Savas Parastatidis has announced a research output repository software being developed by the MS technical computing group. I got a sneaky preview from Savas a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve been looking forward to being able to blog this! The UI is lots of fun:

Notes and comments: –

  • It’s based on an RDBMS, but walks and quacks a lot like an RDF triplestore. The design aims to retain the scalability of a well designed RDBMS schema, but gain the flexibility of a triplestore.
  • It’s going to be free (as in beer). Of course, there’s a stack of licensed software (windows server, SQL server etc) you need before you can install it.
  • There’s a suggestion that it may be released under an Open Source license. Whatever license they choose, I think the strongest development community will be built on a good API and plugin management system (sound familiar?). This could work with a closed license, or on a MySQL-type OS model equally well.
  • The team have a strong and (IMO) genuine desire to play nicely with existing interoperability standards, and to participate in the development of interop standards.
  • Will this be a competitor to DSpace, Fedora, ePrints, BePress, Intrallect et al? Of course it will, but what IRs need now is people trying new and different approaches, so a new entrant could give the whole area a fillip.
  • More and more people are going to want to bring their repositories to their data, rather than vice versa. Lots of people store their data on windows servers, in active directories and shared network drives etc. There could be a lot of very quick wins if the team choose to go in that direction.

Brian Kelly is worried that being cited in a patent will earn him a lashback from the community.

The patent itself is a humdinger, and I hope somebody shows prior art quickly. I’m pretty confident this will go the same way as BT’s attempt to enforce a patent on the use of hyperlinks.