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The Australian Research Data Commons Party Infrastructure Project (ARDCPIP) is an Australian National Data Service (ANDS) funded project being carried out by the National Library of Australia (NLA). The project aims to enable the improved discovery of research outputs and data in the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) through persistently identifying Australian researchers and research organisations.

Currently research outputs are held in and across various repositories, data is not well identified and researchers and research organisations publish and create data under a varying forms of name. As a result it is difficult for researchers to discover and access all published data from the same researcher or research organisation; identify and access all of the works by a single author; obtain a profile of a researcher or research organisation or discover all current research outputs and data for a discipline.

To help resolve this problem the Party Infrastructure Project will enable:

  • persistent identification of Australian researchers and research organisations;
  • distributed authority control for names of researchers and research organisations;
  • better management of research outputs and data; and,
  • improved discovery of published research data, outputs and other resources related to researchers and research organisations.

Project objective

The overall approach of the project is to extend the NLA's People Australia infrastructure to deliver a sustainable architecture that can be used to identify researchers and research organisations well into the future.

The objective of the Party Infrastructure project is to:

  • extend the People Australia Data Administration module to enable distributed name authority control by repository and data managers;
  • improve the automatic matching algorithms currently in use;
  • provide access to standards-based interfaces to data about researchers and research organisations;
  • extend current support for standards-based records in the service to cater for the record standards in use in the research sector; and,
  • provide access to persistent identifiers for researchers and research organisations.

The Party Infrastructure Project is expected to run for approximately 18 months beginning January 2010. A Project Reference Group will formally involve key stakeholders from the research sector and provide input into and review all project materials. An Implementers Group will also be established.

Project stages

Stage 1: Consultation/specification (January 2010 - June 2010)

  • Community consultation on research sector requirements.
  • Extensions completed to the People Australia machine-to-machine interfaces to enable provision of party data to the ANDS collection registry using the Registry Interchange Format for Collections and Services (RIF-CS) (http://ands.org.au/resource/rif-cs.html)
  • Preliminary bidirectional exchange of collection metadata between NLA services and the ANDS collections registry established
  • Development of matching rules and data administration specifications for Phase 2 of the project
  • End of phase report and options for delivering Phase 2.

Stage 2: Development and Implementation (July 2010 - June 2011)

  • Data Administration module delivered as well as identity matching service that enables repository and data managers to manage the party data they contribute and to obtain assigned identifiers
  • Technical documentation and administrator's guide created
  • End project report.

Persistent identifiers

The National Library is committed to the use of persistent identifiers for the permanent identification of internet resources and has a history of managing and supporting persistent identifiers. A persistent identifier:

  • is a globally unique identification
  • is generally a number or code given to a resource
  • does not change, even if the resource it identifies changes location on the internet
  • is different from an ordinary identifier in that it is guaranteed to be managed and kept up to date over a defined period of time, allowing users to refer to that person or organisation in perpetuity.

Through the Party Infrastructure Project, researchers and research organisations (hereafter referred to as a "party" or "parties") will be assigned a public persistent identifier. This persistent identifier will be associated with a party record that:

  • groups name variants for a party
  • includes biographical/contextual information (where available)
  • includes related resource records about research outputs or data (where available)
  • includes references to related parties (where available)
  • relates party records from a number of contributors.

Some example People Australia records with persistent identitiers:

People Australia persistent identifiers for researchers and research organisations, along with data about them, will be made freely available via the National Library's new integrated discovery service called Trove (http://trove.nla.gov.au/people) and via machine-to-machine interfaces including the People Australia Search and Retrieval via URL (SRU) and Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) services. Data managers in the research sector will be able to obtain persistent identifiers for researchers and research organisations via any of the above interfaces for use in their own data management systems.

The project's work of providing researchers and research organisations with a persistent identifier fits in with a wider identifier framework that ANDS has given a high priority.

Distributed name authority control

Through the Party Infrastructure Project, the People Australia Data Administration module will be used to provide the research sector with tools to better manage identities for researchers and research organisations. In particular, data managers will be able to match their researcher records with existing party records and be able to create new party records. In both cases they will be able to obtain a persistent identifier for the party. These tools will encourage better management and curation of data generated by Australian research and support the long-term access, use and re-use of this data.

The project will involve consultation with the research sector so that improvements can be identified and the module refined to cater for the sector's specific needs.

Party matching rules

The existing rules for automatically matching party records are strict and based on matches against forms of name, existence dates and identifiers. The Party Infrastructure Project will review these automatic matching rules and tailor them to meet the needs of the research sector.

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