Strategic Reading

Geoffrey Bilder

Geoffrey Bilder – 2009 August 14

In Publishing

Allen Renear and Carole Palmer have just published an article titled “Strategic Reading, Ontologies, and the Future of Scientific Publishing” in the current issue of Science ( I’m particularly happy to see this paper published because I actually got to witness the genesis of these ideas in my living room back in 2006. Since then, Allen and Carole’s ideas have profoundly influenced my thinking on the application of technology to scholarly communication.

OpenSearch Formats for Review


thammond – 2009 July 23

In Search

In an earlier post I talked about using the PAM (PRISM Aggregator Message) schema for an SRU result set. I have also noted in another post that a Search Web Service could support both SRU and OpenSearch interfaces. This does then beg the question of what a corresponding OpenSearch result set might look like for such a record. Based on the OpenSearch spec and also on a new Atom extension for SRU, I have contrived to show how a PAM record might be returned in a coomon OpenSearch format.

OASIS Drafts of SRU 2.0 and CQL 2.0


thammond – 2009 July 22

In Search

As posted here on the SRU Implementors list, the OASIS Search Web Services Technical Committee has announced the release of drafts of SRU and CQL version 2.0: sru-2-0-draft.doc cql-2-0-draft.doc The Committee is soliciting feedback on these two documents. Comments should be posted to the SRU list by August 13.

Crossref OpenURL resolver

Chuck Koscher

Chuck Koscher – 2009 July 07

In Openurl

A new version of our OpenURL resolver was deployed July 2 which should handle higher traffic (e.g. we have re-enable the LibX plug-in ) Unfortunately there were a few hick ups with the new version which I believe are now corrected (a character encoding bug and a XML structure translation problem). Sorry for any inconvenience.

XMP Primer


thammond – 2009 June 10

In Xmp

There’s a new XMP Primer (PDF) by Ron Roskiewicz (ed. Dianne Kennedy) available from XMP-Open. This is copyrighted 2008 but I only just saw this now. This is a 43 page document which provides a very gentle introduction to metadata and labelling of media and then introduces XMP into the content lifecycle and talks to the business case for using XMP. The primer covers the following areas: Introduction to Metadata Introduction to XMP XMP and the Content Lifecycle XMP in Action; Use Cases Additional XMP Resources One small gripe would be that this seems to have been prepared for US letter-sized pages and although is printable on A4 there is the slightest of clippings on the right-hand margin with no real loss of information but it does confer a sense of “incompleteness”.

Aligning OpenSearch and SRU


thammond – 2009 June 05

In Search

[Update - 2009.06.07: As pointed out by Todd Carpenter of NISO (see comments below) the phrase “SRU by contrast is an initiative to update Z39.50 for the Web” is inaccurate. I should have said “By contrast SRU is an initiative recognized by ZING (Z39.50 International Next Generation) to bring Z39.50 functionality into the mainstream Web“.]

[Update - 2009.06.08: Bizarrely I find in mentioning query languages below that I omitted to mention SQL. I don’t know what that means. Probably just that there’s no Web-based API. And that again it’s tied to a particular technology - RDBMS.]


(Click image to enlarge.)

There are two well-known public search APIs for generic Web-based search: OpenSearch and SRU. (Note that the key term here is “generic”, so neither Solr/Lucene nor XQuery really qualify for that slot. Also, I am concentrating here on “classic” query languages rather than on semantic query languages such as SPARQL.)

OpenSearch was created by Amazon’s and is a cheap and cheerful means to interface to a search service by declaring a template URL and returning a structured XML format. It therefore allows for structured result sets while placing no constraints on the query string. As outlined in my earlier post Search Web Service, there is support for search operation control parameters (pagination, encoding, etc.), but no inroads are made into the query string itself which is regarded as opaque.

SRU by contrast is an initiative to update Z39.50 for the Web and is firmly focussed on structured queries and responses. Specifically a query can be expressed in the high-level query language CQL which is independent of any underlying implementation. Result records are returned using any declared W3C XML Schema format and are transported within a defined XML wrapper format for SRU. (Note that the SRU 2.0 draft provides support for arbitrary result formats based on media type.)

One can summarize the respective OpenSearch and SRU functionalities as in this table:

Structure OpenSearch SRU
query no yes
results yes yes
control yes yes
diagnostics no yes

What I wanted to discuss here was the OpenSearch and SRU interfaces to a Search Web Service such as outlined in my previous post. The diagram at top of this post shows query forms for OpenSearch and SRU and associated result types. The Search Web Service is taken to be exposing an SRU interface. It might be simplest to walk through each of the cases.

(Continues below.)

Search Web Service


thammond – 2009 May 30

In Search

(Click image to enlarge graphic.) While the OASIS Search Web Services TC is currently working towards reconciling SRU and OpenSearch, I thought it would be useful to share here a simple graphic outlining how a search web service for structured search might be architected. Basically there are two views of this search web service (described in separate XML description files and discoverable through autodiscovery links added to HTML pages):

Structured Search Using PRISM Elements


thammond – 2009 May 30

In Search

We just registered in the SRU (Search and Retrieve by URL) search registry the following components: Context Sets PRISM Context Set version 2.0 PRISM Context Set version 2.1 Schemas PRISM Aggregator Message Record Schema Version 2.0 PRISM Aggregator Message Record Schema Version 2.1 This means that an SRU (Search and Retrieve by URL) search engine that supported one of the PRISM context sets registered above could accept CQL (Contextual Query Language) queries such as the following:

OAI-ORE: Workshop Slides


thammond – 2009 May 26

In Interoperability

An Overview of the OAI Object Reuse and Exchange Interoperability Framework View more Microsoft Word documents from hvdsomp. This is a very slick presentation by Herbert Van de Sompel on OAI-ORE which he’s due to give today for a workshop at the INFORUM 2009 15th Conference on Prrofessional Information Resources in Prague. It’s on the long side at 167 slides but even if you just flip though or sample it selectively you’ll be bound to come away with something.

PRISM Aggregator Message


thammond – 2009 May 08

In Interoperability

The new OAI-PMH interface to sports one particular novelty which may well be of interest here: it makes use of the PRISM Aggregator Message. (For an announcement of this service see the post on our web publishing blog Nascent.)

As a protocol for the harvesting of metadata records within a digital repository, OAI-PMH records may be expressed in a variety of different metadata formats. For reasons of interoperability a base metadata format (‘Dublin Core’) is mandated for all OAI-PMH implementations. The expectation is that this base format would be augmented by community-specific vocabularies.

Our natural inclination was to mirror the article descriptions which we already circulate in our RSS feeds and within our HTML pages (as META tags) and PDF files (as XMP packets). In these cases we have used open data models (e.g. RDF) with simple properties cherry-picked from the DC and PRISM namespaces. But OAI-PMH has a special ‘gotcha’ in this regard: any metadata format must allow for W3C XML Schema validation. That is, the properties need to be constrained by an XSD data model. Enter PRISM Aggregator Message (PAM).


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