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Online Research Collections Australia (ORCA)

ORCA Registry | ORCA Support Network | Training | Forums | Data Management Survey | ORCA Discovery Portal

Online Research Collections Australia (ORCA) has the twofold aims of developing an online registry of Australian research collections and a coordinating network to support researchers with the ongoing development of these collections. These are known as the ORCA Registry project and the ORCA Support Network.

ORCA Registry

The ORCA Registry project has been established to improve the capacity of institutional repositories, archives and data centres to create and share collection-level information and resources. Its aims are to develop a discovery portal for collections information (that is, information about research collections) and a services registry that can facilitate machine-to-machine services related to managing collections within a network of federated repositories.

The main priority addressed by the ORCA Registry is to provide a better discovery environment for data collections produced by the wide range of individuals and institutions involved in the Australian innovation system. This includes all Australian higher education institutions; Government-funded research organisations (such as CSIRO); and commercial and not-for-profit organisations in sectors with research interests (such as archives, museums and libraries). It is planned to collaborate with similar registry services overseas at a later stage.

Members of the project reference group are participating in a pilot collection registry evaluating the software in a pre-production mode.

Go to the pilot ORCA Discovery Portal ...

The APSR wiki provides further information about the technical aspects of the ORCA Registry.

RIF-CS Schema and Associated Documentation

Information for ORCA Network partners for marking up content to the Registry Interchange Format - Collections and Service (RIF-CS) format.

  1. Schema Guidelines

  2. RIF-CS Schema:


  3. Schema Documentation

  4. Sample XML Markup

Contact Scott Yeadon for further information

ORCA Support Network

Coordination of support for online research collections is the job of the ORCA Support Network which includes all APSR partners. An ambitious program has been devised to include a distributed research collections consultancy service, a network of collections managers, a network of eResearch experts, a register of eResearch expertise, training, workshops, email lists and forums.

Technical support for research activities is probably best delivered at the level of the institution or research group. The ORCA Support Network aims to coordinate and foster these support activities for online research collections and provide some cohesion amongst such distributed support initiatives.

The human and social network provided by ORCA brings together eResearchers, collection managers and “eResearch technologists” (data scientists and domain-specific informatics specialists).

The ORCA Support Network has four areas of activity:

Gavan McCarthy of the University of Melbourne chairs the Network meetings aided by Simon Porter. The Network meets monthly using the access grid.

For more information see the ORCA Support Network wiki.

Contact: Margaret Henty