- Need some help?
- General information
- Logging in to Phaidra
- File formats
- Quick creation of new objects
- Creating an object
- Create a multiple object
- Create a relationship between objects
- High-resolution images
- Sharing a collection
- Printable guides
Report an issue
For more information, and to report issues with the system, contact the Ask the Library Helpline provided by the University of Padova Library System.
is the platform used by the University of Padova Library System for the management and long-term preservation of digital objects.
Through the Phaidra website, users from all over the world can access rare documents or other items of historical, artistic, cultural or academic interest, many of which would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find.
Phaidra stands for Permanent Hosting, Archiving and Indexing of Digital Resources and Assets. It is based on Fedora open source software and is maintained by the University of Vienna, with whom the University of Padova has been collaborating since 2010. The Ca’ Foscari and Iuav universities in Venice, meanwhile, have used the Phaidra platform for publishing their own digital collections since 2014. Since 2019 also the University Museum System of the University of Bologna publishes its digital collections in Phaidra.
Currently, only trained members of staff and students of the university can upload digital objects for archiving, but navigating the site and, unless otherwise indicated, viewing the digital objects in the collections, is open to all users free of charge.
The terms and conditions of use for accessing and using the digital objects archived on Phaidra are available here.
Here we present a brief introduction to the Phaidra user interface and the navigation and search functions, as well as procedures for archiving digital objects. For comprehensive instructions, please consult our Printable guides.
There are various ways to explore Phaidra and its contents. The Phaidra homepage offers links to the most recently added collections, and a link to a complete list of collections. There is also a search facility, and an icon-based menu offering additional browsing options.
It is a good idea, therefore, to familiarise yourself with the various sections of the homepage. Starting at the top, we have:
- The navigation menu with its distinctive icons (Search, All collections, Browse, Language, Login, Help, Change theme).
- A side-scrolling gallery of images representing some of the most interesting items in the Phaidra collections.
- A simple search form, with a link to the advanced search page. The same section of the page provides some basic information about Phaidra.
- The most recently added collections, which are highlighted under the heading “Featured collections”. At the end of this section there is a link to a list of all the collections on the platform.
Enables access to the search page.
Navigates to a page listing all of the collections on the Phaidra platform.
Each collection has its own page with a description of its contents (who created it and for what purpose, distinctive features, the number and types of objects it contains). At the foot of the page is a “Browse collection” button, which takes you into the collection itself.
To see all collections in Phaidra, click the "Find all collections in Phaidra" button at the bottom of this page.
Allows the user to browse the objects archived on the Phaidra platform by type, or by institution of origin.
Allows the user to set the interface language, choosing between Italian, English and German.
Brings up a form for registered users to enter their username and password to log in to Phaidra. Certain features are only available to logged-in, registered users. These are described in more detail in the "Archive" section below.
Visible after logging in, clicking this icon allows the user to personalise settings for uploading digital objects (for example, by choosing between a “full” or “light” version of the Metadata Editor).
Opens this help page, which has information about finding and archiving digital collections on the Phaidra platform.
Allows the user to switch between a dark colour theme and a lighter one.
You can enter one or more search terms in the search box and search all fields. Searches are not case sensitive, and word order will not affect the results.The * (asterisk) symbol can be used as a wildcard at the start, at the end or in the middle of a word to substitute zero, one or more characters.
d*e finds ditte, date, due, etc.
b*anc* finds bianco, biancospino, branca, branchia, etc.
*est finds est, test, Budapest, etc.
The ? (question mark) symbol can be used as a wildcard at the start, at the end or in the middle of a word to substitute at most a single character.
test? finds testa, testi, test, etc. ?ampo finds campo, lampo, etc.
The + (plus) symbol can be used to include a specific word in the search query.
The - (minus) symbol can be used to exclude a specific word from the search query. Alternatively the logical operator NOT or the ! (exclamation mark) symbol can be used on the same purpose.
Alternative syntax: fish NOT carp or fish !carp
The AND logical operator can be used to require that both words on either side of the operator must be present for a match. Alternatively the && (double ampersand) symbol can be used on the same purpose.
Alternative syntax: Buda && Pest
The OR logical operator can be used between each search query to combine searches. Alternatively the || (double vertical bar) symbol can be used on the same purpose.
Alternative syntax: works || posters
To search for an exact match, e.g. a book title, put a word or phrase inside " (double quotes) symbol.
"Codice Diplomatico Padovano di Giovanni Brunacci - Tomo I (BASVPd Cod. 581.1)"
In performing any simple search from the search mask on the homepage, by scrolling through the "List scrolling" function or from the magnifying glass of the top navigation menu, one reaches the search page, which allows the results to be refined.
The search allows one, in fact, to filter the objects of Phaidra through a series of categories visible in the column "Filters" on the right of the page: Restricted or open access, Object type, File size, License attributed to the object, Upload date, Institution of reference, Persons connected to the object. By default, the category "Type" appears open. To see the filters applicable to other categories one must instead click on the triangle next to the name of the category.
The applied filters work with the Boolean operator AND between the first level categories and in OR between the filters belonging to the same category.
Type: picture; Type: book, finds both books and pictures.
Next to each applicable filter there is, in brackets, the number of objects existing on the platform that correspond to that category. The number changes when a new filter is applied, on the basis of the operation described above.
The category "People" is not a real filter. It allows one to select the role of interest (e.g. "Author") and type the name of the person or entity one wants to search (e.g. "Giovanni Marsili" to find all the objects in which Giovanni Marsili has been listed as the author). Using the asterisk character '*' one can find all objects having any value for the chosen role.
If you log in you will also see the filter "Body or Person of reference", useful if you know the User-ID of the "owner" of the objects of interest to you (a suggestion appears for completion on the typing of the second letter of the name).
When you apply a filter, you will see it above the search results, with a red X next to it that allows you to remove it. You can also remove a filter by unchecking the box to the left of its name in the "Filters" column; the "Remove filters" option deletes all filters applied so far.
By default, the search results are sorted by relevance, but you can select a different sorting criterion from the relevant drop-down menu: Ascending title, Descending title, Ascending loading date, Descending loading date.
With the option "Link to this search" you can copy the link to the current search. Also, if you are authenticated, the "Favorites" option allows you to save the search result to an existing list of favorites or to create a new one.
When a collection is included in the search results, the link "Search in collection" appears under the title and brief description of the collection: clicking on the link will open a new page where you can search only for objects in that collection (but not in any of its subcollections).
The Advanced Search offers a wider range of search options. You can combine one or more words and select which fields to use in your search from the drop-down menu. Words can be combined using Boolean operators.
The search function supports the use of the Boolean operators AND and OR. The default operator is AND. To search with a combination of criteria, click the “further AND connection”, or the “further OR connection” below the search box: AND will bring up a list of objects that feature all of the terms entered. OR will bring up objects that feature at least one of the terms entered.
The * character (asterisk) can be used as a wildcard at the end or in the middle of a word to substitute one or more characters.
d*e finds ditte, date, due, ecc.
b*anc* finds bianco, biancospino, branca, branchia, ecc.
The search results summarise the search and indicates the number of objects found.
If you are a registered user, and you have logged in, you can add an object to your bookmark list by clicking on the pencil icon beside the object title (to manage object lists and create your own collections, see the Bookmark list page). If you are the owner of the digital object (in the sense that you are personally responsible for it, or represent the responsible institution), you can also access the Editor used to modify the object’s metadata, or change access permissions.
On the Browse page, the user can browse lists of the objects on the Phaidra platform, which are grouped using pre-set criteria.
- Object type: collection, picture, book, PDF, video, other. The user can also choose to include restricted-access objects in the list displayed. Under the default settings, these objects will not be included.
- Institution: the institution that created the digital object.
The result of browsing can be filtered further.
The image of the object is shown alongside the title and subtitle (preceded by an icon representing the type of object) and the main metadata, presented under a series of labels:
- Description: groups the descriptive metadata of the object
- People: any person or entity related to the life of the object (Author, Digitiser, Curator...), with the exception of the publisher, that has a separate label of its own
- Place / Time: spatial and temporal coverage of the object
- Date: object dating (present when one of the date fields in the metadata editor's calendar format has been checked)
- Format: combines information on the file format with information on the format of the original object
- Subject: includes keywords, classifications and chronological subject
- Language: object language
- Sources: contains the location, in the case of books the bibliographic citation, the link to the catalogue
- Rights: license attributed to the object
- Contact institution or person: who created the object
If you reach an object page from a collection page, you can scroll through all of the objects in the collection by moving your cursor over the preview and clicking on the right and left arrows that appear at the top of the image.
The right column contains information on the relationships between the displayed object and other objects:
- Object details: appears when front and back versions of the object are available (e.g. front and back of a photograph)
- Object relationships: appears when a relationship has been set up between the current object and another object in the Phaidra system
- Member of the collection(s): comes up when the object belongs to one or more collections. Provides a link to the relative collection(s)
Under the image, the object's metadata is available:
- Dublin Core: a metadata schema based on a core of 15 elements that are used to describe all resource types. The metadata are displayed in an XML file
- Phaidra metadata: metadata configured to comply with the LOM (Learning Object Metadata) standard for describing learning objects. In addition to the LOM standard metadata, a number of additional metadata are included for the various types of object on the Phaidra platform. The metadata are displayed in an XML file
- EXIF viewer: The EXchangeable Image File format (officially abbreviated as EXIF) is an image format specification standard used by digital cameras. It uses the JPEG, TIFF Rev. 6.0, and RIFF formats, with the addition of specific metadata tags
- Version: appears if there is more than one version of the object
Functions in Phaidra (available to logged-in users, for the objects owned by the user):
- Metadata Editor: for modifying the object’s metadata
- Access Rights: allows the owner to limit access to an object to a specific number of registered users or entities in the Phaidra database
- Collection Editor: comes up for “collection” objects, and allows the user to delete elements from such collections. Objects can be added to a collection using the “bookmark” function
- Create/modify relationships: for creating relationships between objects
- Create new version: for creating a new version of an object
- Bookmark: allows the user to add an object to a bookmark list. Bookmark lists are used to create collections (see the Bookmark list page).
Objects can be uploaded to one of two destinations (servers).
- Phaidra Production, to make your objects public: https://phaidra.cab.unipd.it
- Phaidra Test to test the Phaidra platform and its functions: https://phaidratest.cab.unipd.it
When you log in, Phaidra will verify your username and password. The username and password are issued by the system itself and communicated to the user via the Phaidra computer system. If you need authentication credentials, contact the Ask the Library Helpline. It is necessary to log in to make use of functions that are reserved for registered users: archiving digital objects using the Metadata Editor; viewing your bookmark lists; viewing your templates; changing your user settings using the user preferences and managing access permissions for your objects. When you log in, the icon in the main menu will change colour to reflect your status.
What file formats does Phaidra accept? And which formats are to be preferred?
Phaidra accepts any format, but for each type of object (image, video, audio...) only a few formats are valid. For those that are not, we recommend the conversion to a valid format. If this is not possible, at the time of uploading, you must choose the type of object "Unknown".
The choice of format is important because of its implications for long-term preservation and web access. Particularly for long-term archiving, widely used formats with openness, portability, transparency and self-documentation are preferred.
There are no absolute criteria in the choice of formats. The choice is always dependent on different evaluations that the person performing the archiving will have to make on a case by case basis, and will often result in a compromise between the best achievable quality and the limits imposed by the costs of production, processing and storage of files, as well as – for the pre-existent – by the opportunity of a conversion to a new format.
As a reasoned help in choosing file format to be preferred for the various object types, see the document File formats recommended for long-term archiving and web dissemination in Phaidra (PDF).
The light Metadata Editor is a stripped back version of the standard Metadata Editor. The description tabs are replaced by a single window that includes all the obligatory fields plus a number of fields that are particularly useful in identifying and searching for a particular object (identifiers and classification).
To use the light Metadata Editor, you need to activate it in the “Preferences” menu.
A template is a reusable metadata draft that allows quick creation of objects with shared metadata.
To create a template, after entering the metadata for an object, click on the “Save as template” button.
To view your templates, simply click on the “My templates” link in the personal user menu. From there, it is possible to delete templates or even transfer them to another registered user.
You can upload the following types of individual object: picture, audio, video, document, or other.
Books and Collections are treated as “multiple objects”, and can only be uploaded using the Phaidra Importer application, which has to be installed on the user’s own computer. You can also create a collection starting with a list of bookmarks (see “Creating a multiple object”).
After a file has been uploaded, you are required to describe the object using the Metadata Editor.
Unless you decide to limit access to specific users, your objects in the Phaidra system will be accessible to everyone. Objects with limited access are only visible to the general public in the form of a thumbnail preview and the associated metadata, and not as large format files.
As the owner of an object, having logged in, you will see the “Functions in Phaidra” menu on the object page. You can add a particular user to the list of those with full access to the object by clicking on “Access Rights”, and searching for the user’s name.
You can modify or remove access limits at any time, again by using the "Functions in Phaidra" menu.
Metadata Editor used to fill in the descriptive tabs will open automatically.
Obligatory fields are marked with an asterisk (*).
There follows a list of recommended metadata with which to describe an object. For a detailed description of all of the Phaidra metadata categories, see Guida all'archiviazione (Guide to archiving in Phaidra).
This tab includes the basic metadata required to identify the object.
Identifiers are automatically assigned by the system.
Enter the object’s principal title. If it does not have a specific title, you can create one by entering a suitable name or phrase to describe the object. We recommend starting with its content (people, events, activities, objects), its geographical setting (if notable or significant), and/or the date or period.
By clicking on the icon, you can insert a title in an additional language.
Enter a secondary title that offers additional or more specific information to the main title (e.g. complementary info).
By clicking on the icon, you can insert a subtitle in an additional language.
Enter an alternative to the principal title (e.g. an abbreviation, acronym, etc.).
By clicking on the icon, you can insert an alternative title in an additional language.
Specify what language the content of the object is in by clicking on the drop-down menu and selecting the relevant language.
If the object uses more than one language, you can indicate this by adding additional entries using the icon.
Provide a description of the object in whatever terms you deem suitable. You may wish to include: a summary, an index, a description (e.g. for an image), a reference to a website, etc.
Use this field also to enter information about the physical characteristics of the object, such as the technique of a photographic print or the state of preservation.
By clicking on the icon, you can add an additional description in another language.
Enter the keywords that best represent the content of the object.
Completing this field makes the object easier to find using the search facility. It is best to use terms from a standardised list, to maximise uniformity.
By clicking on the icon, you can insert keywords in an additional language.
Coverage (time frame, geographical application, field of application or responsibility)
Indicate the geographic location (place name or coordinates), the period (historical period, date, date range) or the field of responsibility or application (e.g. the name of an administrative body) that applies to the uploaded object.
To insert both spatial and chronological information, duplicate the field with the icon and fill in the first occurrence with spatial data and the second with temporal data.
By clicking on the icon, you can add coverage information in an additional language.
Enter any other identifiers that may be assigned to the object in addition to the Phaidra system’s own identifier (e.g. Aleph SYS no., BID SBN, DOI, ISBN, etc.).
The metadata on the Life Cycle tab describe both the life cycle of the object and its current status (e.g. version number).
Specify the roles of the individuals or entities involved in the creation of the object.
By clicking on , you can duplicate the field to add a person or entity with a different role.
* Role/Personal Data
Enter the name, surname and any relevant titles (e.g. academic titles, professional titles, honorifics, etc.) There are two “Title” fields. To insert a title before a person’s name, use the first field; to insert a title after the name, use the second field. You can also add a code (e.g. ORCID, VIAF, ISNI...) that identifies the author on the dedicated content.
By clicking on the icon, you can specify the type of author/creator, i.e. whether it is a person, or an institution or other similar entity.
If you use the Light Metadata Editor, you cannot directly enter an author of the entity type: fill in a fictitious first and last name, click on , select "entity" and enter the author, then remove the fictitious first and last name. From the Editor Light it is also not possible to insert the identification codes (VIAF and similar), which can still be added after creating the object.
Calendar field where you can enter a date in relation to a role: you can, for example, enter the date of creation of the original object in relation to the Author role, the date of digitization in relation to the Author role of the digitization...
The Technical Data tab is used for metadata that describe the technical characteristics of the object. The object’s format, size and permanent links are recorded automatically by the system.
Indicates the time taken to watch or listen to the file, in the case of video or audio objects.
The Rights and Licences tab is used for information about access and usage rights and other legal aspects of the object.
* Selected Licence
Specify the type of licence you wish to assign to the object. In the event you choose the ALL RIGHTS RESERVED option, you can still modify your selection at a later point in time by clicking on one of the Creative Commons licences. However, you cannot modify the licence in the opposite direction.
When you select a license from the menu, a short version and the link to the long version appear. The road that the platform is taking is towards an ever wider circulation of information, so the most used license within Phaidra, as well as the license that you should use whenever possible, is the "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)".
The Description field can be used to add notes or specifications relating to COPYRIGHT and the usage licence selected for the object.
The Classification tab can be used to identify a topic or object using one or more classification schemas. Although not mandatory, the metadata in this tab are very useful for defining the object and facilitating its retrieval during the search.
Classification (classes and subclasses)
The following thesauruses and classifications are available in Phaidra:
– The ACM Computing Classification System (1998 version)
– EuroVoc Thesaurus (version 4.2)
– Dewey Decimal Classification (reduced English edition)
The 1000 Dewey classes have been uploaded to Phaidra as they are open access.
– PACS (Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme)
“PACS” and “Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme” are registered trademarks of the American Institute of Physics. The AIP requires that these trademarked schemes are referenced every time they are used.
The use of classes and thesauruses is permitted when indexing in Phaidra.
Enter the term you are looking for in the “Search Terms” field and click on “Search”. In one of the fields underneath, you will see one or more strings including the search term as a descriptor, and all the relative relationships. Click on the string you require. This will upload the related classes and subclasses.
Click on additional descriptors to assign them. This will open a new window.
Select the item required from the drop-down menu.
This field allows you to define the subject with increasing specificity, i.e. moving from the general to the specific.
The options in the drop-down menu are ordered alphabetically, and not in order or class or subclass number.
Even though a semantic description is not obligatory, if you assign a classification to an object, you will be required to complete the “Subject” field.
The Association tab allows you to specify the nature of the relationship between the object and an institution or part thereof.
Complete this field by selecting the appropriate option from the drop-down menu. The secondary menu allows you to specify a division or part of an institution.
This tab is used to record metadata for the original object, from which the digital object archived in Phaidra has been derived.
Field not used. If you want to enter descriptive information about the original object you can use the "Description" field of the first tab (General data).
Provide a physical description of the object, specifying the material (in the “Material Type” field) and its size.
Field not used.
Field not used.
Field not used.
Here you can specify the longitude and/or latitude, expressed in decimal values or in degrees limited to a specific point (it is not possible to duplicate the field). Values should be written with degrees, minutes and seconds followed by the abbreviation of the cardinal point, without spaces. Example: Longitude: 26°29'7''E - Latitude: 43°54'45''N.
The Provenance tab is used for metadata that provides additional information about the real item from which the digital object is derived, or to which it refers.
Field not used.
Field not used. All information about authors and other persons or entities in any way related to the life of the object (both physical and digital) should be included in the "Life Cycle" tab.
Personal or Institution information
Field not used.
Date from and Date up to
You can use these fields to enter the date of the object as a range when you do not know the exact date of creation. Providing a date, although not punctual, greatly enriches the information on an object, so it is advisable to fill in the field.
You can also use this field to enter a certain date for an object without an identifiable author: in this case, fill in both fields with the same date. If you also know the author, enter the date in relation to it in the Life Cycle tab.
You can use this field to provide chronological information in text form, in addition to (or alternatively from) the date indicated in the previous fields. This data will be displayed next to the object under the label "Subject", along with classifications and keywords.
This field is used for information about the precise location of the real item (Structure and placement).
In this tab you can enter bibliographic data about the object, such as the title of the series, pagination, place of publication...
In particular, use the field "Catalogue URL" to insert the permanent link to the catalogue, both in the case of books and in the case of other objects.
None of the fields is obligatory. However, it is recommended that you complete at least a few fields that have a bearing on the way the book information frame appears in the Book Viewer, for instance: Place of publication, Publisher, Date of publication, Catalogue URL, Number of pages, or volume no.
A collection is a set of relationships between several objects. Both the collection and each of its components are identified by an identifier and a description.
To make a collection, start with an object. Add it to a bookmark list by moving the mouse cursor over the “Add Object” button and either select an existing list or click “Add to a new bookmark list”. Once you have selected the objects that make up your collection, got to My Bookmarks in the personal user menu. Select the bookmark list from the drop-down menu and click the “Create New Collection” button.
You can add all the objects from a search to a list of favourites in one go: perform a search to limit the result to the objects of interest to you and then click on "Favourites" above the search results.
By going to "My Favourites lists" in the My Menu you can also remove items from your Favourites lists.
You can add other items from a Favourites list to an existing collection by clicking the "Add to collection" button. To delete a Favourites list, click the "Empty Favourites list" button.
It is also possible to create a collection using the Phaidra Importer, an app that needs to be installed on the user’s own computer. To find out more, see the Guida al Phaidra Importer ("Phaidra Importer Guide", PDF).
Once you have created a collection, if you wish it to appear on the Featured Collections section on the homepage, contact the Ask the Library Helpline for Instructions.
The Phaidra Importer can be downloaded from the “Create new object” page.
To create a digital book, you will need to use the Phaidra Importer, an app that is downloaded and installed on the user’s own computer. To find out more, see the Guida al Phaidra Importer ("Phaidra Importer Guide", PDF).
The Phaidra Importer can be downloaded from the “Create new object” page.
The “Create/Modify relationships” function allows you to create connections between individual or multiple objects. The relationships are generic in nature, and cannot be made any more specific.
To create a relationship, click on “Create/Modify relationships” in the "Functions in Phaidra" menu. In the page that opens, find the object for which you wish to create a relationship with the current object by searching for its identifier. To confirm the relationship, click on “Create Relationship”, or on the button. You can limit the search to just your own objects.
Visitors can see an object’s relationships on the relevant object page.
You can delete a relationship by clicking the button.
To create a relationship between the front and back of an image:
– Create new object > select image
– Upload one side of the image, then the other
– Go to the “Object Description” page for the verso (back)
– Under “Object Details [Front/Back Relationship]”, click “Modify”
– Type in the identifier for the recto (front) of the image and click Update (clicking Cancel closes the menu)
To delete a Front/Back relationship:
– Go to the “Object Description” page for the verso (back) of the image.
– Click on the button under the preview of the recto (front) and confirm deletion.
Where it is necessary to display a large image in detail, and in any case, if an image exceeds 5,000 px along the longest side, it is possible to set up use of a viewer that provides the option of zooming in, progressively, on particular areas (see this example).
To set up this facility, contact the Ask the Library Helpline.
With shared collections, it is possible to:
- scroll through the collection and view the objects in it
- view the Dublin Core metadata (whole or short version)
- carry out searches using the Title and Description fields
- have search terms in the Title and Description fields highlighted
- access the digital object in Phaidra (images, PDFs, books) via a link
An example of an embedded collection can be seen at the website of the virtual exhibition Images and prehistory.
To embed a Phaidra collection in your website:
- Log in to Phaidra and go to one of your collections
- Click the “Share Collection” button under the collection title (see the image below)
- Copy the code provided
- Incorporate the code into that of the web page where you wish to embed the collection
- Searches are activated by typing at least three characters into the search box
- It is possible to share collections up to a maximum of 1,000 component objects in size
- If an object in a collection is itself a collection, the link to that object, rather than display the object, will open the collection web page in Phaidra. For this reason, you are advised only to use the embed feature with simple, rather than multi-level collections
- Only one collection can be shared on a single web page
For more information, and to report issues with the system, contact the Helpline provided by the University of Padova Library System.