by Peter Galli on May 20, 2009 03:05pm

Tony Hey, the corporate vice president of Microsoft Research's External Research group, used the Open Repositories Conference to announce today the public availability of Zentity and the second version of the Article Authoring Add-in for Word 2007, both of which will be released as open source.

Zentity, previously called Research-Output Repository Platform and code-named Famulus, is a platform that allows institutions to store all of their digital scholarship: papers, lecture, presentations, videos-anything that might be collected by the university as part of the digital output of their researchers and scholars.

Over the past nine months two betas for this have been released, which refreshed the user interfaces and added new controls, and complement the services provided in the package.

The second version of the Article Authoring Add-in for Word 2007 includes new functionality, including the ability to upload directly into a repository - Microsoft's or those of others - via the SWORD [Simple Web Operation for Repository Deposit] protocol.

Support for authoring Object Reuse and Exchange resource maps within the Word environment has also been added, as well as the ability to perform literature searches and to import the bibliographic information in Word with one click, which makes it very simple to quickly add citations into a paper.

A key element of the Microsoft External Research vision is to support the scholarly communications lifecycle with software and services so that data and information flow in a coordinated and seamless fashion.

With regard to the plan to open source these tools, Lee Dirks, the director of the Education and Scholarly Communication team, said that "first and foremost, we're releasing the binaries, but soon thereafter, we'll release both of these as open source. Once they are available, our big push over the next 12 to 18 months will be to build a worldwide community around these assets."

You can find a lot more information on these announcements here.

These moves also follow the March release by Microsoft and the Creative Commons of an add-in for Microsoft Word 2007 that enables authors to easily insert scientific hyperlinks or ontologies as semantic annotations to their documents and research papers.

Microsoft is also making the source code available for the Creative Commons Add-in for Word 2007 free of charge to open source communities on CodePlex through the OSI-approved Microsoft Public License, which lets developers tailor it for specific industries using domain-specific language.