Update on DMAOnline
So what’s happening in the world of DMAOnline? Well, quite a lot!
DMAOnline won the Max Stempfhuber best paper and presentation award at the 13th International Conference on Current Research Information Systems (CRIS2016). The kind of feedback that we received was highly encouraging, and significant interest was shown from several institutions across Europe. This is good news for DMAOnline and its future. We also talked about DMAOnline at the 11th International Group of Ex Libris Users (IGeLU) conference where once again extremely positive feedback was received.
We have also received interest in DMAOnline from institutions who do not use a CRIS at the moment. One such example is Birkbeck, University of London and this made us realise that the way we design the system needs to be independent of the source information provider underneath. This also came to light during discussions of accessing Pure APIs through institutions. There does not seem to be any agreement on whether Pure APIs can be left open or not. Some organizations are wary of opening up their APIs to us, while others have opened up their APIs to the world. We are working on data sharing agreements with Universities of York and St. Andrews while University of Dundee, Royal Holloway University, Queen’s University Belfast and Kings College London have their APIs openly available. This made us reconsider our thinking on SaaS only solutions, and we are considering both SaaS and locally deployed options as a result. Scalability, flexibility, and sustainability are key aspects, and we have taken significant steps to accommodate these elements in our design now.
We have also received interest from eResearch Africa conference and a request to conduct a seminar/workshop on DMAOnline at the University of Cape Town (UCT). UCT is a Converis user and has a self-hosted version of DMPOnline. There is a lot of merit in working with UCT on the possibilities of DMAOnline. One key reason is to develop a compatibility with Converis so that our impact can go beyond just Pure customers. Another key reason is that UCT is leading the consortium that has been awarded the NICIS Tier 2 infrastructure and therefore the benefits of DMAOnline development with them can benefit the whole of South Africa. See http://www.dst.gov.za/index.php/media-room/communiques/1881-dst-invests-millions-to-expand-cyberinfrastructure for more information.
We are also presenting on DMAOnline and the work we have been doing as part of the UK Pure Interoperability group at the second Pure International Conference. We will be talking about how we are powering DMAOnline using two gems that we have created called puree and preservation. Puree is also being used by other institutions already to simplify Pure’s APIs and has resulted in a significant impact.
Regarding DMAOnline software itself, we have made significant changes. We are moving the backend from Lua to Ruby on Rails (RoR) and giving the institutions a lot more flexibility and power on the configuration of the system. Organizations can now create users in the systems, configure CRIS systems, and upload files with a particular schema if they don’t have a CRIS system. We have agreed on using a JSON normalised schema as the core building block. This approach allows us to develop a modular approach for ingesters which can harvest from a variety of systems. More details on this are given in the next technical post. Long-term sustainability is another reason for us to move to RoR. We have a lot more development firepower to develop code in RoR than in Lua. We have been working with the first release of IRUS-Data UK API and will be developing an integration with that shortly. We are also heavily involved with Archivematica and working with the University of York to get Archivematica APIs developed for us to ingest information from there. We are also speaking with DCC to confirm API developments with DMPOnline as we want to develop a strong integration between DMPOnline and DMAOnline.
Last but not least, don’t forget that we are doing a lightning talk of DMAOnline at the Jisc Research Data Spring event on 20th of October in Birmingham. If you are there, come along and speak to us on how we can help you. From a timeline point of view, we want a beta release by end of October and first full release by mid of December this year. Stay tuned!