Curator's Workbench

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Curator's Workbench is a tool that automates and streamlines the process of preparing collections of digital materials for submission to a repository


The Curator’s Workbench is a tool that automates and streamlines the process of preparing collections of digital materials for submission to a repository. The Workbench will capture and stage files, generate manifests that include fixity information, arrange folders and objects, normalise metadata to custom requirements, and finally create a submission package for ingest into the archive.


Carolina Digital Repository, an initiative of the University Libraries of UNC Chapel Hill.

Licensing and cost

Apache 2.0 – free.

Development activity

Curator’s Workbench version 3.0 was released in October 2011. The software was created for the Carolina Digital Repository, which states that the package continues to be developed to support the workflow needs of UNC Libraries. The current “Version 4.0-SNAPSHOT - Unstable Build” download offered for beta testing, as well as recent entries in the Github “Issues” page, support this assertion.

Platform and interoperability

Curator’s Workbench has been tested in Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. It is built upon the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, using Eclipse’s Modeling Framework and Graphical Modeling Framework. The software incorporates iRODS jargon client libraries, and is extensible by plug-in.

Functional notes

The Workbench’s crosswalk tool is able to map user-supplied metadata fields to MODS elements, allowing the user to define how each MODS record is created, which elements are used and where they come from in the source metadata. This can be done at the project level, allowing batch staging; the software is capable of migrating thousands of descriptive records at a time and linking them to data objects. As materials are selected, arranged, and described, the software generates a METS file that documents these processes. In addition, it generates checksums and UUIDs for each object. When a project is ready for submission, an export function translates the internal METS into an XML-viewable submission package ready for ingest. Curator’s Workbench was designed for use in the Carolina Digital Repository, which uses a web interface for ingest into a Fedora repository with iRODS storage. To address the unreliability of web ingest, the software can stage files in advance. In the CDR setup, individual users have accounts in a staging area within the iRODS grid; files placed there by the Workbench are readable by the Fedora instance at ingest time, at which point they are also copied into archival storage.

Documentation and user support

While CDR does not provide direct support, there are Google groups for developers and users. The Users group was active as of December 2011, but the Developers group is not yet active. There is also an “Issues” page on the Github wiki, which is active as of February 2012. The Workbench incorporates its User Manual into its help system but does not provide a PDF instance of the document. Some technical information is available on a GitHub wiki.


The Workbench GUI is extremely simple and easy to use, although solid familiarity with metadata standards is essential.

Expertise required

Installation and configuration require deep system administration knowledge.

Standards compliance

The Workbench uses METS XML for project definition files and submission files, and incorporates MODS XML for description.

Influence and take-up

Curator’s Workbench is used within the UNC library system.

User Experiences

Development Activity