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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

Party Infrastructure Usage Scenarios released

Usage scenarios illustrating the uses of the ARDC Party Infrastructure for a range of users from the research sector have been posted to the wiki. These usage scenarios have been discussed by the ARDC Party Infrastructure Project Advisory Group and will assist in generating requirements for the Project. We welcome feedback which can be provided via comment on this wiki page or directly to the Project team at the National Library of Australia

The latest contributor to the National Library of Australia's People Australia program is the Encyclopaedia of Australian Science (EOAS), a resource maintained by the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre. Developed to support scholarly research into the history of Australian science, both the EOAS and the Trove People and Organisations view provide users with increased access to information about Australia's scientific heritage.

The EOAS is the amalgamation of two significant online resources that have existed online since the mid 1990s: Bright Sparcs, which profiled Australian scientists, and Australian Science at Work which documented organisations active in Australian science over the past two centuries.

In recording information about contemporary and historical, researchers and research organisations the EOAS also forms one of the key building blocks for the Australian Research Data Commons Party Infrastructure which is being developed by the National Library of Australia with funding from the Australian National Data Service.

Explore the EOAS records in Trove further using the following search: http://trove.nla.gov.au/people/result?q=eoas

A project profile of the ARDC Party Infrastructure project has been published in the latest issue of Share: the newsletter of the Australian National Data Service.  The newsletter is available from the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) website at http://ands.org.au/newsletters/newsletter-2010-04.pdf and provides a useful overview of current ANDS activity.

A Content Providers Guide to assist those providing metadata to the ANDS Collections Registry is now available from the ANDS website at http://www.ands.org.au/guides/content-providers-guide.html

This guide describes the information content providers may supply to the ANDS Collections Registry using the RIF-CS Schema. All aspects of the schema are described in non-technical terms, and examples and references are provided.

The guide has been published initially as a consultation draft, and feedback is sought to ensure that this guide meets the needs of its target audience. Please send any comments or suggestions for improvement to guides@ands.org.au 

A revised and expanded version of the guide is planned for release in mid-2010.

The 2010 revision of the ISO2146 Information and documentation - Registry services for libraries and related organizations standard was published on 30 March. The ANDS Registry Interchange Format for Collections and Services (RIF-CS) is a profile of ISO2146 and is intended to be an exchange format between collections and services registries.

The Australian National University ANDS office and the National Library have worked to create a set of Frequetly Asked Questions about the Party Infrastructure Project. The current FAQ document is available at http://wiki.nla.gov.au//x/UIANAQ. We welcome any feedback or comments about these FAQs and if there are any unanswered questions please let us know.

Visit the recently released ARDC Party Infrastructure Project Overview pages to get more information about the project, persistent identification, the various People Australia machine-to-machine interfaces and initial information about distributed authority control.

EAC-CPF 2010 released

On 6 March 2010 the EAC Working Group released the Encoded Archival Context-Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF) 2010 standard via the official EAC-CPF website at http://eac.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de/. The new standard provides an XML vocabulary to enable encoding and communicating authority records and is intended to facilitate the sharing of content-rich authority records in a global environment.

EAC-CPF 2010 results from work over the past 30 months by a 15-member working group representing 9 countries (http://eac.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de/about/eac-working-group.html). Their work has been supported by the Society of American Archivists, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Archivio di Stato di Bologna, the Istituto per i Beni Artistici, Culturali e Naturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna, and by generous funding from the Delmas Foundation. The Working Group benefitted from extensive input from the international archival community throughout the review process of the draft schema in late 2009.

The National Library's People Australia Program currently uses the 2004 version of EAC and in time EAC-CPF 2010 will be implemented by the program. The new standard is easier for contributors from across the collections and research sector to adopt, it will streamline record ingest of people and organisation records by the People Australia Program and support the display of richer records in the Trove People and Organisations view (http://trove.nla.gov.au/people).

Welcome to the ARDC Party Infrastructure Project blog

Welcome to the first entry of the ARDC Party Infrastructure Project blog which will provide the research sector with regular updates about project progress and share interesting articles or thoughts related to the project. The blog will be written by project staff at the NLA. For those we haven't yet met, some brief biographical information about the project staff follows:

  • Basil Dewhurst, Project Manager. Prior to this role, Basil was Manager, Resource Discovery Services at the National Library. In this role he oversaw the operation of Australian Research Online, Music Australia and Picture Australia and successfully project managed the implementation of People Australia which is publicly available through the People and Organisations view of the National Library's new integrated discovery service, Trove (http://trove.nla.gov.au/people). Prior to working at the NLA he worked at the Powerhouse Museum in various positions developing the Australian Museums OnLine and the Collections Australia Network as well as managing the Museum's Image Services department. In 2008 Basil was awarded the National Library's Friends Fellowship Award which enabled him to travel to Europe to attend meetings of the Encoded Archival Context Working Group.
  • Natasha Simons, Business Analyst. Natasha is a qualified systems librarian and has worked at the National Library for over 7 years. Most recently, she was Manager, Australian Research Online (see http://research.nla.gov.au) and oversaw changes to the service to improve usability and the usefulness if its machine-to-machine interfaces in addition to the expansion of the service to increase its coverage of the Australian university sector and to include government repositories. Her previous roles include National Administrator of Libraries Australia Document Delivery and Systems Librarian for Libraries Australia search and cataloguing services. In 2005 Natasha was awarded the National Library's Kenneth Binns Travelling Fellowship Award which enabled her to travel to Canada to study resource sharing among Canadian libraries.

Key project markers achieved to date include:

  • This wiki space (http://wiki.nla.gov.au/display/ardcpip) was set up and will provide public information about the ARDC Party Infrastructure Project and People Australia. The project team will publish documentation and use the news functionality of the wiki to provide regular updates about project progress.
  • A meeting was held between NLA and CAIRSS (CAUL Institutional Repository Support Service) staff at the NLA on 4 February.
  • A project briefing to ANDS staff was provided at ANU on 19 February. This was followed by discussion about the project between NLA staff and a core group of ANDS staff.
  • The project has developed mappings from RIF-CS (http://ands.org.au/resource/rif-cs.html) and the ERA SEER (http://www.arc.gov.au/pdf/ERA2010_tech_spec.pdf) formats to the Encoded Archival Context (EAC) standard which is the basic format for People Australia party records.
  • A meeting between NLA and ANDS staff about RIF-CS held on February 22 at ANU. A RIF-CS issues document was created and provided by the NLA to ANDS.  This document highlights issues with the existing schema along with initial data quality and implementation issues. RIF-CS is a format and xml schema based on ISO2146 and is being used by ANDS to interchange data about parties, collections, services and activities.
  • A Project Board Meeting was held at the NLA on 25 February. The Board approved the project plan and discussed membership of the Project Advisory Group. The Project Chair is Dr. Warwick Cathro, Assistant Director-General, Resource Sharing and Innovation, National Library of Australia. Board members include Mr. Adrian Burton, Deputy Director, Australian National Data Service; Mr. Mark Corbould, Assistant Director General, Information Technology, National Library of Australia; Mr. Basil Dewhurst, Project Manager, ARDC Party Infrastructure Project, National Library of Australia
  • Collection records from Research Data Australia, provided by the Australian National Data Services (ANDS), were made available through Australian Research Online. Research Data Australia is a set of web pages describing data collections produced by or relevant to Australian researchers and designed to promote visibility of research data collections in search discovery engines such as Google and Yahoo, to encourage their re-use.
  • Two records were created in Research Data Australia for the Australian Research Online (ARO) and People Australia machine-to-machine interfaces.

Some things we are currently working on:

  • Finalising the Project Advisory Group which will be comprised of research sector stakeholders including the Australian Research Council, CSIRO, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Melbourne, Australian Digital Futures Institute and the Group of Eight Universities.
  • User scenarios and data administration requirements.
  • Implementing support for RIF-CS on the People Australia Search/Retrieve via URL (SRU) and OAI repository.
  • Planning for a Names Roundtable that includes input from key stakeholders including the recently completed NicNames Project (http://nicnamesproject.blogspot.com/ ). The NicNames Project was a collaborative project funded by ARROW between Swinburne University, University of Newcastle and University of New South Walesand aimed to provide a means to more effectively manage author names in institutional repositories. The work done by NicNames project team and the release of the NicNames tool has contributed significantly to improving author identification in the repository community and we look forward to building on this foundation through the ARDC Party infrastructure Project.