Mast Kalandar

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Tue, 20 May 2008

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IMSc eprint server


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As documented earlier, we needed an institutional repository for IMSc. This seemed like a good time to review the Debian package for e-prints created by David Tarrant for which he has been looking for a sponsor.

Nutan and Kinjal also worked on this package for incorporation into the IMSc systems. We ended up re-doing their work and David Tarrant's for a number of reasons which I may write about later. Let me instead document how we got the e-print server working.

First of all we created a vserver using the stock Debian kernel and utilities. On this vserver Ravi installed the Debian package created by Tarrant and got it to co-operate with the rest of the system.

The first problem was that we were unable to deposit anything into the archive! It turned out that the way in which the software checks for free space uses system calls which are disabled under a vserver. For the moment we are thus forced to set enable_df=0 and run without these checks.

The second problem was that all our web services are run through a common front-end server. The e-prints server was to be run as one of the back-end servers and it did seem that configuring it as such was going to be hard. In the end, it turned out to be rather easy. The only settings we required were as follows.

In the file $ARCHIVETOP/cfg/cfg.d/10_core.pl we put the host entry as www.imsc.res.in; in 20_baseurls.pl in the same directory we put the base path as eprints. This allowed us to map www.imsc.res.in/eprints to the internal server using apache2's reverse proxy rules.

Unfortunately, this was not quite enough since the base path was not used in $ARCHIVETOP/cfg/lang/en/static/index.xpage. But we only need to configure that file and the branding.pl file and we were off!

That left the task of registering the server with the OAI. This brought up another problem. We had used the HTTPS protocol on the front-end since the site requires password-based logins. It turns out that the OAI's registration page does not accept HTTPS URLs!

So we will need some more fine tuning at a later stage. For now, people are submitting some doucments and one that picks up we can be motivated to work some more!


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