Project promotion materials:

Project Homepage:

Data collections can be seen on:!/class=collection/p=1/group=James%20Cook%20University/

Software is available at:

Software categories:

Integration metadata from various systems which are internal to an institution

Integration collection records

party records and activity records which may be external to an institution

Metadata Store Solutions

Project Members:

Ian Atkinson (Project Contact,

Marianne Brown (Project Manager,

David Beitey (EResearch Specialist/IT Expert,

Nigel Bajema (EResearch Specialist,

ANDS Contact:

Andrew White (

Project Status:


Research Data Catalogue

James Cook University

Project Description:

Prior to the completion of this ANDS-funded project (MS07), the responsibility for the safe storage and curation of research data lay at the feet of individual Schools and Research Centres within JCU. Naturally this unstructured devolution lead to a variety of mechanisms for dealing with research data retention and access, from allocated space on network storage drives through to external disk dirves, USB keys, DVDs and externally hosted services. In many cases, it was left up to individual researchers to manage storage for their research data. Regardless of the level of sophistication of the storage methodology, there was no corporate level record or knowledge of the existing datasets or practical implementation of a minimum standard.

The first ANDS-funded project at JCU (AP01) developed a small prototype system for storing collection metadata and providing a self-deposit interface for researchers. This enabled JCU to start creating a catalogue of the research data that existed within the university and introduce the concepts of research data management more generally. The prototype system proved very successful but had limited functionality. The Metadata Stores Project MS07 has enabled JCU to implement a more fully featured and robust system that can be maintained into the future and operated as a core JCU system.

The main goals of the project were to: 1) select, install and integrate a metadata repository solution with the internal corporate systems; 2) implement mechanisms for the automated ingestion of metadata records created by our Application projects (AP02 – CliMAS , AP03 – Edgar ) and the rich data capture project (DC24 – EnMaSSe ); and 3) replace our existing self-deposit system with a self-deposit interface for the new ReDBox based system.

The ReDBox-Mint repository solution was selected as being most suitable system for JCU to build a research metadata repository. Installation and integration with JCU corporate systems was achieved without excessive difficulty, in part due to the work previously undertaken by JCU to uniquely identify researchers. We have implemented modifications to the metadata collection forms to meet specific JCU requirements and some degree of JCU branding has been implemented.

Automated ingestion of the metadata from external sources has proved more challenging to implement. This has been due to the volume of records we wanted to be able to ingest in a single run. Ultimately, two different mechanisms for automated ingestion have been tested and are being used successful by the various projects. Records are also being ingested from our original metadata store into the ReDBox system. The JCU Research Data repository now holds over 1600 collection records with another approximately 2500 records to be ingested from projects in the near future.

Self-deposit of metadata has required more development on top of the ReDBox platform. This is a core requirement for JCU and has been a core requirement from the beginning of our project. A Fascinator plugin has been developed to allow for authentication using the Australian Access Federation (AAF) and the MS07 development team has been working with the ReDBox team on the development of the new forms and workflows required for self-deposit of research metadata. Since first proposed by JCU in early 2011, there has been a growing number of other institutions that are interested in the self-deposit mechanism and we are hopeful of having this functionality completed and operational soon.

In addition to the repository, this project has also implemented a researcher profile portal, Research Portfolio. The site brings together information on teaching, publications, student supervision, grants, and data collections into a beautifully presented profile page for each active researcher at JCU. This initiative has been received with enthusiasm by the research community and will be officially launched in May 2013.

The Research Portfolio site has raised the level of awareness within the research community of the importance of ensuring up-to-date and accurate information is deposited into various corporate systems. As a consequence of the increased visibility of research data that the portfolio site delivers, the MS07 team is aware of at least three individual units within the university that are seeking funding to assist them with ensuring their existing research collections are documented via metadata records and deposited in the Research Data repository.

The Research Data repository is operated out of the eResearch Centre with metadata reviews being undertaken by the Digital Curation Librarian to ensure consistence and quality of the records being produced. Self-deposit of collection records is currently still being undertaken using the original prototype system. These records are then exported and ingested into the ReDBox implementation. This workflow is expected to be replaced by full self deposition directly into ReDBox in the near future.

This project produced the following items:
• A Shibboleth plugin for The Fascinator (for AAF authentication).
• A directory name harvester for ReDBox
• A JCU institutional build for ReDBox
• A JCU Mint institutional build
• An automated ingestion guide for the Research Data repository
• A Users Guide for the Research Data repository
• Best Practice Guide for Research Data Management at JCU

All material produced by this project is available under open source licenses. All code is available under a GNU General Public License Version 2. All documentation is available under the Creative Commons Attribution v3.0 Australia license.

High Level Software Functionality: