[Humanist] 28.444 PostGreSQL and Solr for digital archives

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Oct 28 08:47:30 CET 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 444.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2014 14:29:11 -0300
        From: Alan Stanley <alan at discoverygarden.ca>
        Subject: Re: 28.393 PostGreSQL and Solr for digital archives

Hi Ashley –

I'm Alan, the DH guy at discoverygarden inc. in PEI, Canada.   We work with
the management of digital archives.  We have a strong mix of librarians,
systems engineers and software developers with deep experience in the
planning and creation of digital repositories.

We’ve implemented a few digital humanities solutions that marry XML and
Solr, using the Islandora stack.  (http://islandora.ca/)  They involve an
interaction between Fedora as the backend repository, a Drupal database as
a middle layer (usually mysql, but POSTGres could be implemented if
required) and Solr for the discovery layer.

Fedora gives us an extraordinarily robust back end.  When changes are made
to the data we can see who did it, and when.  All changes can be rolled
back non-destructively.

Drupal allows us to access and display the stored data.  Data can be viewed
in a number of different interchangeable ways, XSL transforms can be done
on the fly, and stored data can be edited interactively.  We support both
TEI and standoff markup, and editing can be done either within the site or
externally in the tool of your choice.

Solr allows us to combine navigation and discovery to allow virtually
instantaneous access to selected data.  The security of the underlying data
allows us to re-index Solr as needs change without compromising the
integrity of the project.

All information on the Drupal website can be exposed as RSS feeds, or as
REST endpoints.

You can see some background on our company here – discoverygarden.ca.

You can contact me at alan at discoverygarden.ca  if you have any questions.

- Alan

The William Blake Archive is in the process of migrating our site off of
> the eXist platform as part of a larger reimplementation and redesign
> project. Our partners have recommended that our next iteration employ
> PostGreSQL (for the web application) and Solr (for searching). We are
> curious to know whether other digital humanities projects (XML-based
> digital archives in particular) use this combination of platforms. Solr
> seems to be widely used for faceted searching, but we know less about
> PostGreSQL and would like to know if other projects have employed it and,
> if so, what your experiences have been.

Alan Stanley | discoverygarden inc.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada | C1A 1G4
Phone | 902- 213-0777

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