MIXED (Migration to Intermediate XML for Electronic Data)
MIXED (Migration to Intermediate XML for Electronic Data) is a web service that converts tabular data files such as spreadsheets and databases to the Standard Data Format for Preservation (SDFP), a supplier-independent XML format. It is also able to reverse the conversion, migrating SDFP files to service-dependent formats. Format and batch limitations most likely make the service inappropriate for production-level use; its value is as a proof-of-concept.
Data Archiving and Network Services (DANS)
Licensing and cost
The service is free under an unknown license. The libraries for DataPerfect and dBase files are freely available under a GNU General Public License. The project states that it intends to publish all code as open source, but does not indicate when this will happen.
The MIXED version 1.0-beta service appears to have been withdrawn as of July 2013. The dBase library version Beta 10 was released in August 2012; the DataPerfect library version 1.0.0 was released in February 2010. The MIXED project ran from 2007-2010; no information is available about continuing support.
Platform and interoperability
The service is written in Java, and uses an Apache Tomcat web server. In theory, this renders it platform agnostic; the website does not advertise any browser limitations. MIXED uses Java libraries as the foundation for its plugins.
The software was structured as a service-oriented architecture with plug-ins for the various file types. Current plugins exist for Data Perfect (input-only), Access 2000 and 2002, dBase III and IV, and Excel 2003. Relational databases converted to the SDFP format will lose all relations, and Excel files will lose all formatting information. There is no batch processing of files.
Documentation and user support
Documentation exists in the form of a number of project reports, and the website is very informative. The site lists contact information for a number of people involved in the project.
The web-based user interface is extremely straightforward.
Users must be comfortable interpreting XML files. Those wishing to build on the current libraries must have solid knowledge of application design and technologies.
The service converts files to the Standard Data Format for Preservation (SDFP), an XML format, incorporating the Software Independent Archiving of Relational Databases (SIARD) format for databases. SDFP uses ISO 8601 for date and time representations, and ISO 6093 for number representations; it also uses DDI2 as a sub-schema for statistical data.
Influence and take-up
The site states that MIXED is to be used in the DANS ingest and dissemination workflow. Sourceforge statistics indicate approximately 400 downloads for the DataPerfect Library and over 4800 for the dBase Library.