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[EP-tech] Antwort: How can I help?

Hi Adam,

great to hear from you.

I think the topics you suggested are good proposals, and some ep-tech members have already stressed the importance of updated documentation, updated website, and webinars.

You as a technical and customer liaison, your important role IMO will also be to gather, moderate or amplify, and summarize what EPrints developers and administrators wish for the future, and forward it to developers at Southampton. Possible means could be:

- use social media to enable EPrints developers and customers to connect (e.g. region-wise). Provide a map of EPrints installations in academia and industry.
- where does EPrints development want to go in the next few years? What are the big stakes in the roadmap? Publish the roadmap?
- how does EPrints compare to other repository softwares feature-wise? Where is it ahead, where should it catch up?
- what are the current and next big developments in the research community where EPrints could contribute (e.g. linked open data, semantic indexing (as far as it is allowed), interfaces to social researcher networks, data archiving)
- inform how code contributions are to be integrated in the current EPrints core, and how the community can contribute best. I have heard the EPrints team is currently evaluating and trying to merge development branches.

Some feedback from the point of view of end-user experience and some feedback on technology:

- Searching: It's not clear to the user why a search result matches to his query, especially if the hit is in the hidden full-text. Faceted search that will come with EPrints 4.0 will improve that a little bit, but in my opinion hit-highlighting and showing text snippets around the matching terms should be added. As Google does.
- in many aspects, the standard EPrints GUI still is very Web-1.0-ish and conforms to a user experience we had 10 years ago. Current interfaces are responsive and device-independent (for example, have a look at the Bootstrap framework).  While of course every site is free to change this by themselves, I think it would be better if the team at Southampton provided some good templates we can build upon.
- mass-editing workflows, e.g. for correcting common fields in a list view of records, would improve life of the review team considerably. Export-import schemes and having to edit data outside Eprints (e.g. in Excel) just show that the Eprints GUI is currently not able.
- underlying database model: The object-oriented model of EPrints is fine, but the underlying relational DB scheme has deficiencies - as far as I understand, there is currently no means for m:n-relations. These however would be needed to link authority tables (e.g. of authors) to the eprint table and remedy the problem of inconsistent, non-normalized attribute values, which are caused due to the fact that there are only 1:n relations in the DB scheme provided.

Best regards,

Martin Brändle (Zurich Open Access Repository, Software Engineer)

Dr. Martin Brändle
Zentrale Informatik
Universität Zürich
Winterthurerstr. 190
CH-8057 Zürich

mail: martin.braendle@id.uzh.ch
phone: +41 44 63 56705
fax: +41 44 63 54505