Digital archive management system - DSpace question

From: Andrew Green <>
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2005 17:03:08 -0500


I'm working on a project to create an application to manage, disseminate
and study archival materials, mainly from the perspective of social
science and history research and education.

We're planning to use RDF and OWL for all the metadata, and hope to
eventually include in the application a variety of advanced, flexible
functions that that technology will make possible. (One of the basic
tenets of the project is that the cataloguing of historical materials
should be intimately tied to history research; we expect Semantic Web
technology will help create archival tools that support that point of
view.) The application we're creating will be free software, available
under the GNU GPL.

The project began a few years ago, but was put "on hold" for about two
years due to a lack of funding. Before funding got used up, we managed
to write a lot about what we wanted to do, and to create a very
rudimentary prototype. Recently some funding was restored, and we have
from now until December to create a (quite basic) production version of
the application and set up a web site that will use it to disseminate
two small collections.

While our project was on hold, important new Semantic Web projects
sprang up or matured significantly (one example is SIMILE) as did many
free software document repositories; so we are now looking at the
possibility of reusing quite a lot of code from other projects, and
perhaps augmenting/joining forces with an existing application/project.

On this topic: What is the status of SIMILE's plans for integration with
DSpace? What has been done so far? Does Longwell use some of the DSpace
codebase, or has DSpace integration not yet begun?

As far as I can see, our project has a great many general objectives in
common with SIMILE (and SIMILE has done a lot to further those
objectives--kudos!!), so we'd really like to see the two projects
complement each other as much as possible.

Some documents (in Spanish) about what we've been doing are available
from <>; another, longer but older and
uglier text, is at
<>. (The
project is based at a small public research institute in Mexico City.)
(Note that we initially planned to deal mainly with photograph archives;
that is the sort of historical material we mention in said texts. But
the long-term goal is to create tools of a much more general nature.)

I also have a whole bunch of specific questions/requests for suggestions
regarding the ontologies we're building... (For example: What mechanism
is typically used to group records and the statements belonging to them
within a single triple store? Or for "locking" records in applications
where multiple users can modify metadata over a network interface? Any
experience reusing elements from mid- or upper-level ontologies such as
SUMO? Etc., etc.) Is this an appropriate place to ask such questions? If
not, where?

Many thanks in advance, many greetings,
Andrew Green

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Received on Sun Sep 11 2005 - 22:04:04 EDT

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