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The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) funded Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) Party Infrastructure Project is now complete and this blog post aims to brief you about the progress that the project has been able to make in it's second stage. Over the past year and in this second stage, we have focused our efforts on delivering the infrastructure proposed in the ARDC Party Infrastructure Description document (http://bit.ly/n3WQgl), which your valuable input helped us create, and supports the scenarios contained there-in.

In summary, we have delivered the following benefits:

  • The NLA Party Infrastructure has been built to enable the contribution of records from the research sector either via Research Data Australia or directly. In addition, support for the ingest of party records in RIF-CS 1.2 has been provided in the NLA Harvester. This transformation has been based on the recommendations in the ANDS Contributors Guide and it has been designed to be easy to manage.
  • Support for the provision of party records in RIF-CS 1.2 has been provided via the SRU and OAI interfaces and the bi-directional interchange of records with ANDS using OAI and SRU has been established.
  • Nine early implementers have been harvested into our production environment and one into test.
  • A greatly improved interface to the Trove Identities Manager (TIM) (formerly named the 'Party Administration Tool') has been implemented along with reporting features.
  • Rules for the auto-creation of records have been implemented along with refinements to the matching rules for people records. This will reduce the number of records needed to be matched by hand in the Trove Identities Manager.
  • Documentation for contributors has been created and published on the ARDCPIP wiki. Internal documentation has been created to assist with operation of the Infrastructure.
  • Three rounds of training have been provided to ANDS Liaison staff using the agreed train-the-trainer model.
  • The project team have provided recommendations for the improvements of RIF-CS which have been tabled with the RIF-CS Advisory Group.
  • The upgrade to the EAC-CPF standard was achieved along with the migration of all Party Infrastructure records to this format. The key benefit there is that the EAC-CPF standard provides for a better mapping from RIF-CS than its predecessor, EAC2004.

I'm happy to say that the project has met its deliverables and that the National Library will maintain the infrastructure into the future. Any improvements and/or upgrades will be managed using the Library's internal change management processes. In terms of arrangements for the operation of the Party Infrastructure, the service will be operated by the Trove business area located in the Library's Resource Sharing and Innovation Division.  Operational arrangements here are being finalised between the National Library of Australia and ANDS and so in the interim, if there are any queries, please make contact using the Trove enquiries form (http://bit.ly/p0clAp).

Projects do not happen in isolation, as a result there are a number of people to thank for the contributing to the success of the ARDC Party Infrastructure Project:

  • Project team members Natasha Simons, Business Analyst, and Paul Shields, Developer. The project could not have been delivered without their hard work, commitment and enthusiasm;
  • Our ANDS Liaison officer Monica Omodei, Senior Research Analyst whose feedback and sound advice over the course of the project was most valuable;
  • Kaye McIntyre, Trove Support Leader, for her expert advice and for picking up the reigns in the final weeks of the project to ensure that final works were completed and a good handover to the Trove business area was achieved;
  • Sue Collier (Director, Collection Access, National Library of Australia), Simon Jacob and Terence Ingram (Senior Developers, National Library of Australia) for their invaluable advice and timely assistance;
  • Alexi Paschalidis of Oxide Interactive who professionally delivered a well designed and greatly improved interface to the Trove Identities Manager;
  • Early implementers who assisted the project by contributing records;
  • Advisory Group members and Names Roundtable attendees who helped frame a solution that would work for the NLA, ANDS and the research sector with their detailed input; and, last but not least;
  • The Project Board, Warwick Cathro (Assistant Director-General, Resource Sharing and Innovation, National Library of Australia), Adrian Burton (Director, Services, Australian National Data Service), Mark Corbould (Assistant Director-General, Information Technology, National Library of Australia) and Debbie Campbell (Acting Assistant Director-General, Resource Sharing and Innovation, National Library of Australia) for their support and oversight of the project.

It's been a pleasure working with so many in the Australian research sector to create a service that will be of real value to the sector in future !

Basil Dewhurst
Project Manager
ARDC Party Infrastructure Project
National Library of Australia

The ARDC Party Infrastrcuture project team released a new version of the Party Infrastructure last week.  This major upgrade includes support for the Encoded Archival Context - Corporate bodies, Persons and Families (EAC-CPF) and Registry Interchange Format for Collections and Services (RIF-CS) standards.  As part of this upgrade all existing party records were migrated to EAC-CPF.

Thank you to all whove played a part here at the National Library of Australia in making this upgrade to EAC-CPF and data migration happen, in particular, thanks to Natasha Simons (Business Analyst) and Paul Shields (Developer) and also thanks to the original People Australia project team - in this project we've been standing on the shoulders of giants !

With the project due to finish in July work will now focus on improving our automatic matching rules to reduce the numbers of records requiring hand matching, implementing improvements to our Party Administration Tool (soon to be renamed the Trove Identities Manager) and importing the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) data.

Data migration to support EAC-CPF

In early April 2011 the Party Infrastructure Project team will complete the migration of our data format from EAC 2004 to Encoded Archival Context - Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (EAC-CPF). Once the migration is complete we will no longer support EAC 2004 (always a beta format) via SRU and OAI as previously advised in the SRU server documentation and the Party Infrastructure Description document. We are also working on mappings from RIF-CS 1.2 to EAC-CPF and will make these publicly available upon completion. Further information about the data migration and EAC-CPF will be provided in the near future.

Enhancements to the Party Administration Tool

The Party Administration Tool is an online application that enables authorised staff from institutions who contribute party records to the infrastructure to manage their records and obtain persistent for records which have failed automatic matching. Changes to enhance usability by the research sector are being developed by design company Oxide Interactive in consultation with the Project team. Oxide developed a prototype that was exposed for usability testing in December and involved volunteer testers from the ANU, University of Canberra, CSIRO, ANDS and the NLA. More information on the Party Administration Tool and a user guide can be found here

The University of South Australia Architecture Museum has become an early implementer of the party infrastructure. You can view their records and associated persistent identifiers in Trove and via the party infrastructure SRU and OAI interfaces. These identifiers will be used in their feed of collection, service and activity records to the ANDS Collection Registry and Research Data Australia. The University of South Australia Architecture Museum expects to contribute another larger set of records to the party infrastructure in a couple of months time. A table of early implementers and their status is available here.

Update on the Party Infrastructure Project

Early Implementers: QUT and Griffith University are the first two contributors to provide party records to the ARDC Party Infrastructure and obtain party identifiers. These identifiers will be used in their feed of collection, service and activity records to the ANDS Collection Registry and Research Data Australia. Monash University and the University of South Australia Architecture Museum have party records in our test system and we aim to move these into the production system before the end of December. We have a number of institutions interested in becoming early implementers and a Google group to support them. If your institution would like to become an early implementer, or find out whats involved, please contact us.

Events: Natasha attended the CAIRSS Community Day and gave a presentation on behalf of the NLA which included showcasing the Party Infrastructure Project. The presentation stressed the concept of the party infrastructure as an identity resolution service in which many different identifiers and associated information such as publications for the one person or organisation can be grouped under the one persistent identifier. This generated a fair amount of interest from the 80 or so people who attended from CAUL Institutional Repositories. Dr. Peter Sefton and Vicki Picasso showcased their ANDS metadata stores project at the CAIRSS Day. We are continuing discussions about how the party infrastructure can interact with their project such as via machine-to-machine look-up of possible party record matches.

Data migration and mapping: The Project team is continuing the migration of our data format from EAC 2004 to EAC-CPF. Were also working on mappings from the recently released RIF-CS 1.2 to EAC-CPF.

A "Introduction to the ARDC Party Infrastructure" guide has been released and can currently be found on the ANDS Community Bulletin Board. The guide gives an overview of the ARDC Party Infrastructure , and explains its purpose, how it operates, and helps to answer some of the questions that ANDS partners may have. Information about how to join up to the ANDS Community Bulletin Board can be found here: http://www.ands.org.au/partners.html

Did you know that the National Library of Australia provides access to NLA Party Infrastructure records using a web service based on the Search and Retrieve via URL (SRU) protocol?  SRU is a standard XML-based search protocol which you can use to find and get records in a range of XML formats.  It is similar to the OpenSearch protocol in a number of ways but far more powerful.  

Documentation for the NLA Party Infrastructure SRU Server has just been released and is available via the Party Infrastructure APIs page on this wiki and directly from http://bit.ly/bndML1.  This documentation provides general information about the protocol itself and specific information about the National Library of Australia (NLA) Party Infrastructure SRU Server.  As the ARDC Party Infrastructure Project progresses minor changes to the SRU Server and other Party Infrastructure APIs will be made so it will be worth signing up to the trove-api-announce list to keep abreast of changes.

Following a meeting of the ARDC Party Infrastructure Advisory Group on 24 August 2010 we have released the final ARDC Party Infrastructure Description document (in Microsoft Word and PDF formats). This document defines the NLA Party Infrastructure that will be created as part of Stage 2 of the project.

Results of Party Data Survey made available

The Australian Research Data Commons Party Infrastructure Project team designed and conducted an online survey to gather information about party data from managers of this data in the Australian research sector. The survey was conducted over the internet, contained 14 questions and was open from Wednesday May 19 to Friday June 11, 2010. Emails inviting people to participate were sent to the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and Institutional Repository (IR) communities. There were 43 responses. 24 completed the survey. Some of the questions were quite complex and respondents were asked to answer to the best of their knowledge. Responses to the survey will be used to better inform the project team about the current state of party data in the research sector and to identify potential contributor sources.

A summary of survey results is available on the Project wiki at Party Data Survey

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is the first ARDC Contributor to provide party records to the ARDC Party Infrastructure and obtain party identifers. These identifiers will be used in their feed of collection, service and activity records to the ANDS Collection Registry and Research Data Australia.

The records were created for the purposes of demonstration and testing with the Party Infrastructure project team doing the matching of records. In the early part of Stage 2 of the Party Infrastructure project we plan to release the Party Data Administration Module, this will allow ARDC Contributors themselves to match their records against existing People Australia records or create new ones.

You can view the QUT records and their associated party identifiers in Trove and via the Party Infrastructure SRU and OAI interfaces.

Based on feedback from Names Roundtable attendees and the ARDC Party Infrastructure Advisory Group we have released a revised Party Infrastructure Description document (in Microsoft Word and PDF formats). A key change is the documentation of the roles of parties using the Party Infrastructure and the addition of four scenarios for using it. We would greatly appreciate any further feedback on the document itself and the infrastructure described.

Names Roundtable

The Party Infrastructure Project team organised a Names Roundtable event that was run on 18 June at the National Library in Canberra. In total 27 people representing the varied interests of the research sector attended the event. The event provided a detailed overview of the proposed Party Infrastructure and included useful presentations relating to the infrastructure from Dr Peter Sefton (University of Southern Queensland), Simon Porter (University of Melbourne) and Rebecca Parker (Swinburne University of Technology). The roundtable also provided a forum for the discussion of key issues including institutional commitment and resourcing, privacy and public data, complexity, data quality and richness and training. Feedback from this event will be key to the further specification of infrastructure workflows and components.

The Project team would like to thank all who attended, presented and participated in the Names Roundtable. A wiki page for the event which links to the presentations delivered on the day is at: https://wiki.nla.gov.au/display/ARDCPIP/Names+Roundtable

We have just released a document (in Microsoft Word and PDF formats) that provides a description of the ARDC Party Infrastructure and its various components in some detail.  It details contribution requirements and the means by which party identifiers will be assigned, managed and disseminated in the Australian Research Data Commons.  We would greatly appreciate feedback on it and the infrastructure described.

Survey of party data in the Australian research sector

The ARDC Party Infrastructure Project team is running a survey to gather information about party data from managers of this data in the Australian research sector. Party data is data about a person or organisation and can include name, affiliation, staff ID, field of research, publications etc. Responses to the survey will be used to better inform the project team about the current state of party data in the research sector and to identify potential contributor sources.


An email inviting managers of party data to participate in the survey has gone out to various e-lists including those of the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), the CAUL Institutional Repository Support Service (CAIRSS) and the Institutional Repositories Community of Australia and New Zealand. If you are aware of other e-lists that the invitation to participate in the survey could be sent to, please let us know.

If you are a manager of party data please consider participating in the survey.

The survey has 14 questions and is available at  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SBMM2NX