The EuropeanaTech task force on the FLOSS Inventory enriched, improved and structured the Inventory which contains over 300 free, open source tools relevant for the EuropeanaTech community.
As part of Europeana v 2.0 WP7, The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision established the FLOSS Inventory. The FLOSS (Free, Libre, Open Source Software) Inventory is a list of aggregated metadata for software relevant for the digital heritage domain. Currently, the Inventory has 307 entries, which reside in a standard Google Sheet and is the only place where Europeana Project R&D results are visible. Everyone who is interested is free to contribute new and improve existing entries to the inventory.
Since its incarnation, the FLOSS Inventory has grown and has been enriched drastically. Close to 100 tools have in-depth reviews, which add an additional layer of information about the usefulness of these tools. The list is currently managed by the EuropeanaTech Community Manager
The FLOSS Inventory’s target audience expands further than the obvious Europeana DCH developer community and has already attracted the intention of international institutions, including Stanford University, Northwestern University, DigitalNZ, DPLA, George Mason University, Berkley University and the DiRT Directory team (a similar inventory for the digital humanities). Furthermore, the inventory’s contents are relevant for re-users (tailored lists for hackathons) and smaller institutions looking to creatively reuse content with OS platforms (Omeka, Timeline.JS, Storymap.JS, Islanadora, Amplifon).
However, the Inventory could be significantly improved. The FLOSS Inventory is intended to be the go-to place for information about and access to free and open source software relevant for the EuropeanaTech Community, Europeana Network, and international digital heritage sector. In order for this to become possible, several key measures need to be taken, which this Task Force aims to address:
Enrichment and Improvement
As per the request of the European Commission, and from the inherent necessity to make the FLOSS Inventory something more than a simple list of tools, this Task Force investigate ways to improve the current FLOSS Inventory. This will be done in several ways:
- Standardizing necessary fields: not every field is necessary or pertinent to the users. The TF will assess which fields are most important and easy to maintain as to not have a plethora of out-dated information on the list.
- All these fields for existing tools and new tools will be updated as thoroughly as possible, most importantly, checking for dead or broken links.
- List cleanse: any tools that have been inactive for several years and/or contain no documentation will be removed. This is to maintain a certain level of quality over quantity within the inventory.
- Reviews: TF Members will be asked to review FLOSS entries. The reviews will cover the following aspects: Quality of Documentation, Ease of Adaptation, Code Quality.
- A similar directory has been developed for Digital Humanities called the DiRT Directory. The Task Force will assess the overlap between the two directories and investigate directions for collaboration.
Gathering new software
Currently, the FLOSS Inventory has 307 entries. While the list covers many of the paramount technical aspects of digital cultural heritage, we believe that more software is open and freely available, even from within the Europeana Network. As part of this Task Force, we would like to create a critical mass of aggregation. The difficulty of this simply lies with a number of contributors to the inventory.
While quantity is an easy measure of success, the FLOSS Inventory will not have a KPI based on the number of tools, but rather success and quality will be measured based on how well represented each aspect of OSS relevant for digital humanities and digital cultural heritage is.
All new entries will be required to have reviews.
Improvement of software taxonomy
Cultural heritage software is diverse. Many aspects of software and informatics are relevant for institutions and developers in the sector. From tools that enable the re-use of metadata or content, backend Collection Management Systems (CMS), cataloging software, to front-end exhibition and presentation systems. The field is extremely diverse and vast. Due to this broad scope, it is imperative that software added to the inventory fit into a proper taxonomy to improve findability of relevant tools. This section will also take into consideration the Digital Humanities taxonomy, TaDiRAH used by the DiRT Directory. The outcomes of the TF will primarily be visible in the Inventory itself. However, in relation to section 1, an overview of the process and selection of new tags and classifications of DCH OS tools will be drafted.
The FLOSS Inventory was developed as part of Europeana v 2.0, enriched and improved as part of Europeana v 3.0 and will continue to be maintained by the product owner (NISV) in conjunction with the EuropeanaTech team as part of the Europeana DSI.