I am soooo excited to announce the first public beta release of the Research-Output Repository Platform (codename “Famulus”)*. It’s been a lot of fun working on Famulus for the last few months and the entire team is extremely excited to make it available to the community. Here’s the intro from the download page.
MSR’s Research Output Repository Platform (codename “Famulus”) aims to provide the necessary building blocks, tools, and services for developers who are tasked with creating and maintaining an organization’s repository ecosystem. Furthermore, it provides an easy-to-install and maintain experience for those who want to quickly set up a research output repository for their project, team, or organization. The platform is based on Microsoft’s technologies (SQL Server 2008 and .NET Framework version 3.5 SP1) hence taking advantage of their robustness, their quality support infrastructure, and the plethora of developer-focused documentation. New applications on top of the platform can be developed using any .NET language and the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 environment. The platform focuses on the management of research assets such as people, papers, lectures, workflows, data, and tags as well as the semantic relationships between them. Support for various services such as full-text search, OAI-PMH, RSS and Atom Syndication, BibTeX import and export, SWORD, AtomPub, and OAI-ORE are included as part of the distribution.
I’ve talked about our work around semantics and repositories before:
- “The Age of Semantics”
- “Microsoft and “Research-Output” Repositories”
- “Relationships can have properties as well”
- “Merging data graphs – myExperiment & Resource-Output Repository Platform”
- “Extending Famulus using arbitrary data models”
As per our original commitment, Famulus will be available at no cost to the community. With this beta release, we hope to get a lot of feedback so we can improve it. There is still sooooooooo much that needs to be done and I am sure there are problems with this beta release. Please let us know of the issues you encounter as you try out Famulus and as you attempt to write applications on top of the platform. I’ll try my best to blog about samples and simple scenarios related to the development experience. We have set up a discussion/support forum and a feedback mailing list. We encourage you to use them.
I believe we are taking the right first few steps in enabling an ecosystem of tools and services for repositories on top of the Microsoft platform. As I’ve mentioned in the past, interoperability with community formats and protocols is amongst our primary goals. I think this is evident from the protocols we are already supporting and there is more to come.
We have already started working on the next coding milestone, which is going to bring significant improvements to the Web UI functionality and experience, basic submission-related workflow support, and RDF/RDFS support (amongst other things). RDFS support is going to be a very important step for Famulus since we are going to be building on top of the experience we have gained in order to enable a great development experience for arbitrary domains and their data models.
You can slowly see our promise for free tools and services to support the Scholarly Communications lifecycle materialize: Famulus, Chem4Word, eJournal service, Conference Management Tool, Article Authoring plugin, Research Information Center, Creative Commons plugin, samples (e.g. OfficeSWORD, myExperiment integration), etc.
Well done to the team, Lee Dirks, Alex Wade, the Persistent team, and Anthony Hanses who have all been fantastic!
* Final name will be announced with the next release.