions and universities create knowledge. This knowledge is created through research and can be formatted as data sets, video recordings, or measurements of experiments. Often it is re-packaged in other formats such as books, journal articles, or reports. These research outputs are typically shared between researchers in each discipline to further knowledge in that area.
To gain the maximum benefit from this scholarly communication, the research outputs must be made as easily and widely available as possible. The almost ubiquitous presence of the web in research institutions makes it an ideal way to share such knowledge. Because this knowledge is the product created by the researchers, these products need to be managed, measured, and preserved by the institutions where they were created.
It was from these requirements that digital repositories for research outputs were born. In the early part of the 21st century, many projects were started to create these repositories. The most well-known and prevalent open source digital repository platforms include:
DSpace, a collaboration between MIT and Hewlett Packard
EPrints, developed at the University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science
Fedora, created by Cornell University's Digital Library Research Group
There are many other open source and commercial options for the provision of repositories for research outputs. See Resources for links to more information about the repositories listed here.

The first interoperability challenge for digital repositories is to expose their contents in a standardized way so external systems can harvest and make them available in other systems and searchable by larger federated search services. For this reason, most repository platforms implement the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). This protocol allows the contents of repositories and the metadata for each item in the repository to be harvested. Metadata is often harvested using the Dublin Core encoding, a simple format for exchanging metadata (see Resources).

As repositories grew over time, a need for standardized protocols not just for harvesting the contents of repositories, but also for depositing new content into repositories became apparent. The SWORD protocol was developed as a result of this need.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherIBM Developer Works
Commissioning bodyIBM Developer Works
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2011


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