Saturday 14 July 2007

Midnight Reflections

Like many repository managers, I have another job to do. Since the repository is only part of my work (and the School has certainly aimed to make sure that the repository is an important part of researchers' work without being a burden) then I find myself working on it after hours or at weekends. There's just too much admin to do 9-5! This weekend my wife is away at the Larmertree Festival" with our youngest daughter, so I have been able to devote some time to the repository this Saturday without guilt.

I thought I'd make a start on the QA (#2 on my list) and I've managed to put together some programs that address most of those topics. So I have some visual reports on potential duplicates, missing metadata fields and stalled publication. Chris has also run me up an EPrints plugin that allows me to embed an eprints metadata field input component into an ordinary, hand-generated web page (so that I can script up my own page designs that happen to include a journal input boxes and the like). My original idea was that I would do all the metadata correction and editing, manually. However, there's so many fields to correct in so many eprints that I really think that I need to go back to the self-archiving ideals and get the depositors to sort out their own mess.

So rather than clever batch editing, I think that I'll need to work on some methods for identifying specific problem records (e.g. missing journal titles) and then assigning them to the depositors/authors as tasks, and then getting the repository to track the users' progress against each of the tasks. A new kind of workflow - the user will see a message saying "please fix the following mistakes on this record" with the necessary input boxes embedded on the message. That'll make it nice and quick. And I will need to be able to track the status of all the 'repairs' that all the users have been asked to do. (Completed, in progress, outstanding, refused.)

Some things will need to be handled by me. I have noticed, for example, that it is so common for abstracts to be cut and paste with explicit line breaks (ie very short lines that don't reflow in a wider window) that it would be too onerous to expect the depositors to fix them properly.

Anyway, enough of this for now. It's midnight on a Saturday evening, I have the house to myself and I want to catch up on my unwatched sci-fi DVDs (Bicentennial Man, Battlestar Galactica and Revelation of the Daleks).

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