ScholarSphere Feature Updates

Since the September 24 beta release of ScholarSphere, Penn State’s new repository service, we have been busy promoting its features and functionalities through talks and demos with a variety of audiences. To date, we have presented on ScholarSphere for the following groups:

  • College of Agricultural Science Library Committee
  • Commonwealth Campus Libraries ( at its fall 2012 meeting
  • Faculty Senate Committee on Research
  • IT Leadership Council
  • IT Pro Roundtable
  • Penn State Harrisburg library
  • Records Management Summit, organized by University Archives and held annually
  • University Health Sciences Council

We continue to receive requests for more talks and demos, as well as discussions on use cases for further development (e.g., delivering and managing video content – such as short films created by students in Film & Media Studies – in ScholarSphere). We’re working with researchers interested in leveraging ScholarSphere’s capabilities for managing research data sets. And we’re talking with other libraries about our experiences developing repository services using the Hydra/Fedora framework.

We also have a major new feature to announce! From the start ScholarSphere has enabled deposit of multiple files at once; Google Chrome also makes possible uploading a folder of files. Now users can edit and delete sets of files through our “batch edit and delete” feature (see the screen capture of this new user interface below, showing three files to be edited as a set). Edits – as well as deletion – can be applied across a batch of files. Clicking on a label opens up the field for editing; more than one can be clicked on, edited, and then saved altogether.

batch_edit.pngIn addition, notification updates – e.g., after a user has saved metadata in the Descriptions form – now happen without having to refresh the browser; specifically, the wand icon, which appears on the dashboard after metadata has been saved, goes away when processing is complete.

Features very close to completion include one-time URLs and deposit by proxy:

  • One-time URLs will allow Penn State users to share content they’ve restricted to the Penn State community or made private, such as unpublished yet ongoing work, with non-Penn-State users, e.g., colleagues at other institutions. This means that a temporary URL will be assigned, through which the file and its metadata record can be accessed during a certain window of time.
  • Deposit by proxy allows an individual, such as a graduate research assistant, to deposit on behalf of another individual, such as a faculty member, or group of individuals, such as a research group. These were features that participants inquired after during our usability testing period in July.

And, last but not least, we can report an update on the collection feature. We have begun working on collection functionality, the most important feature thus far for ScholarSphere, based on user demand. Last week our digital library architect and lead developer presented to the ScholarSphere service team an initial conceptual model of collection functionality and design for discussion and feedback. We talked identifiers, collections metadata, relationships, user interfaces, and roles and requirements, and in the process discussed additional needs – including, asĀ suggested by our metadata librarian, the ability to create an empty collection to which objects may be added later.

These are exciting times for ScholarSphere (and additional Hydra-head) development. As always, we welcome feedback from ScholarSphere users, whether it’s an issue to report, or an idea for enhancing the service; please use the Contact Form to let us know. We want to hear from you!