Monday, October 15, 2012

Bibliographic Software → ??? → BePress

The Leddy Library will be shortly launching its new Institutional Repository. Our site will running on a BePress server and we’ll be having its official launch just after Open Access Week. At the moment, we still only have access to a demo site that we can use for ‘practice’. We are using this interval to investigate and figure out possible workflows that will allow a variety of staff to be able to identify, select, and upload faculty publications that are eligible for archiving. We are hoping that once liaison librarians and staff identify papers eligible for our new IR, they will pass on the information about these papers to our IR coordinator who will double check things and then bulk upload the papers.

For those unfamiliar with BePress, individual article uploads are possible by means of an online form that is readily available on most BePress sites. Bulk uploads are possible by making use of a pre-formatted Excel spreadsheet provided by BePress and available to BePress site administrators. Bulk uploads are also available using XML but as this requires some effort to finesse into functionality, it’s not particularly encouraged by BePress.

BePress also offers a service to identify and upload suitable documents into one’s institutional repository but IMHO the service is very expensive. It’s unfortunate that BePress provides this service because it appears to present an disincentive for BePress to improve their software’s bulk uploading capabilities. I expect more because I work with Syrup -  the wonderful and sadly under-appreciated course reserve software created by Art Rhyno and Graham Fawcett - and Syrup provides the very feature I would have expected from IR software today: the ability to easily upload records using the RIS standard of bibliographic software. But you go to war with the army you have and not the army you want.

My colleague asked for workflow suggestions on the BePress mailing list and I did the same on code4lib. My email went like this:

We're trying to figure out a workflow for our BePress IR and was curious if anyone in code4libland has developed "something" (an Excel macro? a Zotero export function?) that could take formatted citations and put them in the proper order so they could be bulk added to the BePress bulk upload Excel spreadsheet.  Or perhaps there's an altogether different way of going about collecting, formatting, and adding such things for BePress.   
Everything counts in large amounts

And from that we found out that Roy Tennant, some years ago, created a Perl script that collects the latest citations in Web of Science (WoS) via their WSDL. Lisa Schiff kindly found this script and sent it my way. While the script is admittedly out of date (and Web of Science now provides an API for this sort of thing) it still will will prove useful if and when we get to a point in which we want to automate and script our workflow. (Thank you Roy, Kirk Hastings, and Lisa Schiff!)

And here are some things that we’ve figured out ourselves:

  • Between Zotero and RefWorks, Zotero exports the cleanest results to excel format. RefWorks can easily export to Excel, while Zotero requires the use of an SQLite extension and this script ( kindly provided by Royce Kimmons. On this page ( Kimmons explains how one can select one or more Zotero collection/folder for export.

  • No one that we know of has created an Excel macro to automate transferring the result of an export to Excel from RefWorks or Zotero to ease the cutting and pasting necessary to get the information into BePress’s Excel Spreadsheet.

  • An alternative means of sharing citations is to avoid Excel exporting altogether and instead, have staff make their papers available on in a public library and have the IR coordinator use Zotero to download the citations using that are either tagged as appropriate (e.g. or those that have been placed in a given collection folder (e.g.

  • Papers on BePress can be added to Zotero on each item level page but not on a collection page.  Improving this capability would require creating a special Zotero translator for BePress:

Thank you everyone who has helped us work through this. I hope what we’ve learned proves useful to you as well.

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