Development roadmap: 2017
Published: 30 January 2017
Published: 30 January 2017
Over the last 18 months, Keeping Culture’s activities have focused primarily on the development of a major version upgrade to the software; basically, a new system to replace the old.
In achieving this outcome, development tasks have been undertaken in two phases:
The first phase, completed in June 2016, introduced a revision to the system’s core framework. This upgrade has removed the dependencies on legacy versions of deployment software and allowed the introduction of caching performance improvements and enhancements to existing search functionality. But perhaps most importantly, this phase saw the restructure of the code base, a critical step towards efficient maintenance and deployment of the software going forward.
The second phase, currently in development and due for completion this year, sees the introduction of the Routes and Templates frameworks. These frameworks provide the following improvement and advantages to the current approach:
Single ‘responsive’ template: combine mobile (tablet) and desktop interfaces into one ‘responsive’ page template, including support for small sized displays (phones, iPods, phablets, etc).
Custom templates: create new page layouts and designs or customise existing ones.
URLs/Permalinks: direct access to archive records and resources via URLs.
Flexible link structure: modify archive page structure and customise navigation menu links. Apply restrictions to page access.
Inline user login: allows account access midway through a browsing session – no need to logout and log back in again!
Improved error handling: low-level PHP error handling for clearer feedback when things go wrong.
Improved workflow: integrated front-end and administrative functionality; providing quick access to administrative tasks. Confirmation messaging after user actions.
Introduction of APIs: build new archive templates, extend functionality and integrate archive data with other systems.
Data privacy: Secure Socket Layer (SSL) support.
Metadata Harvesting: Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting repository support.
Integration with Web Services (optional): Google Analytics, social and sharing networking.
By the middle of 2017, a beta version of the new software will be ready for selected customers to preview and evaluate. It will be installed in parallel with the existing system allowing both versions to operate simultaneously using the one dataset. It may take a few months of refinement until a stable release is ready; at which point the new system will be rolled out to all customers.
Some of the aforementioned improvements, namely the Introduction of APIs and Metadata Harvesting may not be available for production use until 2018.
Customers will be informed via email as to the exact details of the rollout in relation to their service.
Having a flexible platform to create new functionality was one of the biggest motivations for developing the new system. Equally inspiring are our customer’s ideas for the software and the exciting opportunities that are emerging in the Cloud computing space. So the question has to be asked, “Where to from here?”.
Below are some big concepts, grand visions and wild ideas for Keeping Culture’s future:
Dictionary: a multi-lingual dictionary tool for the recording and preservation of language. The dictionary functionality would be integrated with, and supplement, the existing software functionality.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Cloud services: integrate image analysis to provide object and scene detection, facial recognition and face comparison using Amazon Rekognition. Further opportunities exist to leverage speech-to-text and other language based AI services.
Contributor framework: A framework that analyses an archive’s content in relation to a specific user, in order to determine the user’s authority on, or interest in, a specific subject matter. The analysis would take into account a user’s family, professional and friend networks, country, place, time and metadata contributions to determine which archive content is relevant to them; thus providing a ‘me and my world’ centric experience.
A suite of pages, tools and functionality would be developed to prompt users to contribute information, manage their own contributions (including ingested media), and explore their world via a social media inspired interaction. The more a user contributes to the archive, the larger their ‘me and my world’ experience grows.
Viewing derived relationships: A process whereby record relationships are traversed in order to locate derived relationships that exist in indirectly linked records. For example, when a person’s record is viewed, the system would display derived information such as:
the timeline of places visited and event participated in,
relationships to extended family members,
organisations they have been involved in,
annotations they have made,
archive items they may have created,
archive items they may appear in,
and so on.
Archive Nodes framework: A high-level multi-archive management framework that allows any number of archives to hang off a tree-like node structure; where content is shared and accessed based on the position in which an archive sits within the node structure. It would provide a taxonomy approach to structuring large and diverse collections of media and knowledge, while allowing community groups to access, manage and contribute to only a subsection of the larger structure.
Management of archival data storage: An administration interface to manage long-term archival storage and retrieval of original media assets held within Keeping Culture KMS.