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An open platform for accessing, co-operatively authoring and publishing the digital heritage of manuscripts and rare books


The trial will help tune and showcase the Open Library innovative technology for the management and valorisation of documentary collections in archives and libraries. It will transfer the results of previous research into an ongoing project for the microfilm duplication, description and digitisation of important ecclesiastical manuscripts. The project will provide a substitute for inadequate, heterogeneous and non-scalable IT solutions while fire-testing OpenLibrary in a complex and critical-mass operational context. OpenLibrary solutions will be customised and tuned to user specifications, deployed on a significant scale and thoroughly evaluated. The trial will promote their broad adoption within cultural heritage institutions and as an authoring and deployment technology for the media industry.

The technological objective of the trial is the verification of the capability (in terms of performance, suitability to task and usability) of the OpenLibrary software modules to provide a wide range of innovative functionality and to represent an effective solution for the acquisition, storage, navigation, authoring and on-line/off-line valorisation of the documentary heritage of libraries and archives. The business objective of SANDALYA is to demonstrate a clear business opportunity for the OpenLibrary products in their three main configurations (workstation, thin client and ASP server) for the acquisition, management and valorisation of digital documents, making them easier to identify, to retrieve, to navigate, to annotate/author, to exchange and to publish. These target improvements, with special attention to the issues of usability and scalability, will be assessed by expert user representatives in comparison to both previous solutions and potential competition.

Work description:
Elicitation and formalisation of user requirements;
acquisition of a set of high-quality colour digital images from the ecclesiastical archives of the Sassari area (about 5000 pages from about 200 different manuscripts);
implementation of the tuning and customisation revisions planned for each of the three main components of the OpenLibrary technology: implementation of material-specific description metadata, with the development of the appropriate data entry and query interfaces and the development of data mapping procedures for interoperability with standard formats (ICCU, DC, ISAD);
optimisation and parameterisation of image processing (OCR and image-to-transcription matching) functionality for best results with the specific materials used in the trial;
tuning of data indexing and data exchange functionality to comply with the specific content and linguistic information;
and integration of basic geographical referencing functionality in order to be able to map the various manuscripts to their geographical origin;
deployment of stand-alone workstations and of thin clients at 3 user sites in Sardinia and at 1 user site in Barcelona, with start-up of the local LAN databases and training of the staff at each site;
deployment of one server solution serving the whole experiment in Cagliari, and implementation and testing of access and search services featuring advanced navigation, retrieval and distance teamwork (annotation, authoring of thematic collections) on manuscript sources;
consolidation of the local databases into the Service Centre global repository of digital documents and publication of the collections towards the regional SBN (Sistema Bibliotecario Nazionale) system in order to make the OpenLibrary collections accessible via the national SBN network;
thorough measurement and evaluation of results;
dissemination and promotion of the results obtained throughout the experiment.

M1.1 - Final report
M2.1 - Trial specification
M3.1 - Completion of adaptation and tuning
M3.2 - Solutions operational in user sites
M4.1 - Assessment of solutions performance
M5.1 - Major dissemination event
M5.2 - Deployment plan in programming complements
M5.3 - Industrial plan for product deployment.

Call for proposal

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Piazza Del Carmine 22
09100 Cagliari

Participants (1)

Viale Trento 69
09123 Cagliari