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CERN collaborates with Japan’s NII on digital libraries


How we produce, share and preserve knowledge has transformed with advancements in technology and changes in publishing methods, especially in research. Particle physicists rely heavily on digital library platforms to archive, share and preserve research output. These platforms depend on Invenio, a digital library framework CERN has been developing since 2002.

This year, on 4 September, CERN signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII). The event signals the beginning of a collaboration between the two organisations to extend Invenio with Next Generation Repositorycapabilities as defined by the Confederation of Open Access Repositories.

“The collaboration focuses on extending Invenio to become fully Next Generation compliant, which will consolidate CERN technology for digital repositories as the most modern repository framework in the market, making it more useful for any institution worldwide with the same needs. To have Invenio technology developed by two such important institutions will enable an efficient and diverse evolution of the software. This also highlights CERN’s capacity to generate technological value for society,” says Jose Benito Gonzalez Lopez, project coordinator.

The future of research libraries rests in modern digital repositories. Here, research output, data and other materials can be curated, shared and archived for easy access from anywhere in the world. Invenio is now used by more than 60 institutions worldwide. Its latest version, Invenio 3, was redeveloped from scratch using modern technology, making it flexible and customizable. These features, which allow Invenio 3 to be extended to fit any system, were the main reason why NII chose its framework to develop a new version of WEKO, their own in-house digital repository system.

“Before starting our collaboration, we carefully investigated existing open-source repository systems. By comparing its functionality, scalability, extensibility and also capability in international development, we reached the conclusion that Invenio is the best repository system. We are excited to work with the CERN team. Through our use case, we can show the huge potential of Invenio to the world.” says Masaharu Hayashi, project manager of WEKO, NII.

WEKO, developed by NII in 2008, is used by more than 500 Japanese universities and research institutions through a cloud service. NII is an inter-university research institute that partners with industries and civilian organisations in Japan to promote academic information infrastructure. Within the outlines of the newly-signed MoU, NII will develop several functionalities for WEKO 3, which will contribute to Invenio 3’s framework. CERN and NII will work together in the development of modules related to Next Generation Repositories as both Invenio and WEKO evolve in the coming years. These modules and other tools will be integrated as open source into Invenio’s core structure to benefit the global research community.