Greenstone Digital Library Open Source Software

The orgins of Greenstone can be traced back to The New Zealand Digital Library Project, and our work with UN agencies and other NGOs to distribute, on CD-ROMs in developing countries, digital libraries collections containing humanitarian and development information.

The software and the team members' contribution to IT development for humanitarian aid was acknowledged in 2004 as the winner of the Namur award.

One journalist nicely captured the essence of the project in the following:

"Greenstone turns a ragtag menagerie of documents in various formats into an easy-to-use collection that can run on a standalone laptop in a Ugandan village’s information center"

If it can do that, then there are lots of other situations the software can be configured to run. For instance, how about running the software standalone on a click-wheel iPod? This is a device with the capacity to hold the entire text of a moderate sized univeristy library (we have calcuated) with enough space left over to fit in a copy of Wikipedia. All indexed, and no need to be on-line to access it (see Running Greenstone on an iPod for more details, winner of Best Demo at the 2008 ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries).

Or how about running the DL software on OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) Laptops with content sourced from the International Children's Digital Library and the ability to `beam' books between OLPCs configured as a MESH network? (see Perambulating libraries: Demonstrating how a Victorian idea can help OLPC users share books). There are many other examples ...


Meldex: Query by Humming

Tune buzzing around your head but you don't know what it's called? Wouldn't it be great if there was a computer system that let you sing the part of the song you remembered, with a list of possible matches returned? This idea provided the motivation for the Query by Humming system Meldex developed with colleagues Roger McNab and Lloyd Smith.


Realistic Books

By shifting from physical books to electronic form—Web pages, word processor documents and the like—should we be worried that we've lost something critical or important along the way? After the (millenniums old) breakthrough of the codex as a form of access to written information in the physical world that made tablets, scrolls, and concertina-styles forms obsolete, it seems odd that how we expect people to interact with electronic documents—with their ever-present vertical scroll-bar— appears to be appears to be digital equivalent of asking people to go back to using scrolls.

This was the starting point for the Realistic Books project, with a Masters project by Yi-Chun (Jack) Chu, further developed through a PhD by Veronica Liesaputra.


SEAWEED: SEAmless WEb Editing

Work with Brook Novak


Computer Says No ...

Working with my collegues Dave Nichols and Mike Twidale, we have come up with a Web browser extension that assists users when they encounter errors in web pages: in particular this work targets those pesky but all too frequent variants of peoples names that crop up when looking up information in digital library systems. Many variants are legitimate (such versions of nameswith and without accents, with and without middle names), others the sign of more fundamental things going wrong in the digital library (such as Renþ instead of René). Whatever the source, it all adds up to a frustrating user experience that confounds accessing content through our digital libraries.

This project, which in full we named Computer Says No ... Computer Says Maybe_ ... Computer Says Yes! or CSN for short, is an approach under the user's control that we are exploring as a way to mitigate such problems.



In the Tipple project we are exploring the confluence of two forms of information source: a Tourist Information Provider (TIP) information system, and a spatially aware Digital Library (DL). We call the resulting hybrid, Tipple as 'TipDL' is a bit of a mouthful.

The nett result is a mobile applications that let's you know about places of interest, when you are nearby ...



The aim of the Structural Analysis of Large Amounts of Music Information (SALAMI) project is "to provide a substantive corpus of musical analyses in a common framework for use by music scholars, students and beyond." Combining large scale digital library ingest techniques developed at Waikato with audio-fingerprinting repository software developed at the University of Southampton (afrepo), has led to a Sparql Endpoint to some 23,000 hours of digitized music content.