METReS - the MAGiC demonstrator service
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METReS - the MAGiC demonstrator service Paul Needham, Research Officer, Cranfield University "Use and Value of Engineering Grey Literature” - a MAGiC Seminar Wednesday 24th July 2002 at the British Library, St Pancras. Enhancing the visibility of key collections.

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METReS - the MAGiC demonstrator service

Paul Needham, Research Officer, Cranfield University

"Use and Value of Engineering Grey Literature” - a MAGiC Seminar

Wednesday 24th July 2002 at the British Library, St Pancras

Project website -

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Enhancing the visibility of key collections

  • Lay the foundations for the development of a National Reports Catalogue

  • Provide cross searching of resources via Z39.50 or appropriate alternatives

  • Explore the feasibility of incorporating controlled access to limited distribution reports

Enhance access via electronic storage & document supply

  • Develop a core electronic archive of engineering report literature

  • Evaluate the feasibility of creating a commercial service based on the supply of electronic documents from the archive, or on-demand digitisation

Project website -

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Options for the National Reports Catalogue

  • Z39.50 & distributed searching

    • academic libraries, BL & PRO, libraries in government and industry

    • does nothing for collection rationalisation

    • concerns over unresolved technical and performance issues associated with distributed searching

  • Local database & metadata harvesting

    • metadata resources are harvested offline and held locally for processing

    • consistent resource descriptions, facilitate collection rationalisation

    • Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)

    • Interoperability via Z39.50 and OAI-compliance

Project website -

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Options for the National Reports Catalogue

  • Library catalogue

    • Designed for local physical holdings

  • XML

    • Learning curve

    • State of flux

  • SQL Relational database

    • Tried and trusted

    • Experience

    • Open source vs. proprietry software

  • MySQL

    • Easy to install and use

    • Widely used by other projects

Project website -

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The National Reports Catalogue

C1 has part of SA

Series A

Collection 1

Rpt A1

Rpt A2

C2 has Rpt A1

Rpt An

C2 has part of SA

Collection 2

C2 has part of SB

Corporate source 1

Series B

Rpt B1

C2 has Rpt B1

Rpt B2

Rpt Bn

Collection n

Rpt Z1

Series Z

Rpt Z2



Rpt Zn

Project website -

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The National Reports Catalogue

Institution of Civil Engineers



Reports and Memoranda



Aeronautical Research Council

Cranfield University



Current Papers


Loughborough University

Project website -

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The National Reports Catalogue

Reports Series Table

Overview of database structure

Series Collection Lookup Table

Reports Series Lookup Table

Corporate Source Table

Collections Table

Corporate Source Lookup Table

Reports Collection Lookup Table

Key to relationships:

One to many

Many to many(via lookup)

Report Numbers Table

Reports Table

Project website -

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Populating the NRC - metadata harvesting

  • Cranfield University

    • Library catalogue holds over 120,000 reports records

    • MARC records

  • BL

    • Millions of reports

    • SIGLE database more than 100,000 UK reports records

    • custom records

  • PRO

    • Procat holds hundreds of thousands reports records

    • XML/EAD records

  • Other sources of metadata

    • dstl, NASA, NTIS, RAL, …

    • Thousands of report producers and collections

Project website -

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Populating the NRC - metadata harvesting

  • Open Archives Initiative

    • To develop interoperability standards to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content

    • to enhance access to e-print archives

    • Data Providers expose metadata about their content

    • Service Providers issue requests to data providers & use the metadata as a basis for building value-added services

    • Machine readable

    • Scheduled incremental updates

  • Take up

    • NASA, MIT, RDN, Eprint Archives

    • Elsevier’s Scirius ‘scientific’ search engine

    • OAI layer for library catalogues

    • BL

Project website -

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Full text archive

  • “ARC reports ...a subset of the most important of these [will be made] available electronically as part of the development of the full-text archive.”

  • Digitisation

    • In-house vs. external bureau

    • Many data format options to choose from

    • Scan to TIFF for archival purposes

    • Conversion to PDF for delivery

  • Storage

    • Hyperion

    • Eprint Archives

    • Disk space

Project website -

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Full text archive

  • ARC Reports & Memoranda

    • HEDS

    • Selected 1st batch of 800 reports

    • Copyright

    • 2nd batch of 800 reports

  • ARC Current Papers

    • Document Technologies

    • Whole series

    • 1st 50 already available

  • NACA reports

    • Exchange agreement with NASA

    • 5,800 ARC reports for 7,500 NACA reports rising to more than 25,000

    • Automatic exchange of metadata and pdfs using OAI-PMH

    • Page requests: 3,500 -> 7,000 -> 14,000

Project website -

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Metadata exchange between MAGiC and other organisations


Metadata recipients

Metadata providers

British Library

Engineering portal

MARC/ Z39.50 XML/DC etc.

ILL or document supply systems

Full textelectronic document archives

[Harvest full text indexes]




  • Local metadata store:

  • “ National Reports Catalogue”

  • Corporate sources

  • Series descriptions

  • Report descriptions

  • Collection descriptions

  • [Full text indexes]

End user searches or browses technical reports metadata [& full text indexes]. A list of reports, physical or electronic, matching requirements is returned, along with their locations. Subject to authentication and payment, the user can receive electronic reports at the desktop. Print reports can be ordered, for loan, photocopy, fax or email using digitization on demand.

Project website -

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Benefits and outcomes

  • Confirmation of information needs of engineers

    • Evidence of the value of technical reports

  • Framework for collection management and development

  • METReS/NRC - ‘proof of concept’

    • “ … a first step towards establishing a new collaborative system for the collection, storage and utilisation of engineering grey literature … which offers users a range of access and supply options ...”

  • 3,000 ARC reports digitised

    • NACA/ARC exchange

  • Raised awareness

    • You’re here!

    • GL is on the map

    • Core community

Project website -

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What now?

  • From ‘proof of concept’ to production

    • Produce a technical blueprint for a production service

    • Investigate implementation issues

    • Develop a plan for sustainability

  • System architecture

    • XML or XML/SQL hybrid, “Cheshire system” for the NRC

    • Delivery mechanisms, CMS, scripting languages

    • Authentication and authorisation

  • Metadata

    • Administration, preservation, resource discovery, collection level

    • Each metadata type to have its own ‘namespace’ and standards

    • Classification schemes - crosswalks

Project website -

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What now?

  • Enabling participation

    • OAI toolkit for data and service providers

    • Building and extending the NRC community

  • Sustainability

    • Cost models

    • Legal issues

    • Service administration

  • More cooperation and partnership

Project website -

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Thank you for listening!


any questions?

Project website -