Hello there Jeroen, my name is Peter Mooney and I work for the Environmental Protection Agency in Ireland. One of my main tasks is the collection of metadata and project data from researchers which my agency funds. These researchers are normally people at MSc and PhD level. But there are other larger projects. Some time back my colleague and I got together and over the course of a few months developed an web based metadata catalogue. It was written in Java. We realeased on April 2005. Our user community slowly got around to actually using the tool. However there were some limitations to it that meant it did not really do what it was supposed to do. There was difficulties around exactly what subset of ISO19115 field we needed to use, users uploading several files for one metadata item, and general display and presentation issues. As a software tool it was pretty good but general presentation etc left much to be desired. Given that we have moved onto other project focuses now (and my colleague has since moved onto C++ in the 'real' world) we don't really have the time resources to go back and do a major rewrite/release.
Some months ago I came across GeoNetwork. I quickly installed the desktop version and was very impressed with the very wide range of functionality. In fact GeoNetwork did everything that I would have wanted my data catalogue system to do. The fact that GeoNetwork was Java powered meaant that I could more easily understand it underneath the hood.
Iattended the FOSS4G conference in Switzerland. I sat in on several demos that you gave and also attended your presentation. There was always quiet a large queue of people ahead waiting to ask questions.
To bad you didn't catch me! I would have been happy to give you a deeper insight.
I realise you are very busy but I have a few short questions. I would be very grateful if you had time at some stage over the next week fews to look at them. 1. How customisable is the GeoNetwork GUI? My agency requires everything online to have the correct look and feel. I see that the GeoNetwork node at http://www.fao.org/geonetwork/srv/en/main.search is customised to some degree. I am pretty good with CSS/DHTML/XSLT etc so tinkering around with these don't pose a big problem for me.
Than it should be quite easy for you. CSS is dealing with the colors, fonts etc.. and the XSL with the layout of the page. The most complex part to modify would be the (fairly generic) metadata presentation. Otherwise, you can modify the XSL files and check the output on the fly in the browser. You can also run GeoNetwork in debug mode so you can see what XML structure serves as input for the XSL transformation. There are some exercises in the http://geonetwork-opensource.org website in the Administrator section: http://geonetwork-opensource.org/administrator/exercises/
2. We have committed a specific data management structure to our researchers. We require that when each researcher (usually the project manager or coordinator) logs in that they can only edit/delete/update their own data. Each research group is essentially unique. They may be working in the same university or under the same funding programme. But they have their own data space on the server and this is private. I have read the concept of groups in GeoNetwork. Would I need to set every user up as a separate group?
Now yes, that's what you would have to do. We had some internal discussions that individual ownership may be a requirement. You may want to discuss this on the developer mailing list and may-be assist in implementing such a feature. We have not planned to implement it.
In GeoNetwork I think that "Editor" would be the highest profile that our researchers would have. So my question here boils down to. Suppose you and I were editors. Can I ensure the following? That I can only edit my metadata items/maps etc but can only view yours. And vice versa. You can only edit your metadata items/maps but can only view mine.
Yes if you create a group for each user, otherwise the above applies.
I hope that these questions make sense.
Over the coming weeks and months I will keep a record of my working with GeoNetwork. Maybe this can evolve into a piece of help documentation or something. I would like to be able to contribute to the project in some way.
Are their plans for another GeoNetwork Workshop next year?