Table of Contents

BEN Technical FAQ

General:

1. What are my options for getting my resources into BEN?

· IsoveraDL: You may download and install IsoveraDL or ask Isovera to set up IsoveraDL for you for a fee.

· IsoveraDL SaaS: (IsoveraDL Software as a Service) is a hosted turnkey digital library based on IsoveraDL that will be available later in 2008.

· Work with another BEN Collaborator who is using IsoveraDL.

· Set up your own collection.

If you are using IsoveraDL (your own installation or SaaS) or working with another BEN Collaborator using IsoveraDL, we will be able to harvest your resources into BEN using the IsoveraDL Harvester component at no cost to you. We use the harvester component once every four months to import resource metadata into BEN.

See Building a Collection and Metadata Demystified (PDF) for a helpful general overview of considerations in setting up a collection with BEN.

2. How should I plan for maintenance and technical support?

It depends. Various factors, including the size and complexity of your collection, where it is hosted, and what technologies you use will affect your needs for maintenance and technical support. Generally speaking, here are some guidelines for common collections infrastructure:

IsoveraDL (local install):

Isovera can provide basic support for free and more in-depth maintenance and troubleshooting for a fee.

Examples of basic support:

· Core bug fixes: If critical bugs are discovered in core IsoveraDL functionalities we provide patches that you can apply to your IsoveraDL installation. Please note that upgrades with functionality enhancements do not fall in the bug-fixing category.

· Basic support: If you are having issues with IsoveraDL installation and configuration or if you have any questions about how to perform different tasks in IsoveraDL we will walk you through the process.

IsoveraDL SaaS:

Isovera provides all software maintenance and troubleshooting for free. This includes basic assistance with configuration, training, and operations. Custom configurations and data migration are not included in free support.

Work with another BEN Collaborator:

You may be able to partner with a BEN Collaborator who has existing collection infrastructure and a similar biological domain focus as your own. Your support needs and cost depends on who you partner with and will vary on a case-by-case basis.

Set up your own collection:

You’ll be responsible for everything, including managing the collection, metadata records, peer review, and providing records for harvesting in an OAI and BEN LOM compliant XML metadata format. You should make sure you have adequate technical and operational resources to support these functions. Your needs will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of your library and how you set up the infrastructure.


IsoveraDL:

3. What is IsoveraDL?

IsoveraDL is a digital library and peer review system. IsoveraDL allows you to upload and serve your learning resources along with associated record metadata in a very organized and dynamic way.

IsoveraDL uses a resource publication workflow that models the existing off-line record management workflow in use by different BEN partners. In addition IsoveraDL also provides a Peer Review module which allows users to create and use dynamic Peer Review workflows. Using IsoveraDL, permitted users can upload records and metadata for Peer Reviewed by others. Metadata records can be validated by a different set of users before they are published.

The record submission forms used in IsoveraDL for adding resources are highly customizable and administrative users have the option of setting up as many of these forms as required. The Controlled Vocabularies and metadata fields used in IsoveraDL conform to BEN Learning Object Metadata specification. Administrative users have the ability to edit or add to these vocabularies and fields if needed.

Optionally, the IsoveraDL Peer Review module may be used in conjunction with IsoveraDL’s record submission forms. If a record submission form is set up for Peer Review then all records submitted through the form are Peer Reviewed before they can be validated. Administrative users can create workflows, associated forms and reviewer groups for the Peer Review module. The Peer Review module also has a reporting interface through which administrative users can easily monitor the progress and workload of all records and users associated with the module.

Once a record is validated and published, users are able to discover resources through IsoveraDL’s search and browse functionality. Records published through IsoveraDL can be easily harvested to the BEN portal through the built-in Harvester module.

4. What is Dewey?

Dewey is the former name for IsoveraDL used during development of the software. Dewey is a trademark of OCLC, so we had to change the name.

5. Who can use IsoveraDL?

Anyone can download and use IsoveraDL (finalization of open source software license currently pending). BEN Collaborator may subscribe to IsoveraDL Software as a Service (SaaS), a hosted turnkey digital library based on IsoveraDL that will be available later in 2008.

1. How can I use IsoveraDL?

You can either set up IsoveraDL in your own server or subscribe to IsoveraDL SaaS.

If you decide to set up IsoveraDL in your own server there are two ways to go about it:

  • You can download IsoveraDL and install it yourself
  • You can get Isovera to assist you with installation and customization

2. Which BEN partners use IsoveraDL?

Currently VIDA, ESA, and BioQUEST use IsoveraDL to manage their collections. APS and ASHG are being set up with IsoveraDL installations as well, and will go live this spring. APS will also host resources from HAPS, SDB, and NAHSEP. We are working closely with The Biotechnology Institute to set them up as the first IsoveraDL SaaS subscriber. AIBS, SOT, BEN General Biology Collection will be implementing IsoveraDL soon.

3. Where can I download IsoveraDL from?

The latest version of IsoveraDL can be downloaded form IsoveraDL Wiki: http://www.biosciednet.org/isoveradl/

4. Where can I see IsoveraDL in action? Is there a demo site?

We have set up an IsoveraDL demo at: http://saas.aaas.org/demo/

You can go here to play around with IsoveraDL. You can also see IsoveraDL in action by going the website of any of the BEN partners currently using IsoveraDL:

http://www.ecoed.net/

http://www.vidacollection.org/

5. How much does IsoveraDL cost?

If you download and install it yourself then no cost for IsoveraDL as it is available as a free download.

If you subscribe to IsoveraDL SaaS then at no cost to you.

If you want Isovera to install IsoveraDL or require any customizations to IsoveraDL then there is a cost associated with IsoveraDL.

6. Can I install IsoveraDL myself?

Yes, you can download IsoveraDL from the BEN project site. Then you can install it using the installation guide also available in the BEN project site. This is the most cost effective way of using IsoveraDL. If you install IsoveraDL yourself you will have all functionalities that come standard with IsoveraDL. If you have a technical team you are also free to modify IsoveraDL functionality in any way you like.

7. If I install IsoveraDL myself, how much will it cost?

No cost for the IsoveraDL software. You can download IsoveraDL for free from the project site and install it. Just set aside a budget for your technical team to install and configure IsoveraDL using the documentation available from the BEN project site and a budget for the server that will be hosting IsoveraDL. If you do not have a server that is able to host IsoveraDL then you can rent servers from a number of commercial hosting providers or inquire about the BEN IsoveraDL SaaS solution.

8. What are the IsoveraDL Server requirements?

· MySQL 4 and above (tested on MySQL 4.1)

· PHP 4 and above (tested on PHP 4.4)

· Apache 1.3 and above (tested on Apache 2)

9. If I want Isovera to help me set up IsoveraDL for me how much will it cost?

The cost depends on the type of customization you require and whether you have an existing collections database to migrate into IsoveraDL. Following is a sample:

Basic Setup

· Installation and configuration: $4,000

· Training: $840

Customization and configuration

· Configuration of Record Submission Forms: $2,000 to $6,000

· Customization: $4,000 - $20,000

· Data Migration: $2,000 - $10,000

· Setup of HTML template and Search/Browse interface: $2,000 - $8,000

Note the customization and configuration figures are merely guidelines and your mileage may vary, and you should also build into your budget costs for ongoing maintenance and hosting. Please contact Isovera for help analyzing your requirements.

10. I am using IsoveraDL, what type of maintenance can I expect from Isovera?

· Harvest: If you want your resources to be available in the BEN portal let us know and we will harvest your metadata to the BEN portal once every 3 months.

· Core bug fixes: If critical bugs are discovered in core IsoveraDL functionalities we provide patches that you can apply to your IsoveraDL installation. Please note that upgrades with functionality enhancements do not fall in the bug-fixing category.

· Basic support: If you are having issues with IsoveraDL installation and configuration or if you have any questions about how to perform different tasks in IsoveraDL we will walk you through the process.

11. Where can I find the most updated information about IsoveraDL?

The BEN portal project site has the most up to date information about IsoveraDL: http://www.biosciednet.org/portal/about/projectDocs.php

The documents you will find in the project site are:

  • Installation Guide
  • Users Guide
  • Database Schema
  • Release Notes
  • Change Log


IsoveraDL SaaS:

12. What is SaaS?

SaaS means Software as a Service. Instead of buying software and paying for installation and maintenance, you just rent a fully functional instance of the software where installation, maintenance, and periodic upgrades are taken care of.

IsoveraDL SaaS instances will be set up in servers operated by BEN and partners will be able to subscribe to these instances at no cost to them. However as with any rentals you will not be able to modify the core functionalities of your Dewy SaaS instance.

13. How is IsoveraDL SaaS different from an IsoveraDL installation?

There is no difference in the functionality available to you in an IsoveraDL SaaS instance and a normal IsoveraDL installation that you host on your own server. The difference is in the location of the server and cost associated with maintenance and scalability.

If you use SaaS it will you it will not incur a cost for you and will be maintained, monitored and upgraded also at no cost to you. You just take care of the front end; we look after the back end.

However, if you use SaaS, we will not be able to give you access to the server or make core functionality modifications to IsoveraDL to fit your organizations needs.

14. What are the advantages of using IsoveraDL SaaS?

· No cost, not even for the server.

· Constant monitoring and maintenance, also at no cost.

· Regular upgrades.

15. What are the disadvantages of using IsoveraDL SaaS?

You will not be able to make core functionality customizations. You will still be able to modify Record Submission Forms, Controlled Vocabulary, Metadata Fields and Peer Review. But if you need to add features to IsoveraDL or make changes to the record submission/validation workflow (e.g. you need two step validation instead of one, or you want peer review after internal validation) it will not be possible.

You will not have any access to the back end.

Not a dedicated server, therefore not suitable for you if you are expecting high traffic.

16. If I use IsoveraDL SaaS, who owns my collection data?

You do. We need participation from BEN Collaborators to work out an appropriate set of policies for metadata/resource ownership, publication, security, and privacy. However, the goal is to provide a service while ensuring collections retain ownership and control over their records.

17. Who should use IsoveraDL SaaS?

You should use IsoveraDL SaaS if you

· Do not require customization to IsoveraDL core functionalities, i.e. you do not need any extra functionality or different workflow from what you can see in the IsoveraDL demo site.

· Do not need access to back end, or do not have a policy to host your server internally.

18. Who should not use IsoveraDL SaaS?

You should not use SaaS if:

· Your organization policy is to host IsoveraDL in your internal server.

· You require customization of core IsoveraDL functionalities and workflows.

19. How much does IsoveraDL SaaS cost?

No cost to set up or maintain. The only possible cost is associated with data migration. If you have an existing system that you want to replace with IsoveraDL and the database schema for the existing system is not compatible with IsoveraDL database schema then funding is required for data migration. The cost depends on the complexity of the existing system and ranges from $2,000 to $10,000.

20. Where can I find more information about IsoveraDL SaaS?

You can get information at the BEN Collaborators mailing list and the BEN project site. We will be posting to the mailing list and the project site with status updates with IsoveraDL SaaS later in the year.


Portal and harvesting:

21. What does harvesting records mean?

Harvesting is the aggregation of metadata on digital learning resources at the BEN portal website (www.biosciednet.org).

Here are some links to useful harvesting resources and tutorials:

http://www.biosciednet.org/docs/IsoveraHarvestinProcess2008.pdf

http://www.biosciednet.org/docs/BEN_New_Collaborators_Feb06/Isovera%20Metadata.pdf

BEN LOM Metadata specification (Adobe Acrobat, Version 5)

XML specification/schema for transferring BEN LOM Metadata

Open Archives Initiative - Protocol for Metadata Harvesting - v.2.0 http://www.openarchives.org/OAI/openarchivesprotocol.html

22. Can any digital library harvest records to the BEN portal?

Your digital library must support OAI-PMH 1.1 or 2.0 metadata harvesting protocol (http://www.openarchives.org/OAI/openarchivesprotocol.html). Also, your metadata must comply with the BEN-LOM v1.2 Metadata specification. The metadata specification document can be downloaded here:
http://www.biosciednet.org/docs/BEN_Metadata_White_Paper_V5.pdf

23. What internet standards are used in harvesting?

Harvesting is done using The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting; also referred to as OAI-PMH. Versions 1.1 and 2.0 are both supported.

24. How often is harvesting done?

Harvesting is done quarterly on or around the following dates:
Friday, March 21st

Friday, June 20th

Friday, September 19th

Friday, December 19th

25. I am a new partner how can I begin harvesting my records to the BEN portal?

There are a few options:

· Your organization can setup harvesting software on your own. It must comply with OAI-PHM 1.1 or 2.0.

· Your organization becomes part of IsoveraDL SaaS and your digital library is migrated or setup using IsoveraDL. Harvesting software is part of IsoveraDL.

· Your organization sets up IsoveraDL on your own or have Isovera customize it for you. Harvesting will again be part of the IsoveraDL installation.

26. If I am an existing partner but I don’t have IsoveraDL setup, how do I begin harvesting my records to the BEN portal?

There are a few options:

· Your organization can setup harvesting software on your own. It must comply with OAI-PHM 1.1 or 2.0.

· Your organization becomes part of IsoveraDL SaaS and your digital library is migrated or setup using IsoveraDL. Harvesting software is part of IsoveraDL.

· Your organization sets up IsoveraDL on your own or have Isovera customize it for you. Harvesting will again be part of the IsoveraDL installation.

27. Our library uses the old BEN Metadata Harvester v1.x. What kind of support do you provide for this?

Isovera will provide maintenance support by answering questions in regards to software installation and customization.

28. Our harvesting technology is setup up. Will Isovera handle harvesting our records?

Yes. Isovera manages the process of harvesting records into the BEN portal on a quarterly basis.

29. Will our organization receive any reports based on harvesting?

Yes. A dynamically generated report will be created after each test and live harvest is completed. The report will list the following:

· When the harvest was requested

· Date range was used

· Number of records harvested

· Number of records with missing field

· The list of missing fields BEN requires

· Number of updated records

· Number of newly created records

· Number of Deaccessioned (deleted) records

· When harvesting was finished

· When harvesting was completed

· A link to view the record as it will appear in the BEN portal

30. Will our organization need to check for errors after harvesting?

Yes. An initial harvest is done to test record migration to the BEN Staging Portal (http://www.biosciednet.org/portal_staging) and a report is sent to evaluate any missing data. You should review the harvesting report for errors and spot check resources by searching for them in the BEN Staging Portal

31. What do I do if my harvested records have errors?

There are two levels of reports Isovera can provide in order to figure out where the errors are occurring during the harvesting process.

1. We can provide a web generated report of missing fields the BEN portal has interpreted.

2. We can provide the XML data from your harvesting software. This will determine whether the errors are coming from BEN portal software or your harvesting software.

If the error is occurring on the BEN portal side, Isovera will troubleshoot and resolve the issue. If the error is happening on the harvesting side and IsoveraDL is used as the harvesting software, again, Isovera will support troubleshooting and resolution of the issue. If the error is happening on the harvesting side and the old BEN Metadata Harvester v1.x is used or 3rd party harvesting software is used, Isovera will do its best to help you resolve the issue, but a fix is not guaranteed.


Community Sign On

32. What is Community Sign On (CSO)?

NSDL’s Community Sign On technology supports a single login for multiple websites within a community. This is one of our upcoming projects. When we implement CSO participating BEN Collaborators will be able to provide their users access to the websites of all other participating sites within BEN. CSO can provide great benefits for the user as he will only need to log in once to access all websites participating in the CSO federation. We will be posting more about CSO in the BEN project site.

Download the PowerPoint from the December 2006 BEN Technical Meeting for more information: http://www.biosciednet.org/docs/BEN_Technical_Dec06/NSDLCommunitySignOnBEN.ppt

Also see http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/nsdl/sign-on/sso-roadmap.html for more info on how to get started with Community Sign On