VIVO is member-supported, open source software and ontology for representing scholarship.

“Telling VIVO Stories” is a community-led initiative aimed at introducing project leaders and their ideas to one another while providing VIVO implementation details for the VIVO community and beyond. The following interview includes personal observations that may not represent the opinions and views of the Marine Biological Laboratory / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Library (MBLWHOI) or the VIVO Project.

Erin Tripp from DuraSpace, talked with John Furfey, Senior Automation Services Officer from the MBLWHOI Library to learn about their VIVO story.

Q: “Tell me a little about MBLWHOI.”

A: For over 120 years, the MBLWHOI Library has been the intellectual heart of the Woods Hole scientific community. The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) maintain a vital partnership in the day-to-day operation of the MBLWHOI Library.  In addition to serving MBL and WHOI scientists daily, the staff and resources of the MBLWHOI Library are utilized year round by the distinguished resident research and education programs of the Woods Hole Research Center, the Sea Education Association, NOAA Fisheries Service Northeast Fisheries Science Center, the United States Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center and the MIT/WHOI Joint Program. The Library also supports a unique summer population of visiting researchers and students from more than 200 institutions worldwide.

Q: “Why did you decide on VIVO?”

A: I went to the first VIVO conference in NYC and got a sense of the strong, vibrant community around VIVO. It’s a great group of librarians, researchers and computer scientists. Two years ago we had a need to move on from a home grown, public research portal for Woods Hole.  VIVO was a perfect fit for us for a number of reasons. A focus on linked open data. Open source software, yet a sense of sustainability with DuraSpace on board.

Q: What resources or tools did you leverage or develop during the project?

A: Engaging a service provider, attending conferences, and getting good advice on the listservs and wiki helped us. There are very active participants in the VIVO community and people are very willing to provide their expertise.

Q: “What’s your role with VIVO at your organization or institution?”

A: I’m a project manager for VIVO at the MBLWHOI Library. We’re a bit unique in that VIVO is run entirely as a project out of the library, so we do a bit of everything.  As a small organization, it can be challenging to get the programming and systems support that VIVO requires.  A main focus of mine is to spread the word and try to get other departments on board to use VIVO.  As we identify new user groups that we can support with data from VIVO, interest and support builds to help us advance the project.

Q: Were there challenges in the implementation process? If so, please elaborate.

A: Our VIVO is populated with data from our Symplectic Elements research information system. The majority of the technical implementation of our Elements data harvester and VIVO instance was handled by the developers at Symplectic. Most of our challenges involved determining which information to harvest from Elements into VIVO and what local changes should be made to the ontology.

Q: “What advice would you give to other organizations that are planning a VIVO implementation?”

A: Bring researchers and scientists into the process early.  Find out what research information is most important for VIVO to represent and keep them engaged throughout the process.

Q: “What are your plans for VIVO in the future?”

A: We’re trying to make better connections between VIVO and our institutional repository (IR) so all citations that are open access (OA) have links generated dynamically. We’re also planning to upgrade to version 1.9 to take advantage of new functionality and implement a new version of the VIVO harvester for Symplectic Elements.

Q: “What is at the top of your VIVO “wish list?”

A: I remember an early mission of VIVO was “enabling a national network of scientists”.  I’d love to see a renewed focus on creating search tools and apps to start connecting VIVOs together.

Q: “What were your requirements going in?”

A: Going in, our requirements were pretty straightforward. We wanted one portal to showcase and discover the research of the entire Woods Hole Scientific Community.  VIVO gives us that and more.  Leveraging the linked data within VIVO we can help expose collaborations and help researchers in Woods Hole make new connections.

This story is an ad hoc VIVO community activity and anyone can participate by interviewing someone who’s working with VIVO and submitting a story. Go to… for instructions, and contact Erin Tripp (