Archive for October, 2010

Open Access Week 2010

This global event is currently underway -now in its 4th year.  According to the official OpenAccessWeek website, this year (again) there are hundreds of events taking place at universities and research institutions from many parts of the world.  A list of selected events is available at:

While many will agree that there is still a “long” way to go for a real OA movement, the following three examples are definitely good examples of the benefits of OA:

SciVee | Making Science Visible, a mashup of traditional open-access content with rich media; the image below is an example of an article where users can view both the text document and a video with further explanation of the work.  This project was initiated in 2007, more details about this great initiative is available at:
Link to Article

OMICS Publishing Group, provides access to many publications in multiple format -including audio files.  The image below is an example of how users can choose the format to access, this type of customization is also a good example of web accessibility.
Link to Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy

452º F, this “new” journal is providing translation to its publications in four languages: English, Spanish, Catalan, and Basque.
452 F (Journal)
Multi-lingual journals will definitely have the potential to minimize the information divide; although it must be an expensive service, the investment will definitely help to increase the impact and readership to scholarly content.  An example is available at:

Finally, the above cases are just examples of many described in the Open Access Week blog, feel free to browse around and …it’s great to see some of these OA initiatives already in place.

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A new theme for a newspaper collection in DSpace

A few days ago, we submitted the final report for the LSTA MiniGrant project we worked on this past summer.  We had five core activities: 1) Conversion to PDF and OCR of digital master page images; 2) Migration of metadata and new PDF content to DSpace; 3) Harvesting and indexing of metadata using MultiFacet; 4) Building a new public interface for the collection; and 5) Develop best practices and step by step instructions documentation.

I was responsible for # 4, DSpace provides two options for presenting data on the web: either using JSPUI or XMLUI.  Because of the need to create and customize the look-and-feel for individual collections in DSpace, we decided to use XMLUI –a new front end for DSpace developed at Texas A&M University.  Our previous experience in creating and implementing themes in DSpace was useful.  However, this project allowed us to test and implement three major customizations:

  • embedding external files, for the new OpenZoom image-viewer, we had to create a separate copy of the JP2 files, an XSL template takes the filename of the primary bitstream in DSpace and calls an external PHP file which displays all the pages for the current issue.  We believe this method can be useful for OhioLINK, especially as institutions need to embed other types of files such as videos.
  • displaying local metadata labels, digital collections often have a specific metadata fields, for instance the “Volumen No.” is only relevant for newspaper collections; having the ability to customize the front-end label will be a big advantage for OhioLINK institutions creating unique and special collections in DSpace.
  • calendar view for browsing, we wrote a PHP script that generates a twelve months calendar view for browsing large collections based on date.  This feature can be especially suitable for projects such as yearbooks, magazines or newspapers.  The source data contains two metadata fields: a date in ISO format and an identifier for individual records.

Additionally, I helped with the implementation of a custom viewer within DSpace.  We implemented a dynamic image-viewer using open source software tools to provide an enhanced pan and zoom interface.  The OpenZoom viewer we used requires the use of Flash, which is not fully supported on mobile devices (e.g. Apple iPad); so instead we implemented a purely server side viewer that delivers standard JPG page images quickly to mobile devices. This technique seems to work perfectly fine for multi-page files such as a newspaper issue, the original final is saved as a DjVu and with the magic of PHP script (written by John Millard) we were able to convert the DjVu files into jpg “on the fly.”  This was the foundation for the Miami Student Newspaper collection for iPads.

The front page of the issue published on September 29, 1910 looks like this:

…and this month we’ll have a poster session about this project at the 2010 ALAO Conference in Columbus, OH.


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