City Open Access


News about City University's open access repository, philosophical musings about Open Access

OR2012: Microsoft Academic Search

I’ve failed fairly miserably to blog about Open Repositories 2012, but here at least is something I’ve taken from the conference to work on here at City. This was from the session on  Repositories and Microsoft Academic Search presented by Alex Wade from Microsoft, and you can see a video of this presentation here (it’s the first presentation).

Microsoft Academic Search is precisely what you might guess it to be- an academic search engine, in the vein of (e.g.) Google Scholar. Where it seems to offer added value over Google’s offering is its ability to build and enrich the data it holds, through wiki-like functionality, then to display this data in interesting ways. For example, here’s City academic Jason Dykes’ Citation Graph, showing the authors who have most often cited his work. The service also aggregates data at an institutional level- see for example City University London’s listing.

Where it gets interesting in repository terms is the ability to “seed” publication records with links to PDFs, for example those PDFs held in City Research Online, using the feature that allows you to edit the metadata of any record. I’ve experimented with doing this for the aforementioned Prof Dykes. The process is not quite wiki-like, in that there is a delay and verification before changes go live, but it seems to me that this is an easy way of pointing back to repository materials, and should also help with Google page rankings. There was also a commitment given, during Alex Wade’s presentation, that the Microsoft Academic Research team would be looking at automatically harvesting repository records to further enrich the service’s data, and to point back to the wealth of open access material held in repositories.

If anyone else has experience doing this, I’ve be very interested to hear about it!


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Browse City authors in City Research Online!

Thanks to the efforts of the ever-helpful guys at Eprints Services, we now have a live author browse functionality for City Research Online (CRO). As you might have guessed, it allows you to have a look at City authors who have contributed full text material to CRO. As part of this work, the Services people also managed to get links working from individual authors as listed in citations, allowing users to click through from the record level to a full listing of any City author’s work- see for example the author listings linked to from this record.

Name authority, to allow useful browsing of “home” authors, is something I (with others) have grappled with in the past. This time round, we decided to go for a quick solution. A City author is defined by being someone with a City email address in the field used to record authorship of any given item. The email address is used as a key, and multiple items with the same email address are grouped together by virtue of being related to that key. The form of name that displays is based on the email address, which is not ideal as it means we end up with some authors as “Smith, J” and others as “Jones, David”, but I think it will do. There is now some cleaning up we need to do- for example making sure that all City authors have a valid email address associated with records they have authored.

We also took the opportunity to tweak the look of the repository, changing the colour of URLs to a more prominent shade of blue, and causing them to be underlined when hovered over. This will, I hope, make the author browse links as well as other internal links more obvious and therefore more used.

Filed under: City Research Online, , , ,

Open Repositories 2012 – brief conference report

A couple of weeks ago I attended Open Repositories 2012 in Edinburgh. The conference is the big event for anyone interested in open access technology and policy, and it had over 450 delegates from more than 40 countries in attendance. It featured a packed schedule, and I’ll post further over the course of the next week or two with musings upon this. For far more comprehensive overviews of the conference, see the incredibly full accounts of various sessions from the conference’s in-house liveblogging team; Natalia from LSE Library’s posts (part 1, part 2); Nick from UKCoRR’s reflections; and Yvonne from Warwick’s thoughts.

In yet more shameless self-publicity, I gave a paper on the Friday morning of the conference in the Eprints User Group strand, immediately before hopping on a train back to London. It was on our set-up here at City, and the extent to which we’ve managed to integrate City Research Online with the rest of the University’s systems. You can see the abstract and slides in the open access repository, and I have also uploaded the slides to Slideshare.

Finally, a photograph, courtesy of Dave Puplett from LSE. It was taken at the Playfair Library, where a drinks reception was held. It’s of me giving the thumbs up to my favourite philosopher and doyen of the Scottish Enlightenment, David Hume.


One of these people is a renowned philosopher. The other isn’t.

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