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Below are some frequently asked questions about the Viewshare platform. Please consult the Feedback Forum or User Guide if you are looking for assistance with troubleshooting.

What is Viewshare? is a free web application for generating and customizing views (interactive maps, timelines, facets, tag clouds) that allow users to interact with and explore cultural heritage digital collections.

Who uses Viewshare?

Viewshare is primarily developed as a tool to help cultural heritage organizations provide access to their digital collections through common interfaces. This audience includes librarians, archivists, curators, and researchers around the nation interested in better understanding and expanding access to their digital collections. If you would like a Viewshare account you can sign-up here.

What kind of data can I import into Viewshare?

For the moment, five types of files can be imported into Viewshare:
  • XML MODS: XML MODS files must be valid XML and follow the Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS).
  • Simplistic Excel spreadsheets: Excel spreadsheets may be used to get data into Viewshare, but every version of Excel's proprietary format cannot be supported. By "simplistic", we mean that a single worksheet can have contiguous rows and columns that form a rectangle. This "rectangular spreadsheet" can have blank columns to the left and right and an optional title and subtitle at the top, as long as they are in single cells. Best results will be obtained from data with less than 1,000 records, e.g. spreadsheets with less than 1,000 rows. Larger amounts of data will result in significant time delays or even a failure to load the data set. While data standards greatly improve the opportunity to provide data transformation, consistency of implementation for any given standard is not guaranteed. Please visit the Troubleshooting Guide to read tips on how to submit files for review and further testing support.
  • OAI: You can import Dublin Core data that is provided by the Open Archives Initiative's Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. If the data is available over OAI-PMH you can import the Dublin Core values. Currently, you can choose to import 100, 200,300  or 400 records. Note that the system’s success is dependent on the availability and speed of an individual OAI-PMH implementation.
  • CONTENTdm: Limited to use with Version 4 only and the option to import 100, 200, 300 or 400 records at a time.
  • JSON: Import data files in JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format that are available on the Web via a public URL.

Can I get my data out of Viewshare?

Absolutely! However, Viewshare does not store your original data files. You should always back up your original files and not rely on Viewshare to store them for you. Viewshare stores a converted copy of your data in the JSON file format, augmented with some additional information used to make Viewshare Views. You can download your data in in RDF/XML, semantic wikitext, tab-separated values, facet selections, generated HTML, or Exhibit JSON.

Does Viewshare copy my content?

Viewshare stores only the data you upload and any data created through data augmentation. (See the user guide section on augmenting data for more information). Viewshare stores a converted copy of your data in the JSON file format. You can see exactly what Viewshare stores by consulting the user guide section on exporting data and selecting the "JSON" link. Viewshare does not store “content” in the sense of the thumbnail images or other content files made available through URLs provided in your data sets. Viewshare only stores the data that links to this form of content.

How do I get started?

Viewshare is offered as a software as a service, or SaaS. Please go to the home page to get started. There you can request a free account.
See the quick guides on importing collection data, generating views, and embedding and sharing views to get stared using the software. You can also view a screencast or consult the user guide.

Where is Viewshare hosted?

Viewshare relies on the services of Rackspace, a San Antonio, Texas–based company that provides enterprise-level Web infrastructure and managed services to businesses of all sizes.

What are the System Requirements?

Viewshare makes every attempt to support the following Web browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer v.7 & 8, Firefox v.3.x and Safari v.3.x. Opera v.9.x, Camino v.1.6.x, Firefox v.4.x, and Chrome v.14.x mostly work but are not as thoroughly tested and not officially supported. Internet Explorer v.6 does not work with some of the software used by Viewshare and so we cannot support it. Viewshare currently supports the US English (en-US) locale.

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