Library Research & Prototyping

Scholarly communication and open science in the digital age. 

The Library's Research and Prototyping Team explores various aspects of scholarly communication and open science in the digital age. The team’s efforts mainly focus on information infrastructure, information interoperability, and long-term persistence of the scholarly record. The team was leading efforts to devise groundbreaking, and widely used, scholarly information interoperability standards such as OAI-PMH, OpenURL, and OAI-ORE. The team also conducted the MESUR project, the first ever effort to explore alternative metrics for scholarly communication in a scientific manner, which became a major catalyst for the meanwhile popular Altmetrics movement.

More recently, the Prototyping Team took lead in developing and standardizing interoperability frameworks such as Memento, to access past versions of the web resources, ResourceSync, to synchronize repository systems, and Signposting, to help machines navigate scholarly communications infrastructure on the web.

Current efforts include the “Nucleus” project, where the team is implementing a collaborative research data management platform based on a local installation of the Open Science Framework open source software and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supported “Scholarly Orphans” project, which focuses on web-centric approaches to archive scholarly artifacts.


Contact: Martin Klein (505) 665-6207 Email

Current Projects

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Scholarly Orphans

Increasingly, scholars across disciplines and throughout the research life cycle are using a wide variety of online portals such as GitHub, FigShare, Publons, and SlideShare to conduct aspects of their research and to communicate research outcomes. However, these portals, whether dedicated to scholarly use or general purpose, exist outside of the traditional scholarly publishing system and no infrastructure exists to systematically and comprehensively archive the deposited artifacts. We have shown in previous work that without adequate infrastructure, scholarly artifacts will vanish from the web in much the same way and with similar frequency ”regular” web resources do. 

In the “Scholarly Orphans” project, we assume that research institutions are interested in collecting scholarly artifacts created by their researchers. As such, we are designing an institutional pipeline to track, capture, and archive these artifacts. The tracking part is crucial as institutions are usually not even aware of the existence of artifacts created by their researchers in online portals. Regarding capture, we are developing a novel framework we call Memento Tracer that plays a crucial role in creating high-fidelity Mementos of artifacts. With Memento Tracer, a human curator interacts with a web-based artifact to establish its essential components, and to record these interactions as Traces. A Trace can be used as instructions for automatic web archiving frameworks to capture artifacts of the same class. In addition, Traces can be shared with a community of practice enabling a new level of collaboration among artifact archiving institutions. These characteristics give Memento Tracer the potential to bring about significant progress for high-quality web archiving at scale.

To demonstrate the potential of this approach, we have established a pilot that is available at We shared a few insights gained from this pilot at the CNI 2019 Spring meeting.

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Signposting the scholarly web

Signposting is an approach to make the scholarly web more friendly to machines. The concept is based on using IANA-registered link relation types to establish coarse-grained interoperability among scholarly communication and research nodes. By using typed links in HTTP link headers, Signposting shows machines the way to obtain information from repeatedly occurring scenarios in scholarly portals. For examples, it helps machines find the authors of a publication, the bibliographic metadata that describe a publication, and discover the (compound) resources that make up a publication. Signposting principles have found early adopters in DataCite, Pangaea, DANS, and the University College Dublin Digital Library.