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Posted 5/4/2017

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By Molly McManus
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Library

The Information Technology Laboratory’s Information Science and Knowledge Management Branch has launched a new digital repository platform, Knowledge Core, which will host technical reports and other archival and historical items.

Hosted on the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s cloud computing environment with database and software support provided by the Software Engineering and Evaluation Branch, DSpace offers significant improvements in usability and discoverability and better tools for long-term management and preservation of technical reports and other digital assets.  The existing digital repository will be retired in the next few months.

One major advantage of the new repository is that it can host a wide variety of formats. “Although technical reports continue to be an essential tool for technology transfer, ERDC and USACE also produce knowledge and data in complex digital formats.  One of ISKMB’s missions is to collect, preserve, describe, and distribute content regardless of the format.  Our new repository will be able to host datasets, models, computer programs, video, audio, images, and more,” said Denise Kitchens, ISKMB chief.

Knowledge Core uses two levels of digital preservation: bit preservation and functional preservation.  Bit preservation ensures that a file remains exactly the same over time, while functional preservation goes further.  The file does change over time so that the material continues to be immediately usable in the same way it was originally while the digital formats evolve over time.  “Digital preservation is an evolving field and we can’t predict which formats will be available in the future,” said Librarian Jennefer Beyl.  “Efforts will be made to ensure that functionality of the original content is maintained, even if file formats change over time.

The library’s new repository is linked with the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, a nonprofit organization that manages the Handle.Net Registry.  The Handle.Net Registry is used for assigning, managing, and resolving persistent identifiers for digital objects and other internet resources.

Ensuring that ERDC-authored reports and articles are visible in search engines is an important part of completing the publishing process. Search engines are where many researchers are beginning their research and finding experts on important topics.  Behind the scenes, Knowledge Core uses search-engine friendly sitemaps and includes Google-Scholar-specific metadata fields in each item’s display pages. Knowledge Core is also compatible with mobile phones or tablets.

In the next few months, staff will complete development of a new restricted use repository hosted on the DSpace platform.  “The repository will be restricted by CAC card and IP address to USACE employees only and will allow ISKMB and ERDC to share valuable materials and historical knowledge that we cannot share with the general public,” said IT Specialist Bernard du Breuil.


ERDC ITL Knowledge Core USACE