Re: France's HAL, OAI interoperability, and Central vs Institutional Repositories

From: Franck Laloe <laloe_at_LKB.ENS.FR>
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 20:17:43 +0200

At 18:39 02/10/2006, Stevan Harnad wrote:

      ††† (2) why do the deposits need to be directly in HAL,
      rather than in each
      ††† author's own Institutional Repository (IR), then
      harvested by HAL?

Misunderstanding, I am sorry. Yes, Hal can be harvested through OAI-PMH,
Repec, etc... and, of course, also searched through indexers (Google,
Google Scholar), which is not trivial since Hal is basically a data base.

But no, Hal does not harvest other repositories at all, and there are no
plans to implement this. There are several reasons for this:

* Hal requires a structure of metadata where each author is liked to one
(or several) laboratories, which in turn are liked to one (or several
institutions). As I already explained this is necessary, at least in
France, to be able to extract the production of institutions, since we
have a very complicated structure of laboratories. This structure is the
price to pay to have a system that is "ISI effect" free.

This structure of metadata in Hal is richer than OAI-PMH (in its present
state). I we harvested all OAI-PMH compliant archives, this would
introduce redundancy, document with incomplete metadata (most
institutional repositories only mention their institution, not the
contribution of others, etc..).

* Many OAI repositories do not garantee sufficient quality, and even
acces to the full text.

* Hal includes certification procedures (which we call "stamps") which do
not exist in other open archives.

* In brief, we want Hal to be an homogeneous system, really useable by
the reader, and by labs (even if they belong to several institutions) and
institutions - all this through a single entry into the system. For
instance, my lab belongs to 4 institutions, we do not want to put our
articles into four open archives; one is enough.

I am just explaining what we do, and the strategy we chose (after much
discussion!). I am not claiming that it is the best in the world, or even
superior to others; actually, I know that you do not approve it, Stevan.
But I personally believe in it, because I feel that it meets the quality
that is necessary to built a real tool for research.

Let me also mention that:

* one can easily extract a local institutional repository from Hal, and
even import all the data locally, if useful.
* one can also transfer document to Hal from local systems using the so
called "webservice" techniques. In other words you can load documents
into Hal from your local system for electronic documents, without knowing
anything about Hal, *provided that* your metadata are Hal compatible.
This is what several institutions are now doing in France.

Let me finally add that Hal has been conceived to combine the advantage
of disciplinary open archives (what scientists want) and institutional
archives (which are indispensable if we want institutions to push
scientists to deposit their production). You can create portals of Hal
that are institutional, with the logo, words, etc.. of the institution,
for both upload and download. But at the same time all the documents go
to the same data base. This is technically possible, but requires the
solid structure of metadata that I described above.

I hope that I have explained the situation clearly.

Best wishes to all!


Franck LaloŽ, LKB, Dept physique de l'ENS, 24 rue Lhomond, F 75005 Paris
tel: 33 (1) 47 07 54 13; fax: 33 (1) 44 32 34 34 --†
Received on Wed Oct 04 2006 - 00:37:54 BST

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