[OAI-general] Re: Kepler: Author-Based Archivelets

s.yeates@cs.waikato.ac.nz say1@goblin.cs.waikato.ac.nz
Fri, 08 Jun 2001 15:35:29 +1200


I've just had a play with Kepler and thought I'd share my thoughts. My 
comments are based on a brief experience and the technical report, but I'm 
sure Xiaoming Liu will correct me if I make technical errors about his 

Xiaoming Liu wrote:
> There is no problem of implementing kepler functionalities 
> using existing web server, like most OAI compliant data 
> providers. But the key difference here is the targetted 
> users, kepler is supposed to be used by common users (not 
> necessarily computer science major) in desktop, for many 
> of these users, it may not be easy/convenient to install 
> a complex web server and make it OAI-compliant.

This is true, Kepler is VERY easy to download and use. It's well packaged for 
it's target platform (windows).

Xiaoming Liu wrote:
> The model of kepler is very similiar to napster/gnutella, 
> people simply download it and share their files. I think 
> both centralized model (traditional webserver) and 
> distributed model (peer-2-Peer) can implement the file 
> sharing functionalities, but both have its advantages and 
> can not substitute each other.

I take exception to this. Software that immediately `phones home' to a 
hard-wired registration server IS NOT PEER-2-PEER, it's just another tier in 
the client server model. To be peer-to-peer, Kepler would have to contact 
other user-level Kepler/OAI clients directly and exchange information about 
other Kepler/OAI clients.

Stevan Harnad wote:
> (2) One advantage of institutional rather than individual 
> archives is that it puts the long-term preservation function 
> into stronger and more durable hands. Can individuals 
> promise this same reliability?

This may be the intentions of Keplers builders, but since it contains no 
copyright release for mirroring, copying or distribution, the legal footing of 
such long-term preservation providers would be dubious.

Tim Brody wrote:
> I can foresee a relatively simple PHP/ASP script that would 
> allow an author to manage his/her archivelet from a web page.

Kepler is written in Java, so it could be restructured to run as part of a web 
server. This would, of course, require that the suer be running a web server 
and have the admin rights to change it's configuration, something not required 
for Kepler.

One of the key problems I see with Kepler is that there's little or no user 
education or encouragement to create and check accurate metadata. Documents 
with little or no meaningful metadata are going to be VERY hard to browse no 
matter how intelligent the Service Provider.

On the bright side, having a very-light-weight OAI implementation will make 
testing new implementations against it very easy.


--    stuart yeates <s.yeates@cs.waikato.ac.nz> aka `loam'
  "To err is human--but it feels divine."  --  Mae West