The Latvian National Archives have won the “Most Open Organisation” award for their extensive use of free and open source software for their online audiovisual archive. The system combines (Red Hat) Linux servers, the Apache web server, and content management system Drupal to offer access to Latvian documentaries, newsreels, cartoons and feature films from 1910 to the present day.
The award was announced by the Latvian Open Technology Association (LATA) at a conference in Riga, on 2 February.
The open source architecture for the online audiovisual archive Redzi, dzirdi Latviju! (See and hear Latvia) was designed by Normunds Lauva, a business analyst at Passive Management, an IT service provider. “We chose proven open source software and technologies”, Lauva says. “We have been working with open source for almost 15 years, and we had no doubt that it would work for the National Archives.”
The core of the audiovisual archive is content management system Drupal. “It is a great tool for managing complex structure and large amounts of data”, Lauva says. It’s customisable architecture makes it easy to migrate data from other databases, and do data cleansing and transformation. It also provides advanced filtering and data displaying, making it possible to tailor content and access for specific user groups and use cases.
The main system is cloned to provide a read-only archive for visitors. Only the main system allows editing of data, and also offers advanced filtering and other data management tools. The public facing, lightweight website is built using AngularJS which displays search results from an index created by the Apache SOLR search engine.
The system runs on virtualised Linux servers, with SSL certificates provided by Let’s Encrypt. The main databases are managed with PostgreSQL and the development (code and configurations) are managed using Git.