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PLoS ONE – Technical Background

Given that this is the PLoS technology blog, I thought that it would be good to start with an overview of the underlying PLoS ONE architecture. PLoS ONE will be launched on the TOPAZ application framework. TOPAZ aims to create a publishing platform to facilitate the shift of the scientific and medical communities from subscription based journals to an Open Access online commons.

The core of TOPAZ is a digital information repository called Fedora (Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture). Fedora is an Open Source content management application that supports the creation and management of digital objects. The digital objects contain metadata to express internal and external relationships in the repository, like articles in a journal or the text, images and video of an article. This relationship metadata can also be search using a semantic web query languages. Fedora is jointly developed by Cornell University’s computer science department and the University of Virginia Libraries.

The metastore Kowari will be used with Fedora to support Resource Description Framework (RDF) metadata within the repository.

The PLoS ONE web interface will be built with AJAX. Client-side APIs will create the community features (e.g. annotations, discussion threads, ratings, etc.) for the website. As more new features are available on the TOPAZ architecture, we will launch them on PLoS ONE.

That’s enough to digest for now – I’ll be back soon for more tech blogging and critiques of beers from around the world.

  1. Hi there –

    I notice that there is a total of 0 active links on the Topaz homepage. Perhaps the project would benefit from going through the SourceForge process?

    and best wishes to all hands

    p.s. If you have some information on this, would you be kind and notify me by email? Alas, blogs still don’t do notification!

  2. The Topaz application framework will be released as Open Source in the next few months. The developers are busy cleaning up the code, fixing post-launch bugs and developing browse-by subject/date functionality. Topaz is also bringing on a tech writer to update all of the documentation. Once they feel that the platform, code and documentation is ready for public consumption, they will open up the project (with an updated website) and release the code under the Apache V2 Open Source License.

  3. A design sketch, an overview, a presentation? Something is better than nothing, even if it’s just a few tidbits – doesn’t have to be fully-formed, complete and perfect!

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