PERICLES VII: The Borås Encounter

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 30 May 2015 | 14:17

The PERICLES project has been running for just over two years now. Its goal is a lofty one - to ensure that today's digital data and art can be preserved for use in the future. Sounds dead easy, no?

The last update on this blog was in June 2013 after the Brussels meeting. Since then there have been many meetings, both large and small, in person and virtually to discuss the work and in between all these we do get actual work done. We have just had our most recent big meeting in Borås, Sweden.

Two years into the project, anyone on who thought it was an easy task has been thoroughly dissuaded from that viewpoint - but that is not to say we haven't made progress. The work packages in the project have made many advances - the modelling group has worked up some initial model templates or skeletons and use a technology, Linked Resource Model, developed by one of the partners to do it. 

I mainly work in Work Package 6 (WP6), which is responsible for the testbeds and integration architecture. Over the past 2 years, WP6 has put together the infrastructure needed to test out the ideas, processes and tools being developed in the project. To do this we use a range of technologies including jBPM, Jenkins, Java, Python and Docker. Getting all these to run the tests as we want has taken a bit of time but we now think that we can orchestrate the various tests and technologies required by the rest of the project in a sensible and feasible manner. 

The technologies being used inside the testbed include pre-developed software such as MediaInfo or FFMpeg and software developed in the project like the PET (Pericles Extraction Tool) and PeriCAT (a new tool in development).

The Borås meeting was a chance for everyone to get together and hammer out some of the remaining problems in the architecture - mainly that we have lots of views on how the architecture should be but no single defining one for the project. As it turns out, most of the options under review are compatible with one another with only minor modifications required. This is a good thing. Below you can see some images which contain different types of views on the system: a high-level functional view, a 'real world' implementation and the view the testbed would take.

Each view is important to consider and after some discussion, we mainly came to the opinion that things can be compatible and the different views can be used to explain things to different audiences. The functional view has given rise to a few of the main types of workflow which will be required in a system that could be developed using the techniques being developed in PERICLES.

A big thing that has been noted throughout the project is the frequent problems with terminology which have hampered the project due to the wide range of fields and backgrounds of the partners. This can happen in any environment but it is a reminder that multi-disciplinary projects have to be very careful about it.

I think the meeting was useful and WP6 has some work it needs to get on with. Our next batch of tests is awaiting development, so I better hop onto it and get it done.


PERICLES(link is external) (Promoting and Enhancing Reuse of Information throughout the Content Lifecycle taking account of Evolving Semantics) is a four-year project that aims to address the challenge of ensuring that digital content remains accessible in an environment that is subject to continual change.

This can encompass not only technological change, but also changes in semantics, academic or professional practice, or society itself, which can affect the attitudes and interests of the various stakeholders that interact with the content. PERICLES will take a ‘preservation by design’ approach that involves modelling, capturing and maintaining detailed and complex information about digital content, the environment in which it exists, and the processes and policies to which it is subject.

This Integrated Project is funded by the European Union under its Seventh Framework Programme (ICT Call 9).

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