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HarvANA Overview

HarvANA: Harvesting and Aggregating Networked Annotations

Collaborative, social tagging and annotation systems have exploded on the Internet as part of the Web 2.0 phenomenon. Systems such as Flickr,, Technorati, Connotea and LibraryThing, provide a community-driven approach to classifying information and resources on the Web, so that they can be browsed, discovered and re-used. Although social tagging sites provide simple, user-relevant tags, there are issues associated with the quality of the metadata and the scalability compared with conventional indexing systems. The HarvANA (Harvesting and Aggregating Networked Annotations) system enables authoritative metadata generated by traditional cataloguing methods to be merged with community annotations and tags.

HarvANA uses a standardized but extensible RDF model for representing the annotations/tags and OAI-PMH to harvest the annotations/tags from distributed community servers. The harvested annotations are aggregated with the authoritative metadata in a centralized metadata store. This streamlined, interoperable, scalable approach enables libraries, archives and repositories to leverage community enthusiasm for tagging and annotation, augment their metadata and enhance their discovery services.


HarvANA: Harvesting and Aggregating Networked Annotations testbed developed in collaboration with the National Library of Australia using architectural images from Picture Australia

A demonstrator has also been developed using Crystallography structures from the Protein Data Bank, with annotations created using AnnoCryst for PyMOL.


The HarvANA demonstrators are provided as Tomcat WAR files. Installation and configuration instructions are provided in the download zip files:

  • Download HarvANA for image annotations
  • Download HarvANA for PDB Crystallography structures


J. Hunter, I. Khan, A. Gerber, "HarVANA - Harvesting Community Tags to Enrich Collection Metadata", Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, JCDL 2008. Pittsburgh, PA, USA, June 16 - 20, 2008.

J. Hunter, I. Khan, R. Chernich and A. Gerber. "Open Repositories 2.0: Harvesting Community Annotations to Enhance Discovery services", Open Repositories Conference 2008 (OR2008). Southampton, UK. April 1 - 4, 2008.

System Architecture

System architecture

Screen Captures

HarvANA PDB search
HarvANA PDB search results

HarvANA PDB metadata and annotations
Crystallography model metadata and harvested annotations

HarvANA search
HarvANA image search results

HarvANA metadata and annotations
Image metadata and harvested annotations

HarvANA annotations
Image annotations shown in sidebar

HarvANA tags
Tag cloud of popular ontology terms from harvested annotations




  • PILIN: Persistent Identifier Linking Infrastructure project