Mission Statement


OpenAtlas puts great emphasis on being open source, open access and just open in general. The code is therefore released under a GPLv2 license. You can find the OpenAtlas code on GitHub. In addition, for any (further) development of the system, only other open source applications and programs are used. Due to the emphasis put on open source and open access, cooperating projects are required to make their data available as open access to interested scientists and the public after the project has been completed.


OpenAtlas places great emphasis on transparency - in the development of the software as well as in the communication with project partners and the public. All documentation of the software is publicly accessible via the manual and the project's own wiki. The issue tracker and the roadmap with planned new features are also freely accessible and editable via OpenAtlas’ Redmine. Here you can also find meeting minutes for meetings with cooperating projects as well as for the regular team meetings. The demo as well as the developmental version of the demo (with the latest developments of the database system) allow anyone to explore the software via common browsers. Furthermore, the project's own homepage offers insight into the team, future and already held events as well as cooperating projects.


OpenAtlas code is developed with the highest standards in mind. Therefore, coding standards such as PEP8, HTML 5, etc. are followed during the development of the software. In addition, quality assurance tools such as Mypy and Pylint are used. It is also important that the software is always up-to-date. OpenAtlas also uses extensive testing strategies with high coverage during development to detect bugs early. If bugs appear in a production version after all, solving these have the highest priority. To ensure data quality, OpenAtlas uses CIDOC CRM. In the background of the application, compliance with the specific rules of the ontology is checked. Non-compliant data is not processed. Moreover, own data can be subjected to data integrity checks at any time to guarantee the highest quality.


Furthermore, the use of the CIDOC CRM ontology also allows datasets to be recombined. It is one of the ways in which the FAIR principles are taken into account in the project. To make the data further interoperable, OpenAtlas also provides its own API to interface with other applications and query the data stored in the database. Different output formats are possible. In addition, it is possible to download datasets directly from the user interface - as JSON, RDF, or CSV. External references allow the linking of own datasets with other vocabularies and gazetteers but also analog documents like inventory numbers of museums or card catalogs of libraries and thus create Linked Open Data. The long-term archiving of data is also taken into account through cooperation with ARCHE.


Great importance is also placed on the usability of the software, especially in light of the fact that many cooperation partners come from the field of humanities and do not have the additional resources to deal with specific questions of software development in addition to their research focus. Furthermore, the performance of the application is also particularly important and is taken into consideration with every step, as it contributes significantly to enabling fluent working. OpenAtlas offers a multilingual user interface to accommodate researchers from different regions and to facilitate their work. In addition, it is configurable and highly flexible, through the use of types, particularly adaptable to specific research questions.