Names Project Blog

EPrints plug-in project

Names Project: EPrints Plug-in Project Plan

1.     Aims and Outcomes

The Names Project has been working to develop a pilot service for the unique identification of individuals involved in research in the UK. The aim of this project is:

To develop an EPrints plugin which will interact with the Names API and provide autocompletion of author names (with associated unique identifiers) from the Names database for users of the EPrints software

The outcome of this project will be:

Enabling the EPrints repository community to take advantage of the functionality developed by the Names Project.

2.     Wider benefits to the sector

EPrints was the repository software solution run by the largest number of respondents to the Names Project’s 2010 survey of institutional repository managers. Providing this group with a plugin which takes advantage of the Names Project’s work on disambiguating and identifying the top UK researchers will therefore reach a large percentage of repository users in the UK and be of potential benefit to a broad community of people.

The amount of time spent on identifying researchers at UK HE institutions varies widely. In interviews with repository managers it became clear that in some cases this work is not being undertaken at all, due to the complexity of the work involved. In other cases, time is spent on disambiguating authors. At the University of Warwick, one full-time member of staff is responsible for metadata in repositories, for example. Respondents to the Names project’s survey of July 2010 indicated that up to 20% of a full-time member of staff’s time can be spent on trying to disambiguate names.

With varying approaches to the problem of disambiguation across different institutions, it is difficult to arrive at an estimate of savings that might be achieved if the Names project were to make its data available through a repository plug-in. With more than 185 repositories in the UK and (extrapolating from the July 2010 Names survey) approximately half of those doing some work on disambiguation, and 40% using the EPrints software,  some approximate (conservative) figures can be obtained as to the annual cost of this activity to the UK repository community.

40 institutional repositories x 5% FTE (£30,000) = £60,000

If only half of this time can be saved with the use of the EPrints plug-in, then the project could save the EPrints community £30,000 a year.

3.     Risk Analysis







(P x S)

Action to Prevent/Manage Risk

Problems retaining staff 2 5 10 Embedding staff and project within Mimas/British Library
Breakdown of partnership 1 3 3 Maintain good levels of communication.
Changes in technological environment that renders project unnecessary 1 5 5 Close liaison with JISC and continued monitoring of developments in the area of name authorities

4.     Intellectual Property Rights

The EPRints plugin developed during this project will be made available free of charge to users of the Eprints bazaar, under an open licence (GPLv3) which will permit modification of the plug-in by third parties. This will allow the plug-in to be maintained over time so that it can be upgraded and as necessary.

Data in the Names pilot system will made available through a CC0 licence, documented on the API help page.  The pilot system will be maintained by Mimas for a period of three years from August 2011.

5.     Project team relationships and end user engagement

The existing consortium agreement between the British Library and Mimas will continue to apply during the course of project.  Mimas is the lead organisation, with project management contracted to Amanda Hill of Hillbraith Ltd. Internal project communication is maintained through teleconferences and occasional face to face meetings between members of the project team and with Keith Cole, the project director at Mimas.

For this project, the team will also need to work closely with the EPrints Bazaar team at the University of Southampton in the development of the EPrints plugin. Progress on the project will be shared on the Names Project’s blog and via appropriate mailing lists, articles and conferences.

6.     Projected timeline, workplan and project methodology

WP 1 – Project Management and Co-ordination (Months 1-2) – Amanda Hill

All project documentation will be posted to, or linked from the Names Project blog: Emails will be sent to relevant mailing lists and messages shared using the project’s Twitter account (@NamesProject).

WP 2 – Engagement & Training (Months 1-2) – Dan Needham and Phil Cross

Participate in EPrints Bazaar training and communicate with other developers working on related projects.

WP 3 – Create EPrints plugin (Months 1-2) – Dan Needham and Phil Cross

Develop plugin and make it available to the EPrints community. Refine in response to feedback from the community.

7.     Project budget

Total budget from JISC for this project: £18,845


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