Thursday, 26 July 2007

Getting Rid of Lots of Material

Sometimes an import from an external data source works technically, but you rather wish you hadn't done it. This happened to me yesterday when I tried to import details of all the new publications of our staff in the ACM digital library (ACM = scholarly and professional society for Computer Scientists and sundry technophiles). It can export each item to Bibtex, and EPrints imports happily from Bibtex. Yippee I thought! Unfortunately, the ACM do not include an article's abstract in its export, so this makes the mass deposit less useful than I thought.

But I didn't discover this until I had imported a batch of 20 items. Clicking each item, going to its Action page, pressing the "Delete" button and then *confirming* the delete left me without the will to live after dealing with only two items. (Very low pain threshold us academics - not like librarians who seem to be able to withstand banging their heads against the wall for years on end.)

Anyway, an attribute of Computer Science Geeks, is that we would rather write a program capable of doing something 1000 times than actually do it 10 times. So I wrote a script called "BATCH" which allows me to delete arbitrary lists of eprints from any Eprints3 repository - assuming that I have the correct login and password! In theory it would also allow me to do *anything* to that list of eprints, but I can't think of anything else that I would want to do. I'll sleep on it. Who knows, it might be useful to other repository managers.

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