SWORDv2 Project Plan – staff introductions

The SWORDv2 project is now underway.  The next few blog posts will outline the project plan that is being followed.  The first of these blog posts introduces the core team members.  There are three people leading the project, each with a different area of responsibility.  If you ever have any questions about the project, please feel free to contact these people directly:

Technical Lead: Richard Jones
The technical lead is responsible for leading the development of the SWORDv2 standard.  This involves analysing the current standard and its shortfalls, looking at how the standard should evolve, and surveying the technical landscape to ensure that the proposed solution fits with other systems.

Richard has been involved with the technical specification of all the past SWORD versions, and was joint creator of the current DSpace implementation of the SWORD standard.  He has worked extensively with the SWORD and AtomPub standards, and in the area of repository interoperability, particularly between research information systems such as Symplectic Elements and Frida (the Norwegian national research system).  Richard is also a member of the Scholarly Output Notification and Exchange (SONEX) working group, which works in collecting and analysing use-cases surrounding repository deposit.  He is also chair of the DevCSI Developer Focus group, and a founder member of the DSpace Committer group.

Community Manager: Stuart Lewis
The role of the community manager is to foster a community around the SWORD v2 standard to help it evolve, meet the user requirements, encourage implementations and uptake, perform advocacy and training, and create a cohesive community that will take ownership of the standard allowing it to develop in a sustainable fashion.

Stuart Lewis works for The University of Auckland Library in New Zealand as their Digital Development Manager. He has played a major part of all the past SWORD projects, initially by being the joint creator of the DSpace and Fedora implementations, but also by writing clients such as the Java web client, the PHP API, and the Facebook client. More recently he has contributed by creating the EasyDeposit SWORD client creation tookit, and for writing ‘The SWORD Course’ that was first delivered at the Open Repositories 2010 conference to an audience of 55 international participants.

Stuart blogs regularly about SWORD developments ( and has co-authored two papers concerning SWORD:
– Allinson, J., François, S., Lewis, S. SWORD: Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit, Ariadne, Issue 54, January 2008. Online at
– Lewis, S., Hayes, L., Newton-Wade, V., Corfield, A., Davis, R., Donohue, T., Wilson, S., (2009) If SWORD is the answer, what is the question?: Use of the Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit protocol, Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 43 Issue 4, pp.407 – 418. Online at

Project Director: Paul Walk
The project director is responsible for directing the overall direction of the project, and acting as a contact point between the project funder and the project itself.

Paul Walk has worked predominately in Higher Education in the UK since the early nineties. Starting in the academic library service at the University of North London, he went on to develop Web and intranet systems and take the technical lead in establishing the University’s VLE service in 1997. Paul has been involved in many community and standards activities, notably with JA-SIG, the International DOI Foundation and IMS Enterprise, and was one of the founders of the XCRI specification for course descriptions which has been adopted widely across Europe. Paul joined UKOLN at the University of Bath in 2006 and became Deputy Director in 2010, in which role he has oversight of research and development. He has guided the development of UKOLN as a JISC Innovation Support Centre and the founding of a sustainable community of developers in HE through the JISC-funded DevCSI project.

As well as the three core project staff, there is a small team of technical experts who will perform implementations of the SWORDv2 standard, and a Technical Advisory Panel who will help guide the development of the standard.  More introductions will take place in future blog posts…

Case studies Clients Repositories SWORD v1

SWORD and the Open Journal Systems (OJS)

As part of the ongoing SWORD development process, we’re hoping to bring you a set of short case studies demonstrating the wide variety of different resource deposit use cases that SWORD enables.  In the first of these case studies, we have a quick chat with the technical architect for the Public Knowledge Project, Alec Smecher.

Alec is the lead developer of Open Journal Systems (OJS), Open Conference Systems (OCS), Open Harvester Systems (OHS), and the PKP Web Application Library (WAL).

SWORD: Alec, could you give us a bit of background about what OJS is, and why it was developed?
Alec: Open Journal Systems is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research.  OJS assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing.  Through its management systems, its finely grained indexing of research, and the context it provides for research, OJS seeks to improve both the scholarly and public quality of refereed research.

OJS is open source software made freely available to journals worldwide for the purpose of making open access publishing a viable option for more journals, as open access can increase a journal’s readership as well as its contribution to the public good on a global scale.

SWORD: How and why did you decide to use SWORD with OJS?
Our SWORD support came about via a bit of proof of concept funding from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) for a project called the Big Digital Machine (BDM).  We worked with DuraSpace and on interoperability so that the apps could feed each other data via SWORD. For example, OJS can deposit to Fedora or DSpace for archiving, or into as a way of spinning a journal article into textbook content.

SWORD: What different options do OJS administrators have for making use of the OJS SWORD functionality?
We implemented a number of ways for SWORD deposits to work, in the interests of giving users the flexibility to experiment with different models:

  • Administrators can deposit articles at any time
  • Authors can deposit pre-prints into their own institution’s repository when they’re accepted by the journal (green road open access)
  • Authors can deposit into Journal Manager-specified deposit points
  • Automatic deposits can be configured so that articles are deposited on acceptance, e.g. for journals backed by a repository for archival purposes

SWORD: And how about the future, where do you think OJS and SWORD interoperability could go in the future?
Alec: Ideologically, one of our primary interests is open access (OA), including so-called “green road”, whereby authors are free to deposit articles into their institution’s repository for public consumption, even though the journal might be subscription-based. This is a good idea but authors often don’t follow through, because they don’t trust OA, or don’t have the initiative, etc.  We thought that semi-automating the process might push them towards green OA — when they receive an acceptance email from a journal, they also receive one from the SWORD facility within OJS prompting them to follow a link to specify their repository’s deposit point and complete the deposit.

Of course, authors will almost certainly have no idea what their deposit point is, so a typical thing to do would be to involve their institution’s librarian — a common practice might be for the journal prepare the email that the author receives automatically to include instructions for them simply to forward it to their librarian.

We just write the software, and are at best at arms’ length from the journals themselves, so we typically have to follow an iterative process with new and experimental tools like this — we’ll make some assumptions, some will turn out to be incorrect, and with feedback from users, we’ll refine things from there. By providing tools without prescribing a workflow, we also ensure that journals will have the freedom to try things that we haven’t foreseen.

If you would like to know more about OJS and its SWORD interface, please visit  For further information about SWORD, please explore the rest of the SWORD website:

News SWORD v2


In case you haven’t seen it, there is a great post on the DepositMO blog entitled ‘Repository deposit turns to CRUD‘.  The post provides a good introduction to CRUD, explains how this fits in the with the requirements of the DepositMO project, and how this relates to some of the rationale for the SWORDv2 project.  The SWORDv2 project is lucky to have the close involvement of key DepositMO project staff.

DepositMO is a JISC project creating a repository deposit workflow connecting the user’s computer desktop, especially popular apps such as MS Office, with digital repositories based on EPrints and DSpace. DepositMO involves teams from the University of Southampton and Edinburgh University, and will liaise closely with Microsoft.

News Repositories SWORD v2

SWORDv2 project receives funding from JISC

We’re pleased to announce some great news…

The SWORDv2 Project has been funded by JISC, under the Information Environment 2011 Programme, to extend repository deposit to cover the wider scholarly communication infrastructure. The project will develop a second generation of the SWORD deposit protocol that will enable it to encompass a wider set of systems within the scholarly communication infrastructure, and to allow active management of artefacts as they change throughout their lifetime.

The original SWORD projects dealt with creating new repository resources by package deposit – a simple case which was at the root of their success but which also represented a key limitation. This method of deposit could be summed up as ‘fire-and-forget’. SWORD supports the deposit of the content, but once it is deposited, the user of a SWORD client is unable to track the progress of the item through any workflows, make alterations or updates to the content, or to delete it.

The next version of SWORD will push the standard towards supporting a full deposit lifecycle for all types of scholarly systems by specifying and implementing update, retrieve and delete extensions to the specification. This will enable these systems to be integrated into a broader range of other systems within the scholarly infrastructure, by supporting an increased range of behaviours and use cases.

The project will deliver a new technical standard for the SWORDv2, repository implementations for DSpace, EPrints, and Fedora, and four client API libraries.

The first generation of the SWORD protocol was developed in the UK with funds from JISC and support from UKOLN, and has been adopted worldwide with acclaim. The project won an award for the most innovative project at the JISC Repositories and Preservation conference in 2009. The standard has gone on to be implemented in all major open source repository platforms, and has clients created in various forms ranging from Facebook to Microsoft Word.

We’ll post further details in the next couple of weeks concerning the launch of the project, further details about the scope of the project, and information about how to get involved.

Case studies Clients News Repositories SWORD v1

WANTED: SWORD case studies

We’re looking to improve the SWORD website and inspire new uses of SWORD by collecting and publishing a collection of SWORD case studies.  We’d love to hear from you if you’ve written a SWORD client, or made use of an existing client in a new way.  There is a lot of good work being undertaken that uses SWORD, and we want to make sure that everyone knows about it.

If you have a case study, please either email it to us (, or get in touch. If you’d prefer we could arrange to interview you instead.  We’ll publish the case studies on the SWORD website, and we’ll look into other options for disseminating them further.

Clients News Repositories SWORD v1

The SWORD Course

The complete slides and videos from the SWORD course are now online. To access the course materials use the ‘The SWORD Course‘ link in the menu bar at the top of the site.

Here is an overview of the materials available:

  1. An Introduction to SWORD: Gives an overview of SWORD, the rationale behind its creation, and details of the first three funded SWORD projects (Slides | Video)
  2. SWORD Use Cases: Provides an introduction to use cases, and examines some of the use cases that SWORD can be used for (Slides | Video)
  3. How SWORD Works: A high level overview of the SWORD protocol, lightly touching on a few technical details in order to explain how it works (Slides | Video)
  4. SWORD Clients: The reasons for needing SWORD clients are shown, followed by a tour of some of the current SWORD clients (Slides | Video)
  5. Create Your Own SWORD Client: An overview of the EasyDeposit SWORD client creation toolkit, including the chance to try it out (Slides | Video)

Seeking feedback for SWORD v2

Between 2007 and 2010 the JISC funded three iterations of the original SWORD project. These projects between them managed to create a new standard for repository deposit interoperability, a worldwide community of active users and developers, and a deeper understanding of the deposit interoperability needs of our repositories. From the initial funded implementations for DSpace, EPrints, Fedora and Intralibrary have spawned an ecosystem of SWORD servers and clients, including implementations for tools such as Microsoft Word, Drupal, Facebook, Moodle and OJS. At the recent Open Repositories 2010 conference in Madrid, much of the presented work involving repository deposit was making use of SWORD. The project was also named ‘The Most Innovative Project’ at the 2009 JISC Repositories and Preservation conference.

The original SWORD projects dealt with creating new repository resources by package deposit -­ a simple case which was at the root of its success but is also its key limitation. This method of deposit could be summed up as ‘fire and forget’. SWORD supports the deposit of the content, but once it is deposited, the user of a SWORD client is unable to track the progress of the item through any workflows, make alterations or updates to the content, or to delete it.

This proposed next version of SWORD will push the standard towards supporting the full repository deposit lifecycle by specifying and implementing update, retrieve and delete extensions to the specification. This will enable the repository to be integrated into a broader range of systems in the scholarly environment, by supporting an increased range of behaviours and use cases.

The first step in developing the SWORD v2 standard has been the development of a white paper by the SWORD v2 Technical Lead Richard Jones. Richard has worked as a repository developer for several universities including The University of Edinburgh, The University of Bergen, and Imperial College London. He is currently the Head of Repository Systems at Symplectic Ltd.

The white paper can be found at

Please read the white paper and provide comments. Comments can either be about the contents of the white paper itself, your experiences and thoughts of the SWORD v1 standard, or your ideas for SWORD v2. The feedback from the white paper will be used in the drafting of the v2 standard. Please contribute, all input welcome!


New SWORD website and blog

Welcome to the new SWORD website and blog!

SWORD is now over three years old, and as part of growing up it is time for a new website, a new look and feel, and time to look forward to how the standard should develop over the next three years. Watch out for new blog posts concerning general developments about SWORD, new client and server implementations, new demo systems, and most excitingly, the proposed SWORD version 2 developments.

There are bigger changes being made too relating to the governance and leadership of the project. SWORD v1 was developed and steered by a small group of developers and advocates representing UK repository interests, and the DSpace, EPrints, Fedora and Intralibrary communities. Whilst the small group developed the SWORD v1 standard in a lightweight, agile and efficient manner, it has been decided to open development of SWORD v2 to all international interested parties, platforms, and organisations. This process will be facilitated by a technical lead and a community manager who will ensure the new standard develops in a technically sound way, whilst making sure the whole community is involved in its design.

More details will be posted shortly, but please get in contact at if you are interested in joining in!