Integrating altmetrics into a subject repository - EconStor as a use case

Back in 2015 the ZBW Leibniz Information Center for Economics (ZBW) teamed up with the Göttingen State and university library (SUB), the Service Center of Götting library federation (VZG) and GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in the *metrics project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The aim of the project was: “… to develop a deeper understanding of *metrics, especially in terms of their general significance and their perception amongst stakeholders.” (*metrics project about).

In the practical part of the project the following DSpace based repositories of the project partners participated as data sources for online publications and – in the case of EconStor – also as implementer for the presentation of the social media signals:

  • EconStor - a subject repository for economics and business studies run by the ZBW, currently (Aug. 2019) containing round about 180,000 downloadable files,
  • GoeScholar - the Publication Server of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen run by the SUB Göttingen, offering approximately 11,000 publicly browsable items so far,
  • SSOAR - the “Social Science Open Access Repository” maintained by GESIS, currently containing about 53,000 publicly available items.

In the work package “Technology analysis for the collection and provision of *metrics” of the project an analysis of currently available *metrics technologies and services had been performed.

As stated by [Wilsdon 2017], currently suppliers of altmetrics “remain too narrow (mainly considering research products with DOIs)”, which leads to problems to acquire *metrics data for repositories like EconStor with working papers as the main content. As up to now it is unusual – at least in the social sciences and economics – to create DOIs for this kind of documents. Only the resulting final article published in a journal will receive a DOI.

Based on the findings in this work package, a test implementation of the *metrics crawler had been built. The crawler had been actively deployed from early 2018 to spring 2019 at the VZG. For the aggregation of the *metrics data the crawler had been fed with persistent identifiers and metadata from the aforementioned repositories.

At this stage of the project, the project partners still had the expectation, that the persistent identifiers (e.g. handle, URNs, …), or their local URL counterparts, as used by the repositories could be harnessed to easily identify social media mentions of their documents, e.g. for EconStor:

  • handle: “hdl:10419/…”
  • resolver URL: “http(s)://…”
  • EconStor landing page URL with handle: “http(s)://…”
  • EconStor bitstream (PDF) URL with handle: “http(s)://…”

20th Century Press Archives: Data donation to Wikidata

ZBW is donating a large open dataset from the 20th Century Press Archives to Wikidata, in order to make it better accessible to various scientific disciplines such as contemporary, economic and business history, media and information science, to journalists, teachers, students, and the general public.

The 20th Century Press Archives (PM20) is a large public newspaper clippings archive, extracted from more than 1500 different sources published in Germany and all over the world, covering roughly a full century (1908-2005). The clippings are organized in thematic folders about persons, companies and institutions, general subjects, and wares. During a project originally funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the material up to 1960 has been digitized. 25,000 folders with more than two million pages up to 1949 are freely accessible online.  The fine-grained thematic access and the public nature of the archives makes it to our best knowledge unique across the world (more information on Wikipedia) and an essential research data fund for some of the disciplines mentioned above.

The data donation does not only mean that ZBW has assigned a CC0 license to all PM20 metadata, which makes it compatible with Wikidata. (Due to intellectual property rights, only the metadata can be licensed by ZBW - all legal rights on the press articles themselves remain with their original creators.) The donation also includes investing a substantial amount of working time (during, as planned, two years) devoted to the integration of this data into Wikidata. Here we want to share our experiences regarding the integration of the persons archive metadata.

ZBW's contribution to "Coding da Vinci": Dossiers about persons and companies from 20th Century Press Archives

At 27th and 28th of October, the Kick-off for the "Kultur-Hackathon" Coding da Vinci is held in Mainz, Germany, organized this time by GLAM institutions from the Rhein-Main area: "For five weeks, devoted fans of culture and hacking alike will prototype, code and design to make open cultural data come alive." New software applications are enabled by free and open data.

For the first time, ZBW is among the data providers. It contributes the person and company dossiers of the 20th Century Press Archive. For about a hundred years, the predecessor organizations of ZBW in Kiel and Hamburg had collected press clippings, business reports and other material about a wide range of political, economic and social topics, about persons, organizations, wares, events and general subjects. During a project funded by the German Research Organization (DFG), the documents published up to 1948 (about 5,7 million pages) had been digitized and are made publicly accessible with according metadata, until recently solely in the "Pressemappe 20. Jahrhundert" (PM20) web application. Additionally, the dossiers - for example about Mahatma Gandhi or the Hamburg-Bremer Afrika Linie - can be loaded into a web viewer.

As a first step to open up this unique source of data for various communities, ZBW has decided to put the complete PM20 metadata* under a CC-Zero license, which allows free reuse in all contexts. For our Coding da Vinci contribution, we have prepared all person and company dossiers which already contain documents. The dossiers are interlinked among each other. Controlled vocabularies (for, e.g., "country", or "field of activity") provide multi-dimensional access to the data. Most of the persons and a good share of organizations were linked to GND identifiers. As a starter, we had mapped dossiers to Wikidata according to existing GND IDs. That allows to run queries for PM20 dossiers completely on Wikidata, making use of all the good stuff there. An example query shows the birth places of PM20 economists on a map, enriched with images from Wikimedia commons. The initial mapping was much extended by fantastic semi-automatic and manual mapping efforts by the Wikidata community. So currently more than 80 % of the dossiers about - often rather prominent - PM20 persons are linked not only to Wikidata, but also connected to Wikipedia pages. That offers great opportunities for mash-ups to further data sources, and we are looking forward to what the "Coding da Vinci" crowd may make out of these opportunities.

Technically, the data has been converted from an internal intermediate format to still quite experimental RDF and loaded into a SPARQL endpoint. There it was enriched with data from Wikidata and extracted with a construct query. We have decided to transform it to JSON-LD for publication (following practices recommended by our hbz colleagues). So developers can use the data as "plain old JSON", with the plethora of web tools available for this, while linked data enthusiasts can utilize sophisticated Semantic Web tools by applying the provided JSON-LD context. In order to make the dataset discoverable and reusable for future research, we published it persistently at With it, we provide examples and data documentation. A GitHub repository gives you additional code examples and a way to address issues and suggestions.

* For the scanned documents, the legal regulations apply - ZBW cannot assign licenses here.


Wikidata as authority linking hub: Connecting RePEc and GND researcher identifiers

In the EconBiz portal for publications in economics, we have data from different sources. In some of these sources, most notably ZBW's "ECONIS" bibliographical database, authors are disambiguated by identifiers of the Integrated Authority File (GND) - in total more than 470,000. Data stemming from "Research papers in Economics" (RePEc) contains another identifier: RePEc authors can register themselves in the RePEc Author Service (RAS), and claim their papers. This data is used for various rankings of authors and, indirectly, of institutions in economics, which provides a big incentive for authors - about 50,000 have signed into RAS - to keep both their article claims and personal data up-to-date. While GND is well known and linked to many other authorities, RAS had no links to any other researcher identifier system. Thus, until recently, the author identifiers were disconnected, which precludes the possibility to display all publications of an author on a portal page.

To overcome that limitation, colleagues at ZBW have matched a good 3,000 authors with RAS and GND IDs by their publications (see details here). Making that pre-existing mapping maintainable and extensible however would have meant to set up some custom editing interface, would have required storage and operating resources and wouldn't easily have been made publicly accessible. In a previous article, we described the opportunities offered by Wikidata. Now we made use of it.

New version of multi-lingual JEL classification published in LOD

The Journal of Economic Literature Classification Scheme (JEL) was created and is maintained by the American Economic Association. The AEA provides this widely used resource freely for scholarly purposes. Thanks to André Davids (KU Leuven), who has translated the originally English-only labels of the classification to French, Spanish and German, we provide a multi-lingual version of JEL. It's lastest version (as of 2017-01) is published in the formats RDFa and RDF download files. These formats and translations are provided "as is" and are not authorized by AEA. In order to make changes in JEL tracable more easily, we have created lists of inserted and removed JEL classes in the context of the skos-history project.

Economists in Wikidata: Opportunities of Authority Linking

Wikidata is a large database, which connects all of the roughly 300 Wikipedia projects. Besides interlinking all Wikipedia pages in different languages about a specific item – e.g., a person -, it also connects to more than 1000 different sources of authority information.

The linking is achieved by a „authority control“ class of Wikidata properties. The values of these properties are identifiers, which unambiguously identify the wikidata item in external, web-accessible databases. The property definitions includes an URI pattern (called „formatter URL“). When the identifier value is inserted into the URI pattern, the resulting URI can be used to look up the authoritiy entry. The resulting URI may point to a Linked Data resource - as it is the case with the GND ID property. This, on the one hand, provides a light-weight and robust mechanism to create links in the web of data. On the other hand, these links can be exploited by every application which is driven by one of the authorities to provide additional data: Links to Wikipedia pages in multiple languages, images, life data, nationality and affiliations of the according persons, and much more.

Bini Agarwal - Sqid screenshot

Wikidata item for the Indian Economist Bina Agarwal, visualized via the SQID browser

Integrating a Research Data Repository with established research practices

Authors: Timo Borst, Konstantin Ott

In recent years, repositories for managing research data have emerged, which are supposed to help researchers to upload, describe, distribute and share their data. To promote and foster the distribution of research data in the light of paradigms like Open Science and Open Access, these repositories are normally implemented and hosted as stand-alone applications, meaning that they offer a web interface for manually uploading the data, and a presentation interface for browsing, searching and accessing the data. Sometimes, the first component (interface for uploading the data) is substituted or complemented by a submission interface from another application. E.g., in Dataverse or in CKAN data is submitted from remote third-party applications by means of data deposit APIs [1]. However the upload of data is organized and eventually embedded into a publishing framework (data either as a supplement of a journal article, or as a stand-alone research output subject to review and release as part of a ‘data journal’), it definitely means that this data is supposed to be made publicly available, which is often reflected by policies and guidelines for data deposit.

Content recommendation by means of EEXCESS

Authors: Timo Borst, Nils Witt

Since their beginnings, libraries and related cultural institutions were confident in the fact that users had to visit them in order to search, find and access their content. With the emergence and massive use of the World Wide Web and associated tools and technologies, this situation has drastically changed: if those institutions still want their content to be found and used, they must adapt themselves to those environments in which users expect digital content to be available. Against this background, the general approach of the EEXCESS project is to ‘inject’ digital content (both metadata and object files) into users' daily environments like browsers, authoring environments like content management systems or Google Docs, or e-learning environments. Content is not just provided, but recommended by means of an organizational and technical framework of distributed partner recommenders and user profiles. Once a content partner has connected to this framework by establishing an Application Program Interface (API) for constantly responding to the EEXCESS queries, the results will be listed and merged with the results of the other partners. Depending on the software component installed either on a user’s local machine or on an application server, the list of recommendations is displayed in different ways: from a classical, text-oriented list, to a visualization of metadata records.

In a nutshell: EconBiz Beta Services

Author: Arne Martin Klemenz

EconBiz – the search portal for Business Studies and Economics – was launched in 2002 as the Virtual Library for Economics and Business Studies. The project was initially funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and is developed by the German National Library of Economics (ZBW) with the support of the EconBiz Advisory Board and cooperation partners. The search portal aims to support research in and teaching of Business Studies and Economics with a central entry point for all kinds of subject-specific information and direct access to full texts [1].

As an addition to the main EconBiz service we provide several beta services as part of the EconBiz Beta sandbox. These service developments cover the outcome of research projects based on large-scale projects like EU Projects as well as small-scale projects e.g. in cooperation with students from Kiel University. Therefore, this beta service sandbox aims to provide a platform for testing new features before they might be integrated to the main service (proof of concept development) on the one hand, and it aims to provide a showcase for relevant project output from related projects on the other hand.


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