Interface Design: Software & Tutorials

Open Source S/W

CollectiveAccess (

CollectiveAccess is a web-based suite of applications providing a framework for cataloging and discovery. CollectiveAccess is open-source collections management and presentation software designed for museums, archives, and special collections also increasingly used by libraries, corporations and non-profits. It is designed to handle large, heterogeneous collections that have complex cataloguing requirements and require support for a variety of metadata standards and media formats.The two main components of CollectiveAccess are Providence, a “back-end” cataloging interface, and Pawtucket, a “front-end” publication and discovery platform.

CollectiveAccess Required Software Packages

  • Apache 2.2 or 2.4.
  • PHP 5.4 or better [5.3 is last supported for CA version 1.5; PHP7 is supported from version 1.6]
  • MySQL 5.5 or better (Must have support for InnoDB engine)
  • Required PHP modules: mbstring, curl, JSON, mysql, iconv, zlib, libXML, DOM, PCRE (Perl-compatible regular expressions) with UTF-8 support (some OS’ like CentOS/Red Hat enterprise ship with a PCRE that does not support UTF-8), zip, and Process Control
  • More info.

CollectiveAccess Tutorials

Sample Digital Libraries Using CollectiveAccess

Greenstone (

Greenstone is an open source software suite for creating digital collections produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project. It has been popular over the past decade both in the United States and internationally. One of Greenstone’s interesting features is the ability to export/save digital collections to CD/DVDs.

System Requirements:

  • Java Run-time Environment (1.4 or above)
  • ImageMagick
  • C++ compiler (Visual Studio or GCC)
  • Perl

Greenstone Tutorials

Sample Digital Libraries Using Greenstone

Omeka (

Omeka is Linux-based, open source, web-publishing platform used by many digital libraries, museums, and archives.

System Requirements:

  • Linux operating system
  • Apache HTTP server (with mod_rewrite enabled)
  • MySQL version 5.0 or greater
  • PHP scripting language version 5.2.4 or greater (with mysqli and exif extensions installed)
  • ImageMagick image manipulation software (for resizing images)

Omeka Tutorials

Sample Digital Libraries Using Omeka

Proprietary S/W


CONTENTdm remains one of the most popular software platforms for digital collections. Operated and maintained by OCLC, CONTENTdm offers several different pricing options depending on the size of collections and hosting options (both locally and remotely with OCLC servers).

CONTENTdm Server Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows Server® 2008 or 2008 R2; Linux 32-bit or 64-bit (2.6 kernel). Operating system must be 64-bit for Level 3 licenses. Dual-core processor is required but quad-core is recommended. CONTENTdm 6.1 Server has been tested on Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS 5 (32-bit and 64-bit), Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 64-bit, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10. The CONTENTdm 6.1 Server has been successfully installed on other Linux distributions based on the 2.6 kernel, however, not all distributions based on that kernel are supported. Red Hat Enterprise 6 is not yet supported.
  • Dedicated Web server (IIS 7 or 7.5 with Windows® 2008 or 2008 R2, Apache with Linux). Note: CONTENTdm can, and usually does, coexist on systems with other websites and applications. The CONTENTdm 6.1 Server may be installed on the same or on a separate machine from the CONTENTdm 6.1 website. It should have its own Web server (IIS or Apache) instance if it is installed on the same machine.
  • PHP 5.3 with Linux. Note: PHP 5.3 is required for both Server and website if installed on the same Linux machine.
  • 1 GB RAM minimum. 2+ GB RAM recommended. 4 GB RAM required for Level 3 licenses, but 8-12 GB recommended for large installations, especially those with full-text transcriptions.
  • 1 GB of available hard-disk space for installation.
  • Adequate disk space to hold your collection. (For example, if you have JPEGs with an average file size of 100KB, 500 JPEG images would require about 50MB of disk space. Larger image files or audio/video files require additional disk space.)

CONTENTdm Tutorials

Sample Digital Libraries Using CONTENTdm

EMu (

Axiell’s EMu (short for Electronic Museum) is a collections management system for all museums, from the small to the very large. Engineered to manage all types of collections, EMu is suited to:

  • Cultural collections, Anthropology, Archaeology, Science and Technology.
  • Paintings, Drawings, Prints, Sculpture and 3-dimensional objects, Decorative Art, Performing Art, Photography, Textiles and Digital Objects.
  • Natural History collections, including Zoology, Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology, Botany, Horticulture and Physical Anthropology.
  • Special collections, Digital Assets, Historical Societies and Archives

Comprehensive and flexible, EMu can accommodate the requirements of any collecting institution, but is widely acknowledged to be the pre-eminent system for Natural History collections.

EMu Server Requirements

  •  Unix or Linux recommended for large EMu implementations (over 500,000 records or more than 10 concurrent users), such as CentOS, Red Hat ES, Ubuntu, Solaris, and FreeBSD. Windows Server 2008 and 2012 are supported via a Linux virtual machine running through a hypervisor. It is estimated that there should be one server CPU core for every 2-3 concurrent users for heavy usage, or every 4-5 concurrent users for light usage. Either Unix or Windows is suitable for smaller implementations.
  • Software packages requirement: Perl 5.8.8 or greater, XML::Parser::Expat, and File::FcntlLock.
  • For the EMu web server (IMu), ImageMagick – image manipulation package, PerlMagick – perl interface to ImageMagick package, perl packages (HTML::Parser, Image::ExifTool, and PDF::APi2).The web server must run PHP 5.3 or later.
  • The disk space requirement for the EMu back-end (without record data or multimedia) is less than 2 GB (this does not include space required by the operating system).Other storage requirements depend heavily on the anticipated amount of multimedia which is to be stored within the system, and recommendations vary accordingly.

EMu Tutorials

Sample Digital Libraries Using EMu


LUNA makes it easy to organize and manage digital assets, curate collections, and deliver content to targeted audiences or the general public. LUNA software is comprised of a complete set of tools that can be distributed across multiple roles within any size organization, either as SaaS or on premises.

LUNA Server Requirements

  • Windows 2000/2003/2008/2012
  • Linux: Red Hat, Ubuntu (Debian)
  • MySQL 5+
  • Minimum 4GB not inclusive of the database. Considerations for additional memory are dependent upon amount of content and number of users.
  • More info.

LUNA Tutorials

Sample Digital Libraries Using LUNA

Comparison of Open Source and Proprietary S/W

Xie, I. & Matusiak, K. (2016). Discover Digital Libraries: Theory and practice. Elsevier.

Other S/W

DSpace (

DSpace is an open source, cross-platform, “turn-key” solution for digital collections. It is maintained by a large developer community, and provides comprehensive documentation.

DSpace video

Prerequisite Software:

  • UNIX-like OS or Microsoft Windows
  • Sun Java JDK 5 or later (standard SDK is fine, you do not need J2EE)
  • Apache Maven 2.0.8 or later (Java build tool)
  • Apache Ant 1.7 or later (Java build tool)
  • Relational Database (PostgreSQL or Oracle)
  • Servlet Engine (Jakarta Tomcat 4.x, Jetty, Caucho Resin or equivalent)
  • Perl (required for [dspace]/bin/

DSpace Tutorials

Sample Digital Libraries Using DSpace

 VuDL (

VuDL is a digital library administration application packaging several open source software. Included with the VuDL application is: a METS metadata editor; service image generation tools; XML database repository; OAI server; and record drivers for VuFind.

Prerequisite Software:

  • Java JDK
  • eXist-db
  • Apache Tomcat
  • ImageMagick
  • Tesseract

VuDL Tutorials

Sample Digital Libraries Using VuDL


Summary | Software & Tutorials | Sample Collections | Exercises | Resources & Best Practices