Working together with the Central Institute for the Union Catalogue for the Italian Libraries and for Bibliographic Information (ICCU), this team will offer a secure and effective long term preservation in the Cloud to the digital collections, by presenting a model to give a transparent access to Libraries for the biggest number of researchers, providing as well some tools in order to upload digital resources with related metadata, offering also tools for annotation and visualization.
The Central Institute for the Union Catalogue for the Italian Libraries and for Bibliographic Information (ICCU) promotes and coordinates cataloguing, digitization and documentation activities of the library heritage. The digitized material is produced by a wide library community and it is organised with metadata according to national and international standards. The case study on Italian Libraries is based on eCSG and will offer a secure and effective long term preservation in the Cloud to the digital collections, by presenting a model to give transparent access to Libraries for a large number of researchers, providing as well some tools in order to upload digital resources with related metadata, offering also tools for annotation and visualization.
Case Study & User story
A cultural institution produces digitized material from cultural heritage object. Objects metadata are set, and the record is made available by the record keeper on the eCSG, which functions as a digital objects aggregator. A collection manager organizes digital objects into collections, facilitating users search. An item can belong to one or more collections. Advanced users can contribute to the metadata via digital objects annotation that can help spot commonalities among items.
Status today (January 2016)
A few of the desired functionalities, content browsing, items upload and download, are already present in the current version of the eCSG.
Plans are to leverage on the INDIGO services to implement the described advanced services in the time-frame of the project, with particular regards on the data (and metadata) management back-end.
e-Culture Science Gateway (eCSG) is integrated into IDEM, the Italian AAI Federation dedicated to Research, Education and Culture, managed by GARR and GrIDP (a "catch-all federation" also managed by GARR). Through IDEM, eCSG is also a Service Provider of the eduGAIN inter-federation. The Cultural Partners that adhere are the expression of all scientific research institutes in Italy in the various fields, but most of the digital content providers involved are museums and libraries interested in sharing their already-digitised materials. In this regard, the Central Institute for the Union Catalogue for the Italian Libraries and for Bibliographic Information (ICCU) coordinates some of the major digital cultural heritage projects at national level such as InternetCulturale, the portal of the digital resources of the Italian libraries, and CulturaItalia, the national aggregator for Europeana. ICCU also coordinates the National Library Service, a network of 5.800+ Italian public, national and university libraries.
On the front-end part, the environment provides to all registered users many ways of navigating through contents, eventually depending on the metadata provided, by structuring the objects in "subject-themed channels" or by suggesting related objects to the reader. All registered users will also have the possibility of create their own "collection", by performing structured queries.
Moreover, there will be a feature option (especially those involved in the CH field, or "CH Researchers") to contribute through an annotation tool, that will allow the suggestion of interrelations between objects (i.e. "$object_A is a translated version of $object_B") and/or between objects and subjects (i.e. "$object_A is about $topic_B, cites $person_C"). Suggestions from CH Researchers will have to be validated by the Institution that holds the original objects/metadata, in order to discourage potential invalid entries and guarantee that the overall quality of data offered remains consistent.
The most important problem to overcome in the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum) sector regards the transmission and pooling of data about digital cultural objects. Such improvements would provide a huge boost to research: for instance annotation tools would help saving time in data interlinking, enhancing at the same time possibility to spot new connections. Moreover, sharing data is yet another way to further the standardization of data themselves, to provide in the long term a deeper analysis of the objects and extend the potential user base.