Thirteen Australian Institutions Now Using ARROW Developed Repository Software
Submitted by on Mon, 2009-01-05 10:49
Monash University, Australia After five years the ARROW project (http://arrow.edu.au) is drawing to an end. We want to share our achievements, and to thank those who have played a role in it.
ARROW started with an idea – to build a new repository management solution for Australian higher education, and to make the research material stored in those repositories discoverable both nationally and internationally. The aim was an information management tool that would bring wider exposure to Australian research.
In late 2003 we were funded by the Australian Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), under the banner of the Systemic Infrastructure Initiative (SII), a part of Backing Australia’s Ability – An Innovation Action Plan for the Future. The original consortium comprised Monash University (lead institution), National Library of Australia, the University of New South Wales, and Swinburne University of Technology. In 2007 we were joined by the University of Southern Queensland.
An innovative aspect of the project was to combine an open source platform with a commercial search and management layer. ARROW worked with Fedora (http://www.fedora.info/) and VTLS Inc. (http://www.vtls.com) to design and develop the VITAL software (http://www.vtls.com/products/vital) and to provide Open Source software for Fedora users (http://code.google.com/p/vitalopensource/)
ARROW also funded a number of mini-projects. These led to the development of centres of excellence in partner institutions, and new and enhanced Open Source systems such as FABULOUS (University of South Australia - http://code.google.com/p/fabulous/), The Fascinator (University of Southern Queensland - http://ice.usq.edu.au/projects/fascinator/trac), VALET (VTLS and the ARROW development team - http://code.google.com/p/valet/), and the PROAI modifications (University of NSW - http://sourceforge.net/projects/proaifedorasets/).
ARROW was always more than the software, however. The ARROW Community (http://vitalusers.wikidot.com/) demonstrates a high level of engagement and support between institutions. Also noteworthy is the metadata work ARROW has supported nationally through MACAR (http://macar.wikidot.com/), ARROW’s influence on government policy during this period and the National Library of Australia’s National Discovery Service (http://search.arrow.edu.au/).
Alongside the work of projects such as APSR (http://www.apsr.edu.au/), RUBRIC (http://rubric.edu.au/) and MAMS (https://mams.melcoe.mq.edu.au/), ARROW has given the Australian research community a platform, tools, knowledge and advice on all aspects of managing digital research outputs.
The DART (http://dart.edu.au) and ARCHER (http://archer.edu.au) projects grew out of ARROW. These projects resulted in the production of a number of tools to help researchers manage their data. ARROW also provided a home for PILIN (https://www.pilin.net.au/) and its work on infrastructure for persistent identifiers. It was a pivotal foundation activity for the establishment of the Australian National Data Service (http://ands.org.au).
In the middle of 2008 ARROW negotiated an arrangement with CAUL to fund them to establish a new service, to be known as CAIRSS (the CAUL Australian Institutional Repository Support Service). CAIRSS will provide support to all Australian university repositories, regardless of the software being used. This will ensure that the Community is supported for at least another two or three years, and will also provide an opportunity for a new group of librarians to take a leadership role.
There are many people to thank for their roles and participation in this project.
• The ARROW partners – Monash, UNSW, Swinburne, USQ and the NLA• DEST and DIISR (Department of Innovation, Industry Science and Research) – who supported the project, and whose staff worked with us to make sure that the repositories would serve government reporting need• VTLS – who listened to our requirements and turned them into a working system• Fedora Commons – whose work and interest in the ARROW project provided the platform• The Community – all those participants who built repositories, participated in discussions and much mor• Other collaborators and advisors - too many to mention, both in Australia and across the world.• Most importantly, the small team of hard-working staff at ARROW Central, both past and present, who have brought it all together.
With the hard work and creative thinking of everyone involved, that germ of an idea has produced a working system. Thirteen Australian institutions now have working repositories using the software (as do many others around the world). Those repositories provide access to over thirty thousand research objects. Through those repositories and the National Discovery Service, Australia’s research is accessible to the world in a way never before possible.–David Groenewegen, ARROW Project Manager, Monash University Library