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Visualising extended repository deposit interfaces

SWORD, or Simple Web service Offering Repository Deposit, has won praise for its innovation, but users may find gaps in their knowledge and experience of SWORD. That might be because, as SWORD Community Manager Stuart Lewis says: “to date there has not been a great deal of use of SWORD. One of the reasons is a lack of SWORD clients that can deposit items into repositories.” Stuart noted this by way of introduction to EasyDeposit, his SWORD deposit tool creator. This will help but it is aimed at developers who first have to use it to create new deposit interfaces.

DepositMO has some SWORD-compliant deposit interfaces in development but yet to arrive in front of users. So I’ve been looking around to find some example SWORD interfaces to give the project’s user testing panel an illustration of what to expect. Here are a couple of examples that use SWORD to embed a deposit process in popular applications, Facebook and Word, and a short video showing, in a more technical interface for now, how this might be extended.

First, Stuart Lewis (again) works through a series of selected screenshots of the Facebook SWORD client, allied to code snippets that reveal what is actually happening: “The Facebook client is one of the most complete demonstration clients that there is, and as such ‘hides’ a lot of the work that goes on behind the scenes.” Exactly what users are looking for, no doubt.

Next we have a short annotated screenshot video, put together by the project’s lead developer David Tarrant, showing how the Microsoft Article Authoring Add-in for Word can be used to deposit an article written in Word, just in case you haven’t seen or used this before; presumably most haven’t unless they are preparing articles for submission to journals or repositories (PubMed Central) that require the NLM’s prescribed XML format.

If you cannot view this video in an embedded player on this page, try reloading the page (the player can be temperamental) or go straight to the original page - submitting from MS Word to a repository via SWORD using the Article Add-in beta 3.

Please note, this functionality is provided by Microsoft as an additional feature of Word, and is not something we have produced in the project, although we hope to develop this functionality further. If you wish to try it for yourself you can download the Add-in, but you will need to be using Word 2007 or Word 2010 (but not on a Mac, it seems). If you want to know more there is an extensive user guide, although only a tiny part of it is concerned with SWORD deposit (see the Publishing button, p 34).

This version-of the Add-in supports what is called a 'fire and forget' approach to repository deposit, which is largely the default mode for all repository deposit, currently. As the term implies, the interface will let you deposit your document but won't let you do much else subsequently. You will have to use other methods for that. Or wait for the outputs of DepositMO and the next version (v2.0) of SWORD. Then, we hope deposit interfaces will support a series of iterative actions with feedback.

The critical engineering requirement here is completing a feedback loop in SWORD. As an example of how this will work, David has produced another short screenshot video showing this process in a code-based screen, but nevertheless it demonstrates the principle in practice. In this sense it will inform the ongoing technical discussion around the next version of SWORD.

If you cannot view this video in an embedded player on this page, try reloading the page or go straight to the original page - completing the feedback loop in SWORD.

This example shows depositing an item, getting back the URI and then securely requesting the application/atom+xml of this item to find the status (uses a command line SWORD client, so looks more technical and less transparent; essentially, in the next stage the developers have to present this process in a more user-friendly interface. BTW, REST, seen in the opening annotation screen, stands for Representational State Transfer, "a simple way to organize interactions between independent systems", such as author applications and repositories in our case, and is most commonly used in conjunction with HTTP, the protocol by which machines communicate over the Web).

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