Added on 27 September 2017

The SWORD protocol was created in 2007 to allow simple machine-to-machine deposit of papers into repositories. Approximately five years later, SWORDV2 added the ability to update previously transferred objects along with more use-case specific extensions to AtomPub.

The SWORDV3 project has been funded by Jisc with two key aims for the next generation of the SWORD Protocol:

  • To bring SWORD up-to-date with the developments in the repository sphere in the last 5 years, with alignment to new protocols such as OAI-ResourceSync and new use-cases such as data publishing and complex objects.
  • To establish community and governance mechanisms for the standard and supporting code libraries to ensure ongoing maintenance and evolution. This will include a technical validation process to allow third party libraries to be hosted under the SWORD brand.

The project was formally announced at PASIG 2017 in Oxford and the RDA 10th Plenary in Montreal in the last two weeks.

Expressions of interest are sought to become stakeholders in the project: to make suggestions, review activities and meet as required over the coming months.

In particular, the project team is interested in making contact with people who may wish to develop SWORD V3 libraries for their preferred platforms or languages since the aim is to provide some support for such activities during the project. Please contact one of the project team (ideally by mid-October) if you are interested in participating, and indicate if you are interested in the technical or community aspects of the project (or both!).

The key members of the project team are:

  • Dom Fripp - Jisc (Funder) - Project Manager, SWORD user through the Jisc Research Data Shared Service
  • Richard Jones - Cottage Labs Ltd - Technical Lead, SWORD contributor and implementer
  • Neil Jefferies - Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford - Community Lead, SWORD user through Data2paper project (and internally within the Bodleian Library)

On the technical side, the project is creating a document that brings together the change requests and new use cases that have collected since the release of SWORDV2, culled from the github site, message posts and preliminary discussions with some stakeholders earlier this year. This has also suggested a way forward that breaks with SWORD’s AtomPub roots in order to provide a more up-to-date and flexible protocol. This will be circulated to stakeholders soon.

On the community side, a similar document outlining possible models for developing the SWORD community in the future will be circulated soon. This is a much more open set of choices since the SWORD user-base has expanded considerably since its first conception, and we are open to further suggestions! The final arrangements must be aligned with community wishes in order to be an effective sustainable solution.

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