TORII: Access to Digital Research Community

Asnicar, Fabio TORII: Access to Digital Research Community., 2002 . In 1st Open Archives Forum Workshop, Pisa (Italy), May 2002. [Presentation]


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English abstract

The communication of the results of scientific research, and in many ways, research itself have changed in recent years as digital means of information production, distribution and access have become widespread. Paper preprints have been replaced by electronic archives, mail and phone calls by e-mail, typewriters and hand drawing by text and graphics software programs, cabinet files by saved directories on hard disks. These new tools, together with multimedia presentations and conference websites, constitute the growing digital network of information that is taking over many aspects of the working place of research. It is a system in which the information flow is regulated, integrated and made available by the software and the network. This digital network of research is currently organized in three layers: - Repositories of information: open archives and databases. This first level is the analogous of library and publishers stacks. - Services over and for information: e.g. review journal, cross-citation. They are the analogous of, for instance, library desks and paper journals. - Digital communities: synergic union of services and information. Ideally, they replace your desktop environment by giving access to the tools you use in your everyday work. In this talk we will present Torii, a system that gives direct access to the digital research community. All tools and documents the user need are collected under an unified access point, organized according to his needs and ready for him everywhere he is are and at any time he may need them. An intuitive user interface helps the user to navigate. All the tools the user need are at his finger tips. Choice of archives and subjects are easily costumized to fit his interests. This platform grows as the digital community grows. New features will be added as they become available in the future. The personal folder is the hub of the system. The user can store his documents here for future reference or to be printed or sent to others. The personal folder is easy to use by means of its drag-and-drop interface. It ideally replaces the cabinet filer where paper documents used to be stored. Stored documents can be ranked according to his profiles, impact factors or evaluation tools. The user will find in his personal folder new documents suggested by the social filtering engine and he can attach to any documents comments for himself or to be shared by the community. Documents to be manipulated can be organised in a multi-layered stack. It could be an entry in a database, and as a new layer is added so is the entry column modified in the database, or it could be a collection of documents managed by a web server that keeps track of their relationships and modifications. The access to a multi-layered document is dynamical. According to who the user is at a given moment---reader, author, referee, editor---he has access to different layers. Dynamical access requires an appropriate interface between the multi-layered documents and the users. It also requires intelligent agents to sift through the increasingly large amount of information to shape it into some hierarchy and thus making it usable. Key features for the integration of dynamic access to the informationinto the portal are the XML language and the Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The XML language is used to encapsulate in a common structure the exchanged information, originally stored in a variety of formats. This XML metadata structure represents the semantic aspects related to the data. The OAI-PMH defines a HTTP-based mechanism for harvesting XML files containing metadata from repositories. This is the basic communication protocol between Torii and the underlying services, operating in a location-transparent way. Through the use of the OAI-PMH, Torii will be easily extensible to any archive implementing the protocol. In a user-friendly information society, the information overload is limited and the information delivery is personalized: the broad-casting of information is replaced by a more effective narrow-casting and mass-media are replaced by personal media tailored to each user's needs. These aims can be reached by more effective systems for information access. Torii provides a filtering component to skim too large a set of retrieved information and thus providing the user only with the information nearest to his interests. In Torii the user defines his research interest profiles by filling in a form;from this a user profile is derived, based on a semantic network. The profile is automatically updated every time the user provides explicit relevance feedback on some new documents. Documents to be evaluated by the cognitive filtering module are processed through information extraction techniques aimed at capturing the meaning of the document content. These techniques exploit linguistic processing and statistical analysis. Every day the filtering module filters the submissions to the archives accordingly to the user profiles and the graphical user interface provides tools to rank displayed documents accordingly to the user's profiles. Out of the 30-50 daily submissions, the user is able to see the 3-4 most relevant at the top of the list. Social filtering circulates interesting documents among users who share interests. It automatically feeds in the personal folder those documents that are potentially relevant for the user. The relevance of the documents is evaluated for similarity with the selections done by other users with similar interests. The process is the digital analogous of sharing paper among colleagues. It fosters the growth of the digital community. Quality control tools memorize and exploit human evaluation of documents. They provide users with the possibility to express their evaluation of a document by filling in a predefined form and writing free textual comments. The form results are used to statistically evaluate numerical scores about the scientific quality of the document, the comments are general, each user can choose whether his comment will be public or for himself. Users can read all public comments on a document. These tools embody a first instance of open peer review in which the community as a whole participate in the review process. A search engine, Okapi, is accessed directly from Torii. It offers a sophisticated search environment where you can look and search among the more than 150,000 documents currently stored in the archives. Okapi offers advanced retrieval mechanisms based on the probabilistic model of retrieval and relevance feedback. It runs on both the document metadata and their full text. It is fast and accurate. An assistant monitors the user search and helps him with helpful hints and terminological and contextual suggestions. It alerts the user for dead-end searches leading to hundreds of documents or no document at all. The user is made aware of strategic aspects of searching that allow him to fully exploit all information resources and services. The assistant comes fully integrated into the Okapi search engine of Torii. Torii integrates also iCite. This tool extracts all citations from all the documents submitted to the archives. These are used to rank documents in Torii so that you can order them according to their impact factors. It is a completely automatic system that creates a net of cross-references inside the archives. It is an instance of service, the second level of the three-layer structure, that can also be accessed independently at to search for citations patterns and ranking. Torii is ready to move on into the future of digital networking. As the next generation of wireless systems comes into production, Torii will be accessible from the user mobile phone. The user can connect already and use it via WAP at \texttt{} but the full potentiality of the system must wait for the 3G broad bandwidth to come into being. At that point, the user will be able to browse documents use his personal folder and any other of the features of Torii as he travel. More information about Torii can be found at:

Item type: Presentation
Keywords: Repositories of information, Digital communities, Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), Okapi, iCite
Subjects: L. Information technology and library technology
H. Information sources, supports, channels. > HS. Repositories.
Depositing user: Andrea Marchitelli
Date deposited: 03 Apr 2004
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 11:58


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