Invenio: the digital library software suite

April 21, 2011 in Blog

Invenio is a free software suite enabling you to run your own  digital library or document repository on the web. The technology offered by the software covers all aspects of digital library management from document ingestion through classification, indexing, and curation to dissemination. Invenio complies with standards such as the Open Archives Initiative metadata harvesting protocol (OAI-PMH) and uses MARC 21 as its underlying bibliographic format. The flexibility and performance of Invenio make it a comprehensive solution for management of document repositories of moderate to large sizes (several millions of records).

Invenio dates back to 2002 when its development started at CERN in order to run the CERN Document Server, nowadays managing over 1,000,000 bibliographic records in high-energy physics, covering articles, books, journals, photos, videos, and more. The development team behind it is multinational collaboration of software engineers from various institutions such as CERN, DESY, EPFL, FNAL and SLAC. Invenio is used worldwide by about thirty scientific institutions and organizations.

Invenio’s features make it an excellent digital repository and archiving solution both for the user and the administrator. The powerfull search interface enables the user to look for and find records according to their criteria, using multiple fields, boolean queries and regular expressions. Records are organized in collections of various levels, grouped by type or other common fields they may have, making it easy for the user to look for similar records based on their interests. Social tools and features also give a chance to the user to personalize their experience, by beloning to user groups, commenting on or reviewing records, creating personal or participating in group collections (baskets) of records, setting alerts based on their interests, exporting rss feeds based on their search queries, etc.

As far as the administrator is concerned, Invenio’s modular architecture enables them to control each part of the platform seperately and handle the workflow of each record and user action more efficiently. New records can be sumbitted manually or harvested automatically, while the MARC 21 format used for the metadata is extendable making it easy for the administrator to define new types of records or custom fields of metadata. At the same time, multiple output and export formats are supported. An elaborate editing tool helps the administrator monitor and modify the different versions and revisions of each record and its attached files while data extraction tools can be used to extract keywords from records based on specific taxonomies, as well as other data. A custom task scheduler is included in the platform giving the administrator the chance to automate basic system running and maintenance tasks, such as indexing, ranking, collection caching etc.

Invenio is easy to install and maintain, and it is free software based entirely on open standards. Find out more on