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- General information
- Logging in to Phaidra
- 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
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For more information, and to report issues with the system, contact the Help 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.
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 addition 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 (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 links to the advanced search page and saved results from previous searches. The same section of the page provides some basic information about Phaidra and links to PDF files of a leaflet and the printable guides.
- 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.
Brings up the search form.
This icon only appears in the pages for individual objects, since on the other pages, the search form is visible by default.
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 to into the collection itself.
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, German and Serbian.
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 scheme and a lighter palate, and vice versa.
On the Browse page, the user can browse lists of the objects on the Phaidra platform, which are grouped using a set of pre-set criteria.
- Object type: collection, picture, book, PDF, video, other. The user can also choose to include limited-access objects in the displayed list. Under the default settings, these objects will not be included.
- Institution: the institution that created the digital object.
The “Refine search” button opens a form for adding additional filters to the list.
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.
"Repertorium nominum gentilium et cognominum Latinorum"
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 result” summarises the search and indicates the number of objects found.
By clicking on the “Refine search” button, it is possible to broaden or narrow the search. You can also change the criterion used to order the search results or invert the order (Descending/Ascending).
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 theBookmark 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 access permissions.
An image of the object is presented alongside a selection of key data (title, description, author, access/usage rights/ relevant institution or person, permanent link). A complete list of data (general information, life cycle, licences, provenance, etc.) is provided in various tabs that can be accessed by clicking the “Show full metadata” button.
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.
Below the image, there is a list of additional navigation options associated with the object (the same options can be accessed by clicking the icons that appear under the object title):
- Object details: appears when front and rear 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)
- Object link:
- View in browser: to view a life-size version of the image or, for books, to open the Book Viewer
- 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
- Language: comes up if more than one language is available
- Version: appears if there is more than one version of the object
Phaidra functions (available to logged-in, registered users):
- Metadata Editor: for modifying the object’s metadata Only available to the object’s “owner”
- Access permissions: 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
- Change object owner: will only come up if the owner is classified as a Super User. A Super User may transfer ownership of an object from one user to another
- Bookmarks: 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 or 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. 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 archived objects; 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.
The “Preferences” button will appear in the navigation menu after you log in. You can adjust your user settings (e.g. if you deactivate thumbnails preview images will not appear in your search results), and launch the “light” version of the Metadata Editor.
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, or model, is a reusable metadata schema 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?” link.
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.
Certain file formats (MS Word, PowerPoint, etc.) are not recognised by Phaidra as suitable for long-term preservation, and as such, are not considered recommended for archiving. Users are advised, therefore, to convert files to one of the recommended formats.
In the event that this is not possible, it is possible to archive digital objects in other formats under the “other” category. However, the long-term preservation of these objects cannot be guaranteed.
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 “Phaidra Functions” 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 Phaidra Functions menu.
After the file has finished uploading, the 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.
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.
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).
Indicate which version of the object has been uploaded. It is possible to create multiple, independent, searchable versions of an object. It is similar to creating different editions of a single document.
By clicking on the icon, you can insert version information in an additional language.
Describe the status of the object by clicking on the drop-down menu and selecting the most appropriate option from “draft”, “complete” and “not available”. This information can be particularly useful if more than one version of the object exists.
Specify the roles of the individuals or entities involved in the creation of the object.
* 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Provide additional information about the object: for instance, you can include excerpts of text that appear on it (plaques, data or registration plates, epigraphs, etc.), or provide information about the state of conservation, etc.
Provide a physical description of the object, specifying the material (in the “Material Type” field) and its size.
Include any reference numbers associated with the object.
In the “Reference” field, select the appropriate identifier type from the drop-down menu (e.g. “inventory”).
Use the “Number” field to enter alphanumerical characters of the reference number or code itself.
This field can be used to specify longitudinal and latitudinal data (for objects such as maps, geographical charts, etc.), which can be expressed as decimal values or degrees.
Coordinates can be expressed in either degree or decimal formats, e.g. longitude 16.3597 (16°21’35’’E), or -16.3597 (16°21’35’’O). East should be indicated as E (“Est”), West as O (“Ovest”), North as N (“Nord”) and South as S (“Sud”).
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.
Include additional, more specific information about the source of the object.
Identify the author (photographer, designer, etc.) of the real object (i.e. before it was archived on Phaidra).
Personal or Institution information
Include the name, surname and any applicable title (e.g. professional or academic title, 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. 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.
This field is used for information about the precise location of the real item.
The “Bibliographic Data” tab is provided for the description of digital books.
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.
Bookmark lists are used to create collections. A collection is a body of relationships between two or more objects. Both the collection and each of its component objects has a unique identifier and its own 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 more objects to an existing bookmark list by clicking the “Add to Collection” button. To delete a bookmark list, click on the “Clear Bookmark 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 Help Desk 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 Phaidra Functions 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 Help Desk.
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.