Scientists, particularly those associated with natural history museums and botanical gardens, collectively hold large number of multimedia data like pictures, sounds, movies about specimens and more in their collections. This multimedia content is often held in different kinds of databases and is only available to those few people who can gain direct access to the databases. The attractive multimedia is thus effectively withheld from use for a wide range of scientific applications, which includes research, education, taxonomic study, biodiversity conservation, protected area management, and maintenance of diverse ecosystem services, but also re-use in art etc.
Since 2011 OpenUp! is working to "Open up the natural history heritage for Europeana".
Natural history collections, botanical gardens and museums use customized databases for recording their contents and the associated metadata. The use of metadata standards is essential for sharing, exchanging, and publishing data. OpenUp! serves the community, from small to big institutions, with specialised transformation routines that convert individual natural history metadata standards to the Europeana data standard (EDM), thus mobilising natural history content from dispersed locations to portals and services with open access for various users and target groups. As accredited Aggregator for the Natural History domain, OpenUp! is providing millions of multimedia objects to Europeana like digitized specimen images, natural history artwork, animal sounds, videos and much more.
OpenUp! and Sustainability
Started as a 3-year CIP Best Practice Network (2011-2014), co-funded by participiants and the EU as a part of the Information and CommunicationsTechnologies Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP), several OpenUp! participants have committed institutional resources to sustain this pipeline as the OpenUp! Network. Its unique standardised infrastructure remained functional and effective in the post-project phase, so that OpenUp! now serves as the European aggregator for digital content from the wider natural history domain for Europeana and potentially also other digital libraries.
The software and standards OpenUp! uses are based on the established technical infrastructure of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), in particular BioCASe (Biological Collection Access System for Europe) and IPT (Integrated Publishing Toolkit).
The OpenUp! Aggregator offers scientific, technical and data presentation related support
Advice on data quality and rights statements, on data presentation and linkage, as well as cultural heritage relevance; on metadata storage, data transformation, data enrichment, data testing.
Technical support for the aggregation process itself (e.g. mapping between Community and Europeana data standards, enrichment of metadata towards compliance with Europeana standards) by AIT Graz
• Helpdesk located at BGBM Berlin for individual support.
A system for data transformation and semantic enrichment at the source:
- Incorporation of multilingual metadata, in particular common names of organisms provided by NHM Vienna,
- addition of digital biodiversity literature provided by BHL,
- geo-referenced information
simple vocabulary keyword addition for easier access for non-scientists by LinBi
- others in prep.
Support for new providers in specifying their collection metadata with respect to intellectual property rights
(see also europeana-licensing-framework).
Automated update services, new developments and technical improvements.
Training materials and training workshops on request.
Further reading: EuropeanaTech https://pro.europeana.eu/post/taxonomies-for-natural-history-collections
Visit us on EuropeanaPro: https://pro.europeana.eu/organisation/openup-natural-history-aggregator