Vireo 2.0.1 Released

February 27th, 2013

The latest version of Vireo has been released just ahead of the 2013 TxETDA/USETDA Region 3 Joint Conference. The conference kicks off tomorrow morning at the Texas A&M University campus. This release is a bug fix release and doesn’t really bring any new features other than improved ProQuest compatibility. Originally when Vireo 2.0 was released the export capabilities were not vetted by ProQuest. In the intervening time we have worked back and forth with the folks at ProQuest to make sure that the export format meets ProQuests requirements. I would like to thank Dan Short at ProQuest for his support and many emails back and forth to iron out the issues with ProQuest compatibility.

Here are a list of the bugs that have been corrected:

  • Fixed error that prevents submissions from being deleted if they are referenced by a search filter.
  • Updates to the ProQuest format (requested by ProQuest on January 8th)
  • Spelling mistakes, allready -> already (from Dheles at John Hopkins)
  • Fixed the label of before & after in the date range search (from Dheles at John Hopkins)
  • Fixed display of version number (from Dheles at John Hopkins)
  • Fixed DSpace export error where committee members were being tagged as advisors
  • Fixed authorization check preventing from Managers being able to update a student’s email and name.
  • Fixed authorization check preventing Managers from being able to demote users to the Student role.
  • Fixed UI error so that an error message is shown if no attachment type is selected when uploading a file in the view tab.
  • Fixed the email toggle settings by removing two of them and making the advisor request optional.
  • Fixed error preventing the STUDENT_URL and ADVISOR_URL from being available in non system email templates.
  • Fixed error causing some system email templates from being duplicated with “_” instead of spaces.
  • Fixed an NPE error in some exports if metadata is not present.
  • Fixed a problem preventing errors which occur during a batch process from being reported under the error tab.
  • Fixed an error with the DSpace Dublin core export so that dc.type = “Thesis”

You can download the latest version of Vireo from github. They have changed their system a bit in the past month, the dedicated downloads page has been removed. From now on you should use the “Tags” page to download the latest version of Vireo and anything prior.

Exporting from Vireo into DSpace

February 20th, 2013

The first version of the Vireo Electronic Thesis and Submission system was built as an addon to DSpace. It used the same technology stack, reused the underlying database and file storage, operated within the same UI. The original idea was that Vireo would deeptly integrate with the repository. Because of these decisions there was no separation between how Vireo stored it’s metadata and it’s Dublin Core encoding of the metadata. There was only one way, the Vireo way. If you wanted something else you couldn’t do it with DSpace. For example, if you wanted to store the author’s information in contributor.author you couldn’t. Vireo demanded that you use the creator field instead.

Vireo 2.0 broke this requirement bring more flexibility. The project is no longer deeply integrated with DSpace, or any other repository. Internally Vireo stores its metadata in relational tables in the format that is easiest for it to work with and does not conform to any particular metadata encoding. Then when data is ready to be deposited into the repository the SWORD protocol is used to deposit the content into the destination repository. During the SWORD deposit Vireo will generate a metadata package in a particular encoding format. These “export formats” are designed to be flexible so that different repositories can use different encodings. I’ve previously written a blog post on the technology behind these export formats if you are interested in customizing them.

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Vireo 2.0 Released

December 27th, 2012

The latest major version of the turnkey solution for Electronic Thesis & Dissertation (ETD) management has been released. Vireo 2.0 brings many major new features to the system which will be a wide interest to many in the community. This release follows on 9 months of continuous development from Texas A&M University Libraries with wide participation from other organizations such as the Texas Digital Library and the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign.

New Fields

Many of the most requested features revolve around collecting additional data from the student. These new fields allow for easier processing of submission or collecting key data that was not previously available.

  • Language
    This field allows the student to select from a pre-defined list of languages. The primary motivation for this field is for compatibility with ProQuest as they require the language of an ETD to be identified.
  • Subjects
    The field allows the student to select up to three subjects from a pre-defined list of subjects. As with the previous field the primary motivation for this field for compatibility with ProQuest. The pre-defined list of subjects is defined by ProQuest but may be modified by updating the Excel spreadsheet at /conf/proquest/umi_subjects.xls
  • Published Material
    This field allows for students to describe which sections in their ETD may have been previously published. The field first appears as a checkbox, but when checked a second component is exposed asking the student to identify the material that has been previously published. This enables review staff to identify submissions which may need an additional copyright review before publishing.
  • Defense Date
    This field allows for students to specify when they successfully defended their thesis or dissertation. This date is an important milestone of the process and useful to be recorded with the other metadata about the submission.
  • Program
    This field operates like the College and Department fields have always worked. The Vireo Manager is able to create a list of available programs from which the student chooses. This field allows for different review process for different programs.
  • Dynamic Committee Member Role Types
    Previous version of Vireo had a single check box to specify whether a committee member was the chair or co-chair of a committee. This did not allow for additional role types such as Department Head, or Directory of Research to be specified on the student committee. Further more, some schools do not use the “chair” language instead they follow “Supervisor” or another nomenclature. This new field allows the Vireo Manager to defined role types that are available at each degree level.
  • Administrative and Source files
    Previous versions of Vireo allowed the student to upload a primary PDF manuscript, along with any number of supplementary documents. In addition to these categories Vireo 2.0 introduces two additional types: administrative files and source files. Administrative files are things like signed authorization forms or other items required by local workflow. The administrative files will not leave Vireo. Source files are the original word or LaTex documents used to generate the primary PDF manuscript. These source files are commonly deposited in to the Institutional Repository but not made publicly available. They may be used in the future to enhance the preservation potential of the items being deposited.
  • Reviewer Notes
    This field is not available to students. Instead it is only available to Vireo Reviewers and Managers. The field is visible under the view tab just above the table of action logs. This is a free-form textarea where reviewers can leave private notes about the submission and it’s state.

New Features

  • ProQuest Export
    The ProQuest export format has been enhanced supporting the new ProQuest centric fields that have been incorporated into Vireo. We are still awaiting word from ProQuest for them to validate the new format.
  • Remove item individually from filter lists
    This feature helps make the new batch features below more useful. Batch features work based off of filter searches. Crafting a filter search to target a specific population of submissions will sometimes leave one or two that just are not ready to be updated. Using this feature the reviewer can remove individual submissions from the filter, before running a batch operation on them.
  • Batch send email to students
    This allows mass emails to be sent out to students about important information. You may send an individual email or select from among the email templates. All the standard variables are available.
  • Batch assign submissions
    This batch feature allows for a Vireo manager to assign batches of submissions to a particular individuals.
  • Batch status change
    This batch feature allows for batches of submissions to change state when ready. Using this feature the Vireo Reviewer can queue up a set of submissions and move them to the next state all at once. Using this feature allows batch publishing of submissions, and if you move the submissions to the canceled state you may also batch delete submissions.

New Settings

  • ProQuest settings
    Several new settings have been added to support the ProQuest export format. The new fields are found under the Application Settings tab and include: ProQuest Institution code, toggle for Open Access publishing, and a toggle for Indexing by Search Engines. This makes configuring the export format much easier by end users.
  • Bulk updates
    Many of the lists under the Configurable Settings tab now have bulk operations. All lists may be sorted or alphabetized, bulk delete is also possible, and some fields have a bulk add feature.
  • Toggle all data field: Disabled, Optional, or Required
    This is a major new feature! All fields (not just the new fields added above) may be configured turned on or off individually. Each field can be set to Disabled, Optional, or Required. Disabled fields are not collected from students, while Optional fields will be displayed to students but they will not be required to provide the data.
  • Customize field labels
    Each field may now have it’s label customized individually. This allows for some institutions to repurpose fields for slightly different data. The name of these fields are only modified for students, else ware in the administrative interface the field will still display it’s original pre-defined name.
  • Customize field help text
    Each field may now have the helptext customized individually. This allows the Vireo Manager to add local institution instructions to particular fields.
  • Customize sticky notes
    The sticky notes shown on the right column during the student submission process may be updated. Vireo Managers may update the text, or add / remove notes.
  • Degree codes
    Formal degree codes (i.e. Ph.D) may be specified for individual degrees under the Application Settings tab. This is primarily to support the ProQuest export format.

I am working on a presentation of new features that were made available in Vireo 2.0 for the TxETDA/USETDA conference, so I may be updating this post as I prepare for that. In addition we are planning on releasing a 2.0.1 release with several bug fixes in February.

Configuring Vireo 2.0

December 15th, 2012

Vireo is a turnkey solution for Electronic Thesis & Dissertation (ETD) management from the initial point of a student’s submission, through the approval workflow, and to publication. This post gives an detailed list of all the configuration options that are available for system administrators to configure the application. While one of our goals of the Vireo refresh is to move as much configuration into the user interface as possible. This allows the thesis office staff to tweak and experiment with the various options without going through an system administrator. The items that are left for administrators to configure of focused on where the various resources are available for the application such as http ports, databases, file system, email system along with how to configure user authentication and other miscellaneous settings.

The main application configuration for Vireo is located in conf/application.conf. The file consists of simple name/value pairs used to direct how the application operates. Oftentimes it is helpful to have several deployment scenarios defined in a configuration file at the same time. To support this, Play has the concept of frameworks. Each framework is an ID used to identify a configuration set. All the parameters defined below can be scoped to a particular framework. For example:

paramater1 = default value 
%myframework.paramater1 = another value

When evaluated if Play is operating under the framework “myframework” then paramater1 is “another value”. However, under any other framework the value is “default value”. Using this you can specify local deployment configuration. For example, if you want to change the HTTP port that is used for your instance of Vireo, you could define %myedu.http.port = 80. Then, when you run Play, always use the “myedu” framework.

To specify a framework when running Vireo add --%frameworkID to the end of any command. For example play start --%myedu

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Customizng Vireo Export Formats

October 21st, 2012

Vireo is a turnkey solution for Electronic Thesis & Dissertation (ETD) management from the initial point of a student’s submission, through the approval workflow, and to publication. This post gives an overview of how to export with data from Vireo into other systems.

The export system, introduced with Vireo 1.8, is a powerful and flexible mechanism for allowing other systems to use data from Vireo. The number of built-in formats supported by Vireo is greatly expanded, while also allowing for customizations at each institution. I hope that the new export system will prove to be easily customized by other developers without investing lots of time in learning the intricacies of the platform or java, and instead just focus or reformatting the data. If, you’re a developer working on customizing an export format please drop me a line and let me know how the experience went (or if you’re not finished I may be able to answer a question or two).