News SWORD v2

Discussing the scope of SWORDv2

As part of the SWORD v2 developments, the Technical Advisory Panel have been busy discussing many aspects of the proposed new version of the standard.  This has been a lively and engaging process.  If you would like to read these discussions and contribute any feedback, you would be very welcome!

One particularly interesting thread came from the project’s technical lead.  The message concerns the scope of SWORD v2 (what areas it should contribute to, ans which it should not):

Hi Folks,

There’s been some great discussion on the list this past week or two, and I thought it might be time for a summary of what looks to me to be a key sticking point: the scope of sword.

There are two distinct sides to this argument as it’s been articulated on this list:

a) That we should adopt the approach of content management API like CMIS or more likely GData

b) That SWORD should be not say anything about what happens to the content once it is sent to the server.

In general, I am against (a) for a number of reasons.  First, I am concerned that the idioms that are associated with GData are not /necessarily/ appropriate.  The hierarchical file system is a common idiom but an idiom nonetheless, and it wouldn’t be SWORD’s place to therefore build itself over the top of it.  CMIS I have a harder time refuting or accepting, so am open to persuasion either way.  Secondly, I don’t see a reason to re-create a content management standard, since they already exist.  SWORD should, instead, provide support for the things that these standards don’t provide for our sector/use cases, while not preventing the use of them.

From a purists perspective of (b) the main thing that SWORD offers, then, is support for Packaging (with a capital P).  This is a valuable addition to the community since it is both common in our sector and expressly not covered at least by GData and I believe not by CMIS (though again, open to correction).  The support for packaging, though, needs to extend to a full CRUD implementation of AtomPub, which is a large part of what the profile attempts to do.  I think we have had some good technical discussion which which will allow the next draft of the profile to do better at that.

In the mean time, there are some grey area parts of the profile, particularly In Progress and Suppress Metadata which are more content management than they are deposit.  I, personally, think these are important; they are light touch, the profile doesn’t mandate the server to obey them, and they help fulfill known use cases.  Likewise the Statement could be viewed as more content management than not, although we have tried to pitch that as more an informational resource rather than an operational one (i.e. read but not write).

What I’m going to suggest for the next draft is as follows:  we’ll put some more time into analysing the appropriate ways of updating and overwriting deposit packages using the feedback on this list.  And we will extend the profile to cover how you would use the SWORD headers to be used in content management operations /if that’s what your implementation wants/ (e.g. how you might use Suppress Metadata or In Progress with GData).  There will, obviously, be plenty of time for comment.

In conclusion: we must constrain the scope of sword to something which doesn’t tread on anyone’s toes and is of value to the community.  Too far one way or the other and we’ll either be superseded or of no value.



News Repositories SWORD v1 SWORD v2

SWORD wikipedia entry

SWORD now has a wikipedia entry!

The page does not have much detail on at the moment, so if you have a minute or two, please take a look at the page, and see if you could add / edit / correct / improve / enhance the page.  If you know of any other entries that should link to or reference the SWORD entry, please could you add those in too.

If you have any SWORD-related content or links that you would like to be added to this site (links to implementations, code, documentation, blog entries, papers) please pass them on to and we’ll get them added.

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)

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!