One of the ambitions of ReIReS as a starting community is to develop a platform where disparate digital resources and databases are searchable in a unified and standardized way. This ReIReS discovery platform is now ready for architecture developing, a next important step in the process.
Work Package 6 started this process by mapping the existing datasets within the ReIReS consortium (as explained in a previous post), which will form the foundation of this unified data repository and search platform. The results of this task are available at https://reires.eu/datasets/.
Our work package group then moved on to document the needs and expectations of the people involved in ReIReS and other people who work for the institutions that are a part of the consortium. Analyzing the structure, interoperability and accessibility of the datasets that are to be made searchable on the data discovery service is of course essential. However, in order to design such a service it is equally important to understand what researchers hope to gain from having access to a unified database in the field of religious studies.
With the help of a survey, WP6 gave interested parties within the consortium the opportunity to describe the functionalities they prefer included on the platform. These cases were integrated into a requirement analysis, which will inform the development process of the data discovery service. Those requirements help the technical staff prioritize functionalities throughout the different phases of development, giving researchers and data providers from within the consortium the opportunity to provide input yet again on the consecutive iterations. By including the input from consortium members who are not directly involved in WP6, we aim to bring together their expectations as well as the dispersed digital sources.
Now that the requirement analysis is finished, the technical staff can take their first steps in developing the architecture of the ReIReS discovery platform.
At the same time, we have started working on a shared ReIReS data model that will standardize the data from the digital resources and databases within the consortium.
Structuring this wide array of data according to a single model will offer new tools to users, thus enriching digital access and supporting scholars in searching and discovering the datasets more easily.
There is of course still a lot of work ahead of us, so stay tuned for more updates in the newsletters to come.
Michiel De Clerck, business consultant LIBIS