Greenstone Digital Library Software An Overview
Greenstone Digital Library Software An Overview
Introduction Greenstone Digital
John K Thuku
At the Greenstone Training Workshop held at
14-18th December 2010.
Greenstone Digital Library Software
◦ Is an open source Digital Library collections
building and distribution software
◦ Freely available, Open Source Software (OSS)
◦ Issued under the terms of the GNU General
Open source - refers to software that is
made available for free and that includes the
original (uncompiled) source code used to
create it so that users can freely modify it
Collection – is an organized group of
objects (often digital information materials).
First developed in 1996 by the New
Zealand Digital Library Project at the
University of Waikato’s Computer Science
Greenstone 2.83 is the recent stable
version. Released in 2009…
The latest version is Greenstone 3.
◦ It has many new functions but retained most
features in the previous versions.
◦ It has been on trial for about a year now.
Aims of Greenstone
It is aimed at helping libraries build their
own digital libraries so as to facilitate
Features of Greenstone
Easy to install
Has an easy to learn interface
Supports multiple types of documents
◦ Doc, pdf, html, text, image files, video
◦ Able to handle large number of objects
It is customizable
Supports z39.50 protocol
Supports multiple languages
Supports several metadata sets
◦ E.g. Dublin Core, Marc 21
Supports protocol both as client and as server,
◦ The collection is easily distributed on CDs and other
portable storage media.
◦ The collection can run easily locally on a CD or a PC,
or remotely on a Server.
The collection provides various search methods:
◦ Browse – title, author, subjects.
◦ Keywords – bibliographic fields, index terms as well as
◦ Supports Open Archives Initiatives - Protocol
Metadata Harvesting. (OAI-PMH).
◦ Metadata can be shared to external search
◦ Possible to export collection to or import
Greenstone DL Software is multiple platform and
◦ Windows, Linux & Mac operating systems
◦ PC – Pentium IV, 256 MB Ram, 2 MHz
◦ Web browser
◦ Java Runtime
◦ ImageMagic – for processing image files
◦ Software modules that handle
Greenstone has a wide user base. It is
◦ Many countries especially developing
Asia, South America and Africa
◦ Universities and other Tertiary Institutions
◦ Research Institutions
◦ International bodies, NGOs, CBOs
Documentation – Mainly available from
the links at Greenstone DL Site:
◦ Institutional-based, national or regional
◦ Southern African Greenstone Support
◦ Greenstone Support for South Asia
◦ Greenstone Support for South America
◦ Eastern African Greenstone Support … ?
◦ Developers mailing list
To discuss matters that relate to development of
◦ User list
General discussion about Greenstone: features,
◦ Support network
Discussions, communications, news and announcements
◦ Is available through the User and Librarians
Greenstone DL Interfaces
◦ Web based
◦ Can be customized
◦ Allows collection development processes
Download files for your collection
Gather documents to build the collection
Enrich content with metadata
Design appearance, searching & browsing facilities
Create or build the collection
Collection title & contacts
Statement of collection’s purpose
Statement of collection’s coverage
Explanation of how collection is organized
Greenstone has been used for
Selected set of documents
Collection of image and multimedia files
What is Metadata?
Different meanings in different
Information about information
Can describe information at any level
◦ Item within item
Can be embedded within an object or
separate from it
Types of Metadata
Descriptive metadata helps users find and obtain objects, distinguish one object
or group of objects from one another, and discover the subject or contents.
◦ Helps collection managers keep track of objects for such
purposes as file management, rights management, and
◦ Documents relationships within and among objects and
enables users to navigate complex objects, such as the
pages and chapters of a book.
Linking or relationship data
Principles of Metadata
Have a community standard
◦ Conforms to the needs of current and
◦ Distributed networked environment
◦ Find resources that are distributed across the
world’s libraries, archives, museums.
Includes a clear statement of the
Principles of Metadata …contd.
Supports the long-term management and
preservation of objects in collections.
Metadata and Cataloguing
Perception that cataloguing is old and
metadata is new
◦ Traditional cataloguing focuses on
descriptions of print materials
◦ Metadata focuses on management of
For locally created or managed
networked resources (such as
repositories), cataloguing is insufficient
Defines a collection of elements for
supporting a specific function
Defines structures for element values
Defines formal aspects of the element set,
such as name, definition, data type, etc.
Some schemes are expressed as XML
Some Common Standards
Metadata Encoding and Transmission
Dublin Core Element Set