RSP EPrints Training Day

# Two women employees of North American Aviation, Incorporated, assembling a section of a wing for a P-51 fighter plane

On 19th January RSP in association with EPrints ran a training event on the EPrints repository software. We were deliberately aiming the training at institutions that already had a repository up and running so that the focus could be on managing and customising the repository rather than the installation process.

Training was carried out by EPrints developers Dave Tarrant and Patrick McSweeney with assistance from Kelly Terrell of EPrints services. Having direct access to the developers who are working on the software day-to-day was a great advantage for the trainees because they could get answers to any level of technical question.

Following a brief introduction on the reasons for using a repository and functionality provided by EPrints the main part of the day involved progressing through a series of exercises which covered most of the tasks required to completely customise the software. This included branding with configuration settings, templates and stylesheets; modifying and adding to the language files to customise text; extensive modification of the various workflows within EPrints; redefining the subject hierarchy, defining authority lists and modifying browse views; changing metadata and customising search.

One of the main lessons to be learned from the event was the extent to which EPrints can be customised through its web interface – even if, for the moment, in many cases this is a simple editing interface to the configuration files. The trainers were keen to point out that one of the priorities for future development is improving the usability of the interfaces but even in the current form very extensive customisation can be carried out without ever needing to log on to the server directly.

To round off the day Dave provided an overview of the Bazaar functionality that will be part of the next release of EPrints, version 3.3 due before the end of Q1 2011. This is being billed as an ‘App Store’ for EPrints and will provide a simple interface for the safe installation and, crucially, uninstallation of EPrints plugins, a process that currently often requires the involvement of technical staff. I believe that this will be of great advantage to repository managers looking to extend the functionality of their IR. In addition, to make the Bazaar possible a great deal of work has gone into extending the functionality of the EPrints API, which will also benefit the developers of plugins and extensions.

Image credit: The Library of Congress via flickr.

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About Rob Ingram
Rob Ingram is the Technical Officer for the Repositories Support Project offering technical advice and support to UK repository networks.

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