The basic unit of organization in OCHRE is the “project.” OCHRE can support an unlimited number of research projects, enabling each project team to organize and share information while preserving its own terminology and restricting access to its data. A project team may be of any size, ranging from a single scholar pursuing individual research to a large group of collaborating scholars and students. Projects and their individual members are identified by name and are given credit for their data and interpretations.
OCHRE is an online service available to anyone who wishes to use it for a legitimate academic purpose. Although it is a centralized database, OCHRE does not present itself as a single, anonymous authority. All data are organized according to “projects” conducted by one or more researchers. Any number of projects can join OCHRE and add their data to the database.
Although OCHRE is an online system that makes use of a central database, control of the data is not centralized. Each project’s data remains completely under the control of the project leader, who determines who can see and modify the data. A project’s data is invisible to OCHRE users who have not been authorized to see it. The project leader also determines who among the project’s staff can modify particular kinds of data. Thus, OCHRE can be used as an internal data management system for a research team but it can also be used to share and publish data more widely, at the discretion of the project leader, who can make some or all of the project’s data public for all to see.
Adding Your Project to OCHRE
The University of Chicago’s OCHRE database is accessible on the Web at http://ochre.uchicago.edu. Users can click a link there to download software, free of charge, which lets them view and search information in the database that has been made public by participating projects.
However, to add or modify data in an OCHRE database, a research team (which may consist of a single scholar) will need its own OCHRE project. The team leader will be given a “project administrator” password to control user accounts and data entry for the project. A project administrator can create usernames and passwords for any number of project members, specifying the level of access each person possesses to view or modify the project’s data.
OCHRE users who do not have a user account assigned by a project’s administrator cannot log into that project to view or change its data. However, such users may view and query any data that the project administrator has made publicly available to guest users. Many projects will choose to keep their data invisible to guests until they are ready to publish it.
Contact us at the University of Chicago to set up your project in OCHRE and obtain a project administrator account.
OCHRE distinguishes between “core data” stored in XML format in the central database and “external resources” such as image files, PDF files, 2D and 3D spatial data files, and audio or video files. Each project can provide its own HTTP Web server to store its resource files. Such files are not stored on the central OCHRE database server but are simply catalogued there, with URL Web links to the server on which they are stored. If a project does not have its own Web server, an arrangement can be made to host its external resource files on the OCHRE server.
All of the core data stored in XML format in the central OCHRE database is professionally backed up (nightly) and is preserved indefinitely. For details concerning the institutional arrangements that have been made to ensure the longevity and accessibility of the data, please contact us at the University of Chicago.