Defining Image Access

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Defining Image Access: Requirements for interoperable discovery and delivery of image data stored in DSpace, EPrints and Fedora-based institutional repositories using a data web approach.


October 2007
The JISC has announced funding for a new project to construct a demonstrator data web, entitled FlyWeb: A Data Web between Repositories and other Data Sources, linking Drosophila Research Image Data with Publications. A link to the new wiki page for this FlyWeb Project, is FlyWeb_project.


The JISC Defining Image Access Project was a short requirements analysis project (January - July 2007), undertaken by Graham Klyne (Project Manager), Jun Zhao and David Shotton (PI) of the Image Bioinformatics Research Group of the University of Oxford, to investigate what is required to develop and provide discovery and delivery interoperability for research image data held in DSpace, EPrints and Fedora-based institutional repositories, the three main open-source software systems used within the UK HE/FE sector, using a data web approach.

The scope of this project was explicitly limited to images stored in the DSpace, EPrints and Fedora-based institutional repository systems at Cambridge, Imperial College London, Oxford and Southampton Universities. We focused on available image collections within these repositories, with the intent of identifying common metadata themes, and of articulate initial software designs for accessing and using that metadata to create a data web, with a view that these designs might later be enlarged to take account of wider requirements in future projects. This limited and focused approach was inspired by agile software development methodologies, that involve tackling a large problem area as a series of smaller, testable steps, each of which delivers some identifiable benefit. For this Defining Image Access Project, we were targeting the identification of similar or related concepts across uncoordinated repositories, that could provide a basis for meaningful cross-referencing of content.

The FINAL REPORT of the Defining Image Access Project, detailing our findings, conclusions, design concepts and recommendations for future developments, is to be found here. (The main report is here (pdf; 339 Kb), and the executive summary section is available separately here (pdf; 36.5 Kb).

Other related activities of the Image Bioinformatics Research Group are exploring access to images made available by journal publishers (see BioImageWeb Consortium), acquisition of laboratory image data with metadata appropriate for data web publication (see FlyData project), and development of more specific applications using image data web facilities to serve specific research user requirements.

Funded from the Discovery to Delivery strand of the JISC Repositories and Preservation Programme.

See also the JISC web page for this project:

Planning and project resources

Key dates as of June 2007

  • JISC Digital Repositories Conference - Dealing with the Digital Deluge: 5/6 June
  • Visit to Imperial: Friday 15th June
  • Defining Image Access Project final meeting, Wolfson College Oxford: Friday 22nd June
  • Project end date: 30th June 2007
  • Completion Report submission: 30th June 2007
  • Draft Final Report submission: 30th June 2007
  • Final Report submission: 31st July 2007

Project meeting planning pages

  • 5th January 2007, Project Kick-off Meeting. ( Event planning details.) Notes from the meeting are here.
  • 9th February 2007, Workshop on Tools and Technologies for Semantic Interoperability Across Scholarly Repositories. (Event planning details.) Notes from the meeting are here.
  • 9th March 2007, Project meeting to consider interaction of data webs with Intute Repository Search and other JISC initiatives. (Event planning details.) Notes from the meeting are here.
  • 22nd June 2007, Final project meeting, presenting our findings and soliciting feedback. (Event planning details.) Notes from the meeting posted here.

Progress tracking

A one-page progress report sent to Balviar Notay on 17 April 2007 for presentation to the JISC Integrated Information Environment (JIEE) Committee is to be found here

Current TODO


  • Diagram of data webs for the project wiki (see: software overview diagram, needs including in wiki). See also presentation linked from
  • add a definition of an image to the wiki pages; clarify that we deal with image as (mostly) opaque entities, and depend on available information/metadata.
  • Jun is undertaking a more detailed trial of image annotations in ePrints; when this is done, we should jointly review the wiki and tidy its content.


Meeting notes

Planning Meeting

Project meetings

Kickoff meeting and other project plenary meetings:

Repository Meetings

Other related meetings

Related dissemination


  • Ontologies, Images and Databases - a presentation by David Shotton (PDF).
    • Slide 5, "How to describe and classify things" is taken from The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge by Jorge Luis Borges, which was introduced to us by Alan Rector.

Technical notes

Reviews of related work

Reviews of partner image repositories



Architectural design

  • DefiningImageAccess/OAIMore - describes the brainstorming of enabling OAI-PMH to expose metadata beyond the mandatory Dublin Core metadata



Image Bioinformatics Research Group pages




Other pages:

Partners and Contacts:

How to upload files for shared access

How to upload a file

Semantic Media Wiki

Special pages to be consulted for semantic annotation


Useful help pages

-- GrahamKlyne 17:25, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Personal tools
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