By Just de Leeuwe
The TU Delft Repository has been in existence for 10 years. Beginning with the publication of a few dissertations, it has developed into the most prominent TU Delft outlet for displaying the university’s output to the world: dissertations, theses, books, speeches, video lectures, images and educational materials. Much has changed in 10 years. Open Access has been transformed from a lofty ideal to a business model for publishers, and the content of Open Access has been broadened to become Open Science, including teaching resources, open data and software as part of a larger whole.
During these last few weeks of 2014 we look back at these developments in 5 chapters.
In chapter 3: A special team
Structure of the TU Delft Repository
A special team was formed to perform the Open Access tasks within the TU Delft Library. It would eventually consist of repository staff, a repository manager, operational application managers, an ICT architect and Account Managers. The Delft Library’s existing content management system (CMS) was deployed to publish metadata and full text on the web and to share it through the essential Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH protocol). The first version of this XML protocol became available in 2001, and it has proven highly successful in accomplishing the exchange between repositories. In 2009, the Delft Library decided to model the software on its own, using Fedora Commons software rather than acquiring any of the existing repository software (e.g. E-prints or DSpace).
The Fedora Commons software (which should not be confused with the Fedora Linux operating system) serves as a sustainable storage system based on content modelling. Because the Fedora software does not contain a user interface, the Delft Library used the Python programming language and the Django web framework to build its own rapid web application for the publication, search and administration functions. After more than five years of faithful service, these functions will be replaced in 2015 with standard Islandora software. Islandora is a Canadian open-source repository software package built of modules in the open source web-development platform Drupal. It also serves as middleware for communications between Drupal and Fedora. This allows the Delft Repositories to continue using Fedora as a sustainable storage system.
Although Open Access materials from TU Delft are collected from publishers in various ways, direct delivery by scientists (i.e. the ‘green road’) has always been modest, as is the case with many institutional repositories. In this sense, self-archiving has remained limited to ArXiv, the world’s largest pre-print server for the natural sciences. [i] . This is likely to change drastically in the coming years, due to the active participation of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. [ii]
The types of publications at TU Delft ranged from speeches, conference papers and patents to large-scale technical drawings. In addition to each year’s production, various digitalisation projects were launched, resulting in the development of considerable expertise. In this way, all TU Delft dissertations, starting with the first defence in 1906, were scanned and made available for full text searching. In the process, it proved impossible to request individual permission from each entitled party. For this reason, disclaimers were developed, which were needed in only a few cases. Even less common were situations that required the removal of works from the repository. Most of the dissertation authors reacted with enthusiasm, as the initiative allowed their work to be displayed and easily shared within a broader audience. [iii]
From the outset, the TU Delft Repository has been a complete full-text database. This has ensured clear expectation patterns for users, and it has always created benefits with regard to the catalogue.
The first Repository team in 2007. From left to right: Ans Schmetz, Ellen Verbakel, Just de Leeuwe and Jan van der Heul.
Overview volume of dissertations from 1955..
[ii] The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science aims for 60% of all scientific output from the Netherlands to be available through Open Access by 2018. Although the Golden Road is accepted as optimal access, the Green Road is an acceptable alternative.
[iii] Since 2008, the inclusion of a full-text version has been required for all dissertations, as a provision of the TU Delft Doctoral Regulations.