CERN Accelerating science

What's up on CDS

News, announcements and future developments of CDS services at CERN

Progress before summer holidays

These first 6 months of the year 2022 have been quite busy. The CDS team focused on the development of InvenioRDM, the future research data management digital repository platform that will be the core of the future CDS version.

At the same time, production services need to be taken care of. While performing maintenance operations, we also worked on bug fixes and some technical features.

Future CDS platform – cds.cern.ch

With a small break of the development activities, we took half a day to discuss and define how we will kick off the new CDS platform: we came up with what we think will be a good strategy, and we hope to have the first dev/test instance by the end of the year, including a small subset of data migrated from the current CDS to the new one.

Even if it will be a long journey, we are very excited to get started!

InvenioRDM v9 and 9.1

The team contributed to the development of the latest 2 releases: InvenioRDM v9.0 and v9.1. These new releases enable curators to create their own communities of documents, to better self-organize content and make it easier for users to submit and find content. Each community is clearly identified, thanks to the new header with the name and the logo.

The way new documents are added to a community is managed via requests: when submitting a new document to a community, a new request is created where the submitted and the community’s curator can have a conversation with commenting. The request can be approved or rejected.

CDS Videos just got faster – videos.cern.ch

We have implemented a new feature in CDS Videos: the post-processing of uploaded videos got 2x faster! This is particularly visible when large video files are uploaded: the first two tasks, the extraction of the metadata, embedded in the video file, and the extraction of the video’s thumbnails now take half of the time.

Maintenance…

Databases for all the services have been upgraded to the latest versions, to ensure safety and security. The transcoding software, used in CDS Videos, have also been upgraded by our colleagues from the Webcast team, so that we can take advantage of the latest fixes and features.

On the 5th of July 2022, CDS suffered some slowness due to a very high amount of traffic, requesting some photos embedded in the CERN Home website. While being slower than normal conditions, the CDS website managed to serve more than a million requests, with a pick of 800 requests/second (thanks to connection queues).

While we are happy to see that our platform was up and running in such unusual conditions, we have identified some improvements, and we are working to change our infrastructure to be more performant when serving files.

What’s next

During summer, many absences are foreseen. The team will continue working on InvenioRDM v10: its features are critical to the future version of CDS. We are also planning to upgrade the web lectures player for an improved user experience when watching recorded talks, seminar or events.

Happy summer vacations! 🏖 ⛰ 🏜

New year, new…

… features and improvements! In the last quarter of 2021 we have been busy as bees, preparing to kick off the 2022 with some big news. Read further to know about the details!

CDS Videos – videos.cern.ch 🎬

Following our plan for the Q4, we have introduced significant changes to the CDS Videos platform. You might not see it at the first glance, but the platform evolved “under the hood”.

Transcoding infrastructure and video processing 📺

Video upload processing view

Transcoding is one of the steps of the video processing performed after you upload your video file to the platform. The transcoding software is responsible for creating several predefined subformats for your video. These subformats are later used to provide improved streaming experience for anyone who is watching your video (after it is published).

The transcoding software previously used by CDS Videos was causing us and CERN users many headaches. Thanks to the collaboration with the CERN Webcast team, who provided the new video transcoding tool OpenCast as a service, we have worked very hard to integrate it. This new software is expected to have increased reliability and incomparable better performance.

We also took a good look into the rest of video processing steps and fixed the commonly reported issues. The processing will be now faster and more consistent – no more videos processing indefinitely in your “Upload” interface! 🎉

User experience tweaks

Last but not least, we have made a few improvements in the user interface, having in mind all the feedback we received from you. A few highlights:

  • We have reworked some explanation text to improve general understanding.
Project editor’s permissions panel
  • The authors and e-groups autocomplete has been improved, giving you access to powerful and more reliable users search – as broad as the CERN Phonebook!
  • The user and e-groups videos restrictions is now case-insensitive.
  • No more weird errors when publishing videos!

CERN Library Catalogue – catalogue.library.cern 📚

And what about the other applications? We worked on them as well!

CERN Library Catalogue’s latest version offers improvements in the user interface as well as librarian’s interface. We follow the latest standards on application security and data privacy, and as a result, we now provide user’s accounts and data anonymization. You can check details of our privacy policy here.

To make things easier, the identifiers in the book’s details page are now clickable.

Book page with external provider hyperlinks

Are you doing a lot of research? Are you in a dire need of articles and periodicals? Check the remodeled “Where to find” section of the periodical page.

Periodical page featuring physical volumes

Librarians’ tools

Our team has also worked on improving the librarians’ catalogue management tools. For example:

  • Better bulk import of e-books
  • Better export of catalogue’s object to CSV files
  • Search tweaks – case-insensitive searches and other

Web infrastructure upgrade 💻

Among of the many changes and enhancements, we had to upgrade the underlying web infrastructure for both services CDS Videos and CERN Library Catalogue.

Both platforms are now hosted on OKD4 cluster provided by our colleagues from Web Infrastructure team. The migration is a good news not only for our users, but also for our developers: the change helps us decrease the effort we have to make to maintain and deploy new code.

CERN Document Server – cds.cern.ch 📄

The last, but not least – CDS. Our biggest and oldest application is under heavy assessment process – we are reviving its features and conducting interviews with the main users to understand how you are using our services, and how we can evolve in the future.

What’s next?

In the first quarter, the whole team is joining the effort of developing InvenioRDM, which will be the foundation of the future CDS.

Autumn’s 2021 new developments

This autumn 2021 has come along with a bunch of new features! 🎉 The team has worked hard, mainly improving the user experience of the CERN Library Catalogue website.

Below, a summary of what has been achieved.

Extend multiple loans at once

With a click of a button, you can now extend all your loans at once, a useful feature if you have many books on loan at the same time. In your profile page, you will find a new button “Extend all loans” in the top-right corner when you have at least one ongoing loan.

Note that the extension of ongoing loans is available only for the eligible loans.

“Where to find” section

The “Where to find” section in the book details page has been redesigned to make it easier to find available copies of the book at the library.

Other goodies

  • 🔍 The search engine has been tuned to improve search results when searching for standards ISO numbers with dashes “-“. For example, you can now search for “ISO-8528” or “ISO 8528” and find relevant results in both cases.
  • 📨 We have reworked how e-mails are sent. The website now allows the integration of other notifications systems, and it is ready to be used with the new CERN Notifications app. We have also reduced the number of sent e-mails so that we don’t spam your mailbox.
  • 📖 We have improved the search guide by adding more examples and correcting some wrong search queries.

Back-office: importing new literature

Librarians at CERN have now an easier way to import new literature in the platform:

  • Librarians can now immediately see the number of imported literature and filter them by import status.
  • Librarians can use the new search box to find imported literature.

Next steps

Our efforts will be still focused until the end of the year on improving the CERN Library Catalogue website and, at the same time, on developing a more reliable way of uploading and publishing videos on CDS Videos.

Plans for the last months of 2021

What’s happening on CDS until the end of the year?

Currently (summer 2021), the team is working on consolidating the recently released CERN Library Catalogue platform with bug fixes and some new features, such as bulk extensions for loans, improving e-mails and ad-hoc features for the daily operation of the CERN Library.

The CDS Videos platform is very much used at CERN during the past and current extended teleworking period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It requires improvements and fixes. The team will be busy improving the upload experience of new videos to be much more smooth and fixing bugs.

At the same time, we will start a new analysis phase to identify the best approach to migrate the current CDS website to a new modern, user-friendly web platform based on InvenioRDM in collaboration with the CERN experiments. We will share more information on how the future platform will look like, stay tuned!

CERN Library Catalogue website screenshot

The new CERN Library Catalogue is live!

The CDS team has worked very hard to build the new Library Catalogue website and it is now live (released on April 2021). The website has been built in close collaboration with the CERN Library team but also with RERO, a competence and service centre for libraries in Switzerland.

The website contains all books, e-books, journals and standards available at CERN and allows CERN users to loan physical copies or access digital versions of such literature. The content that was previously available in CDS has been migrated to the new platform.

The new CERN Library Catalogue website is an Integrated Library System (ILS) software: while building the solution for CERN, the CDS team has created a reusable, open source, generic platform InvenioILS that can be used by other organization in the world, based on the open source digital repositories framework Invenio.

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