Friday, 2 July 2010

Project Plan Post 1 of 7: Aims, Objectives and Final Outputs of the project

The overall goal of DURA is to change the way researchers, departments, and universities deposit information into institutional repositories via an integration of a workflow reference management tool and institutional repositories. The information to be deposited includes both metadata and full-text content of research papers that have been authored by researchers affiliated with a specific institution.

  1. Derive “automated” methodology to source appropriate copies of full text from Mendeley for academics within institutions and deposit these into the institutional digital repository.
  2. Minimise rekeying of bibliographic information by academics by repurposing Mendeley metadata in Symplectic Elements (allowing the academic to do much of the bibliographic management in Mendeley if they wish).
  3. Enrich an academic’s Mendeley experience by fetching full text from appropriate digital repositories into their Mendeley user area.
The project partners are the University of Cambridge, Mendeley, and Symplectic. At Cambridge, both CARET and the UL are involved.


Mendeley is a personal academic publication library and social networking site.  The software is not open source, however, it is free to use and APIs are available to process data.  Academics sign up individually and are able to maintain bibliographic lists of publications that they use in their research (this may include publications that they’ve created themselves).  In addition, Mendeley offers the academic the opportunity to upload a full text version of the publication to an area of free webspace so that these documents may be accessed by the academic wherever they may be.  As part of the upload exercise, the Mendeley software parses the full text and extracts key data so that the academic is not required to rekey bibliographic information.

Full text and bibliographic lists are managed through a variety of interfaces: a web-interface, a desktop tool that may be downloaded and installed locally, an iPhone and iPad app (to be released). 
A key feature of the Mendeley software is the ability to download a formatted bibliography in a variety of formats and citation styles for the inclusion in a CV or academic paper.

Symplectic provides an academic publications management solution for universities.  The interface is entirely web-based.  Universities buy the software on licence centrally and interface the software with other key university systems: Human Resources/Identity management, authentication, Content Management System, Grants/Financial systems, Digital Repository.  Use of the system is often mandated centrally by the university.  The software is neither open source nor free, however, Symplectic has started releasing certain pieces of software in an open source environment.   Symplectic is focussed on maintaining personal publications lists rather than a wider body of work and hence has a slightly different bias in terms of its data content to Mendeley.  As Mendeley, Symplectic also tries to minimise rekeying of data – this is mainly through the use of API’s to third party data providers such as Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, arXiv and DBLP.

Full text may be uploaded to the local digital repository through Symplectic’s web interface.  The link between Symplectic Elements and the institutional repository is extremely close.  This is achieved through a complex set of webservices, part of which are installed on the repository and part of which exist in the Symplectic Elements system itself.  These web services allow the repository and the Elements system to participate in a two-way conversation, allowing each system to understand the state of the other with respect to each individual article which they hold.

Project overview

  • A.  Symplectic to Mendeley:  Using Symplectic’s existing API to allow Mendeley to pull records for a particular user – particularly link to Institutional Repository and stream a file from repository to Mendeley.  This will require us to develop a handshake model that matches institutional requirements with regard to security – Shibboleth?
  • B.  Mendeley to Symplectic: 
    • i) Using Mendeley’s existing API to allow Symplectic to pull data for a particular user.  This will require the user to enter their Mendeley account details into the Symplectic Elements system so that the system can authenticate with Mendeley to retrieve metadata and full text; 
    • ii) Allowing a user to “push” data from their Mendeley account to Symplectic by pushing a “Sync with Symplectic” button.  This will also require some form of authentication – Shibboleth?
  • C.  Symplectic pushes full text and metadata to IR (including DSpace, EPrints and Fedora).  Existing technology: Symplectic Repository Tools.
  • D.  Repository gives Symplectic information on demand concerning article level statuses.  Existing technology: Symplectic Repository Tools.
  • E.  Mendeley to Repository.  Mendeley develop a Sword-based methodology for deposit into the Repository for institutions who don’t subscribe to Symplectic – this will be DSpace specific in this project. Assume that this will be 
    • a) authenticated somehow – Shibboleth?; 
    • b) “fire and forget” – ie. Mendeley won’t retain state information about the article in the IR).  To be developed by Mendeley with Symplectic support
  • F.  Repository to Mendeley. Allowing Mendeley to acquire full text from the IR and associate with an academic so that this may be loaded into their Mendeley user area. To be developed by Mendeley.

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