About OPUSMost publications produced in university research and teaching (e.g. Masters Thesis, Dissertations, Reports, Proceedings, Lecture Notes) are of considerable quality. Professional desktop publishing systems to achieve these quality standards are widely used. What is lacking, however, are the means to retrieve significant information in this field with high precision and recall. This is one of the reasons why the publications mentioned above are often called "grey".
In order to improve the situation a joint project was carried out by the University Library and the Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart. The project was made possible by funds from the German Research Net (Deutsches Forschungsnetz) and the Federal Department of Higher Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung). The aim of this project was to enable every university member (staff or student) to publish, retrieve and use electronic documents via the World Wide Web.
Publishing with OPUS means: converting the electronic document to PDF (portable document format) and writing some metadata about it, which will be stored in Dublin Core format using a SQL-database. Retrieval will therefore have the typical functionality of other well-known online databases - different search-fields, truncation-options, Boolean operators etc. Furthermore Dublin Core makes it possible to participate in ongoing developments concerning web-based search engines and robots. To make access to electronic documents of the University of Stuttgart even more easy, they are part of the Constance Advanced Research Open Library Network (CAROLINE). This means that they can be searched via the union catalog for South-West Germany (SWB) which contains roughly 6 million titles of publications held by libraries in the region.
The OPUS-system was made available to all members of the
University of Stuttgart in Spring 1998. Results of
the project are intended to be scaleable, which means that the
system can be established at other universities or institutions
and thereby making more electronic documents available for the
The project ended in October 1998. The further development of OPUS is funded by the University of Stuttgart now. There is a development co-operation with the Library Service Center for Baden-Württemberg (BSZ) which hosts the OPUS development platform. OPUS Version 3.2.1 is deployed at Stuttgart University since August 2011.
Future developments concentrate on standardized interoperable services like usage statistics and citation analysis in a network of certified repositories. There is a close co-operation with the networking initiative DRIVER and relates to interoperability with current research information systems (CRIS) and primary data repositories.