2.1. About the OpenUp! project

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By Walter G. Berendsohn, Anton Guentsch (BGBM), published as: OpenUp! Creating a cross-domain pipeline, in: TDWG 2011 Annual Conference abstract*.

OPENUP!, BIOCASE, AND GBIF" given by Walter G. Berendsohn at TDWG 2013 conference

“OpenUp!” is a project co-funded by the European Commission and several European natural history collections. OpenUp! will connect the European virtual library EUROPEANA to the providers in the network of the Biological Collection Access Service (BioCASE) in Europe and thus to GBIF.

EUROPEANA is building a cross-domain portal to Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage. Up to now it provides access to 15 million digital images, texts, sound files, and videos with a focus on cultural history. Multimedia objects belonging to the natural history domain are still dramatically underrepresented, although being clearly within scope of EUROPEANA as a part of Europe’s scientific heritage. OpenUp! closes this gap by serving multimedia content to the BioCASE network and making this compliant and accessible to EUROPEANA. Content served includes specimen images, movies, and animal sound files with a reference to an observation or collection event. Participants committed to serve at least 1.1 million objects by the end of the project. All providers to BioCASE are automatically also serving GBIF.

Connecting the cultural and the natural history domains is the central idea behind OpenUp! (“Opening up Europe’s natural history heritage to EUROPEANA”). Europe’s collections cover most of the world’s described organisms, ranging from common and famous species to those that have already gone extinct. Some were collected during historical expeditions by well-known epochal explorers and scientists like Darwin or Humboldt. OpenUp! will make multimedia representations of these treasures available to the general public, often for the first time. The complementary taxonomic literature is provided by the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) Europe project.

OpenUp! addresses technical developments (mapping between different data standards, enrichment of metadata, caching strategy for a single access point to distributed data, etc.). The project will also incorporate multilingual metadata, in particular vernacular names of organisms, for a multicultural audience. OpenUp! will contribute to the next development phase of EUROPEANA by exemplifying the incorporation of an existing provision framework for distributed content (BioCASE).  

The basic OpenUp! dataflows are established using software components originally developed in the EC-funded BioCASE project and its predecessors, which are now widely used in GBIF and other networks. The BioCASE Provider Software helps to hide internal data structures of OpenUp! participants and forms a consistent service-based information space for the multimedia content. Use of the TDWG standard ABCD (Access to Biological Collection Data) ensures provision of a broad spectrum of specimen data, which in turn provide the metadata linked up to EUROPEANA using the OAI-PMH interface definition. 

OpenUp! implements data quality measures to achieve a high level of completeness and correctness of metadata associated with multimedia objects. A dedicated “data quality toolkit” is being developed, which integrates a number of quality services including scientific name catalogues. The toolkit consults existing OpenUp! provider installations and compiles an XML-based report with quality problems found. The same quality services will also be used to enrich meta information with information derived from existing collection data.

OpenUp! is an initiative of CETAF, the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities, together with several European GBIF Nodes.