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July 10, 2007

Putting them with the SWORD

I didn't make it to the recent meeting of the JISC CETIS Metadata and Digital Repositories SIG in Glasgow, but prompted by Sheila MacNeill's meeting summary and some enthusiastic comments from David Davies, I noticed that Julie Allinson gave a report (slides from Slideshare) on the work of the SWORD project.

SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit - heheh, even as a resource-oriented sort of chap, I admit that's a neat acronym!) has been working on a specification for adding items to the collection(s) managed within a repository, and they have settled on using a profile of the Atom Publishing Protocol. From the introduction:

This Profile specifies a subset of elements from the APP for use in depositing content into information systems, such as repositories. The Profile also specifies a number of element extensions to APP, defined to adhere to the extensions mechanism outlined in APP. This profile also makes use of the Atom Syndication Format (ATOM) as used in APP, with extensions.

The current SWORD draft (0.4) specifies two levels of compliance, and I noticed that even "Level 0" seems to require an extension to APP, but the project still has some work to do and that may yet change before the spec is finalised.

In posts here, I think we've occasionally questioned the approaches of initiatives within the digital library or e-learning communities which seem either to "reinvent the wheel" or to adopt approaches that don't really mesh well with the way the Web works. So it's good to be able to redress that balance now and again - and to show I'm not always grumbling and nitpicking ;-) - and highlight work which is seeking to build squarely on an existing general-purpose solution which itself is rooted in the principles of the Web.


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Hey, nice catch and thanks for posting. I really wanted to explore this space in my presentation at code4lib (http://code4lib.org/2007/summers) last year. I had the misfortune of not timing my presentation beforehand and never got past my half baked description of what the Atom Publishing Protocol is. So, it's fun to see someone has actually done the experiment.

I think there are some interesting parallels with work being done with you ORE folks (http://www.openarchives.org/ore/) Nice work by the way on the compound object paper (http://www.openarchives.org/ore/documents/CompoundObjects-200705.html). I have to admit I was very pleased to see digital library research embracing ideas from web architecture (http://www.w3.org/TR/webarch/) particularly the use of URLs.

I can't believe that Pete used the word 'sword' (albeit as an acronym) on this blog without reference to our ex-colleague Brian's adventures in rapper sword dancing...


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