Outcomes from the Web 2.0 Pow-wow 13th December 2007
The talk of the day mainly focused on Web 2 as a user-centric approach to creating web applications.
- The Richtags project have produced a wonderful interface to multiple EPrints repositories to facilitate social interaction.
- Connotea (Nature) already has an established EPrints user interface component
- ULCC has the SNEEP project and the Linnaean society repository. They have been developing comments and bookmarking facilities.
- The EDSPACE project is developing a user-centric approach to learning object repository.
- The FARAOES project are developing a repository user interface that follows the best-practice principles of Web 2.0 sites
How Web 2.0 can help with EPrints repositories
Web 2.0 Facilities such as commenting, bookmarking and tagging facilitate the generation of a large 'social' dataset, which can help researchers to connect with the kind of information that they seek much more efficiently. This is especially helpful in today's world, where the amount of information available to researchers is unprecedented.
Web 2.0 facilities could be
- Handled within the repository, so that (for example) items can be ranked by the number of comments, or their digg-style 'score'. The advantage of this is that the data is decentralised - control is not ceeded to some third party provider. The disadvantage is that the data is distributed between different repositories and it might be difficult to make sound inferences from the relatively small amount of data that resides on any one particular repository.
- Handled by external services like Digg, del.icio.us or Connotea (are already in some EPrints repositories) . The advantage of this approach is that there is little complexity in the repository itself, but equally, there is little benefit (value add) that the repository can offer the user.
Ways that Social Data Could be Managed Handled Within EPrints
The accumulated commenting and tagging data that such an approach gathers might be better managed in a separate user area - the user has their own area of the database where their comments an their tags are stored. There is already a user dataset in EPrints - perhaps its role needs to be enlarged.
Alternatively, these items can be managed as a separate table (by separate processes and user interfaces and services if necessary) and EPrints can just interpret the fields in the table as if they were readonly eprint metadata.
On the other other hand, EPrints can provide a category of metadata items that behave as normal (accessible through the standard API and user interface) but don't trigger changes in the metadata history or last-changed time. After all, an article doesn't change just because someone rates it.
Ways that Social Data Managed by External Services could be integrated into EPrints (??)