LORE: A Compound Object Authoring and Publishing Tool for Literary Scholars

  1. 1. Anna Gerber

    University of Queensland

  2. 2. Jane Hunter

    University of Queensland

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This paper presents LORE (Literature Object Re-use
and Exchange), a light-weight tool designed to enable
scholars and teachers of literature to author, edit
and publish OAI-ORE-compliant compound information
objects that encapsulate related digital resources and
bibliographic records. LORE provides a graphical user
interface for creating, labelling and visualizing typed relationships
between individual objects using terms from
a bibliographic ontology based on the IFLA FRBR. After
creating a compound object, users can attach metadata
and publish it to a repository as an RDF graph, where
it can be searched, retrieved, edited and re-used by others.
LORE has been developed in the context of the Australian
Literature Resource project (AustLit) and hence
focuses on compound objects for teaching and research
within the Australian literature studies community.
1. Introduction and Objectives
Within the discipline of literature research and teaching,
the ability to relate disparate digital resources in a
standardized, machine-readable format has the potential
to add significant value to distributed collections of literary
resources. Such compound objects can be used to
track the lineage of derivative works which are based
on a common concept, to relate objects around a common
theme, or to encapsulate related digital resources
for teaching purposes. For example, one might want to
relate the original edition of Follow the Rabbit-Proof
Fence to the illustrated edition, a radio recording and
a digital version of the film – and to retrieve and present
these resources, with their relationships visualized,
regardless of their location. Our objective is to provide
a software tool to enable such encapsulation and subsequent
re-use and visualization, by building on the efforts
of two previous digital library initiatives:
• The IFLA Functional Requirements for Bibliographic
Records (IFLA, 1998) The OAI-Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI, 2008)
FRBR is a recommendation of the International Federation
of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to
restructure catalogue databases to reflect the conceptual
structure of information resources. It uses an entity-relationship
model of metadata for bibliographic resources
that supports four levels of representation: work, expression,
manifestation and item. It also supports three
groups of entities: products of intellectual or artistic
endeavour (publications); entities responsible for intellectual
or artistic content (a person or organisation); and
entities that serve as subjects of intellectual or artistic
endeavour (concept, object, event, and place).
The Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange
(OAI-ORE) is an international collaborative
initiative, focusing on a framework for the exchange of
information about Digital Objects between cooperating
repositories, registries and services. OAI-ORE aims to
support the creation, management and dissemination of
the new forms of composite digital resources being produced
by eResearch and to make the information within
these objects discoverable, machine-readable, interoperable
and reusable. Named Graphs (Jeremy, 2005) are
endorsed by the OAI-ORE initiative as a means of publishing
compound digital objects that clearly states their
logical boundaries (Lagoze et al, 2007). They do this in
a way that is discipline-independent, but that also provides
hooks to include rich semantics, metadata, ontologies
and rules. Our hypothesis is that OAI-ORE Named
Graphs provide the ideal mechanism for representing
literary compound objects that encapsulate the entities
and relationships expressed by the IFLA FRBR.
To test this hypothesis, we are working with the Australian
literature studies community through AustLit. AustLit
is a non-profit collaboration between the National
Library of Australia and twelve Universities. It provides
the peak resource of bibliographic data for scholars undertaking
research into Australian literary heritage and
print culture history. The AustLit data model is also
based on the IFLA FRBR (Kilner, 2005), making it ideal
for evaluating LORE. Hence our core aims are to provide
easy-to-use tools that can be seamlessly integrated
within existing research practices through the AustLit
Web Portal and that enable:
• the publishing of compound objects in open access
repositories so they can be readily shared and reused;
• the easy discovery and re-use of these compound
objects through the attachment of simple metadata;
• the visualization of complex relationships between
literary resources (including the lineage of derived
intellectual products) through intuitive graphical
user interfaces.
2. Related Work
A number of previous efforts have applied OAI-ORE to
specific scientific disciplines to encapsulate experimental
data and results. These include: FORSITE (2008),
eChemistry (Van Noorden, 2008), UIUC (Cole, 2008)
and SCOPE (Cheung et al, 2007). Although CULTOS
(2003) uses RDF to represent multimedia and hypertext
presentations for e-Humanities applications, it does not
combine OAI-ORE and IFLA-FRBR to capture or label
the precise relationships between entities. Also relevant
is an overview of previous implementations and applications
of IFLA FRBR, provided by Babeu (2008). A significant
past focus of e-Humanities tools development
has been on scholarly mark-up and annotation tools to
attach interpretations to individual objects or parts of
objects (e.g., paragraphs within an article). LORE takes
the annotation paradigm a step further, enabling authors
to annotate links between multiple resources with tags
from an ontology.
3. Implementation and User Interface
LORE is implemented as a Mozilla Firefox extension
using AJAX. The LORE tool stores and queries Named
Graphs representing compound objects via web services
on a Sesame 2 or Fedora repository. The types for intraaggregation
relationships as well as metadata terms for
aggregated objects are specified via an OWL ontology,
which is configured at start-up. Through examining all of
the topic types and relationships from the AustLit database,
we developed an OWL ontology which is based on
IFLA FRBR, but extended to support additional relationships
(e.g., between people). LORE’s editing interface displays OAI-ORE resource
maps in a graphical form, as shown in Figure 1, as well
as RDF/XML. In the graphical view, nodes represent
the resources aggregated within the resource map and
arcs represent typed relationships between them. Each
graphical node contains an interactive preview of the
resource that it represents, which can be collapsed to
conserve screen space or resized to display more content.
This allows users to view and interact with aggregated
resources directly from within LORE rather than having
to load them individually in the browser. Clicking on a
node’s identifier loads the resource in the top browser
Metadata about the OAI-ORE resource map, aggregation,
and aggregated resources is displayed and can be added
to or edited via the Properties panel on the bottom righthand-
side. The metadata terms that may be specified are
those from OAI-ORE, Dublin Core (DC, 2008), DCMI
Metadata Terms (DCMI, 2008), selected terms from
FOAF (FOAF, 2007), and, datatype properties from the
domain ontology. Relationship types are indicated by
labels on the arcs, and can be changed by editing the
properties or by selecting from the arc context menu,
which is populated by the object properties from the
domain ontology.
New resources to be added to the resource map are
discovered via the main browser window. Clicking
on the OAI-ORE logo in the status bar toggles the
editor’s visibility, so that the full window can be used
for resource discovery, whilst the resource map being
constructed remains accessible throughout the browsing
session. A resource loaded in the browser can be added
to the resource map via context menus or LORE’s
toolbar. The toolbar provides options for saving and
loading compound objects stored in the RDF repository
specified in the user preferences. Resource maps can also
be discovered and loaded via the Browse/Search panel.
4. Discussion and Conclusions
The AustLit researchers with whom we have been collaborating
have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic about
this work. They particularly liked the interactive node
previews, the direct integration of the editor with the
browser and the ease with which they could customize
the relationship types and metadata supported by the
editor. They would like to see additional arc visualizations
such as line decorators, arrows and colours or line
styles to distinguish relationships, as well as support for
bi-directional relationships. Objects can be added to a compound object in the LORE
editor if they can be loaded in the web browser. However this approach does not handle URIs identifying noninformation
resources well, and issues arise with nonpersistent
URLs and with identifying objects that exist
within institutional repositories using local identifiers.
Because the IFLA FRBR is complex, it may be difficult
for a literary scholar to apply appropriate metadata
terms and relationship types from the ontology to relate
resources. Strategies for addressing this issue could include
adding more semantic checks to the UI to assist
users in applying the ontology terms, or tailoring the
domain ontologies based on community needs and understanding.
The on-going development and evaluation of LORE in
the context of AustLit will provide an essential component
of the cyber-infrastructure requirements of the
Australian literary studies community, as well as literary
scholars globally.
Aus-e-Lit is funded by DEST through the National eResearch
Architecture Taskforce (NeAT), part of the National
Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy
AustLit. (2008). AustLit: The Australian Literature Resource.
http://austlit.edu.au (accessed 11 November
Babeu, A. (2008). Building a “FRBR-Inspired” Catalog:
The Perseus Digital Library Experience. http://www.
pdf (accessed 11 November 2008).
Cheung, K., Hunter, J., Lashtabeg, A., Drennan, J.
(2007). SCOPE - A Scientific Compound Object Publishing
and Editing System, 3rd International Digital
Curation Conference, Washington DC.
Cole, T.W. (2008). OAI-ORE experiments at the University
of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign. http://
Roll-Out-OR08.pdf (accessed 11 November 2008).
CULTOS. (2003). http://www.cultos.org/ (accessed 11
November 2008).
DC. (2008). Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, Version
1.1. http://dublincore.org/documents/dces/ (accessed 11
November 2008). DCMI. (2008). DCMI Metadata Terms. http://dublincore.
org/documents/dcmi-terms/ (accessed 11 November
FOAF. (2007). FOAF Vocabulary Specification 0.91.
http://xmlns.com/foaf/spec/ (accessed 11 November
FORSITE. (2008). http://foresite.cheshire3.org/ (accessed
11 November 2008).
IFLA. (1998). Functional requirements for bibliographic
records (FRBR): Final report. http://www.ifla.org/VII/
s13/frbr/frbr.pdf (accessed 11 November 2008).
Jeremy, J.C., et al. (2005). Named graphs, provenance
and trust, 14th international conference on World Wide
Web. ACM Press, Chiba, Japan
Kilner, K. (2005). The AustLit Gateway and Scholarly
Bibliography: A Specialist Implementation of the FRBR.
Cataloguing and Classification Quarterly. 39:3/4.
Lagoze, C., Van de Sompel, H. (2007). Compound Information
Objects: The OAIORE Perspective. http://
200705.html (accessed 11 November 2008).
OAI. (2008). Open Archives Initiative - Object Reuse
and Exchange. http://www.openarchives.org/ore/ (accessed
11 November 2008).
Van Noorden, R. (2008). Microsoft Ventures into Open
Access Chemistry. Chemistry World. http://www.rsc.
(accessed 11 November 2008).

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2009

Hosted at University of Maryland, College Park

College Park, Maryland, United States

June 20, 2009 - June 25, 2009

176 works by 303 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (4)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None