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mediaIBIS (media Interactive Biodiversity Identification Software) is a tool to search for digital media resources of various types, especially images, sounds, or taxonomic resources like identification keys or taxon pages (species pages etc.). Metadata (authors, title, keywords, type, owner, availability, etc.) are stored in a K2N repository and made searchable through this.

mediaIBIS search pages have been created for several other languages as well, see Category:mediaIBIS portal pages for an overview.

How to use mediaIBIS

Figure 1. mediaIBIS startup screen
Figure 2. Search conditions available for searching identification tools
Figure 3. Search results shown in table view
Figure 4. “Select Colums menu”
Figure 5. Pop-up window with all information available for resource (table view)
Figure 6. Search results shown in gallery view
Figure 7. Information and view box after clicking a tile

Simple Search

The application offers a full text search box and a number of specialized query options available through buttons below the box. The full text search and query options can be used separately, or together to create more specific searches. The selected options from the buttons are called “Search conditions” and their selection will be displayed above the buttons. In Fig. 1 the “Resource Type” has been selected for “Sound”, so the Search condition is set to “Resource Type = Sound”. The two buttons in figure 1 are available for all types of resources, except identification tools, where we have three extra buttons, which are specific for setting search conditions for identification tools. If under “Resource Type”, the only option selected is “Identification Tools”, you will encounter the following three extra options: “Language”, “Organism Group” and “Platform”.

Advanced Search

New (Feb 2010)
The Advanced Search interface can be accessed by clicking on the Advanced search hyperlink located below the “Search” button. The interface allows advanced users to create complex queries in a natural way by selecting fields and then writing or selecting values to compare them against and separating them using logical operators. Advanced search also allows users to select the desired number of results displayed per result page and sort the results by one of the selected fields.
The user guide for advanced search, beta version, is available here.

Result view modes

There are two modes available for viewing search results: “Table View” and “Gallery View”. The first one is the default view mode when searching for identification tools and the second is the default for all other resource types.

Table View

Figure 3 is an example of how search results are shown in “Table View” mode. The first line contains information about the extra search conditions used. The second line contains:

  • Information about the number of results found and the current selection.
  • Options that allow the user to create a new search by clicking on “New Query” or revise the current search by clicking on “Revise Query”.
  • “Select Column” - The possibility to select what columns the user wants to view.
  • “Switch to: Gallery View” – option to switch to other view mode.
  • Navigation buttons for moving backward and forward through the results.

The last element is the actual data grid that contains the search results with two special columns:

  • “More” – contains a clickable button that will open a pop-up showing all metadata associated with the current result
  • “Access” – if the resource is available online, the option to “Visit Resource” will appear, otherwise the message “Resource if offline” will be displayed.

As seen in figure 5, together with the resource information there are two icons. The first one is specific for the resource type and the second one will only be visible if the resource contains a valid link. By clicking on this icon, the URL will be opened in a separate browser window.

Gallery View

This view mode is especially helpful when searching for multiple types of data, as recognition is made much easyer with the help of specific icons. In the case of online images, a thumbnail of the image will be displayed and in the case of offline images, a specific icon will be displayed. Together with the tiles, some basic information is available below and on the right side the user can access collection, provider and copyright information by clicking on the appropriate buttons. The information above the gallery is the same as the one in the Grid view mode. By clicking on any tile, the user will get all information related to the search result, and in the case of images, a large view of the image.

Technical Information

Supported parameters

The K2N metadata search engine, mediaIBIS, has the important feature that it may be called via URL by using parameters, in the following format:


where "parameter1", "parameter2", etc. could be:

  • lang - Sets the user interface language. Supported values currently are: en(default), de, ro, nl, es, bg, ee, it, si.
  • mode - Presets the application for Identification Tool search. Only value supported is "id-toolSearch"
  • idLang - Preselects the language search condition to desired language for searching Identification Tools. Parameter can be used only together with "mode" parameter. E.g. en, ro, de, etc.
  • onlineOnly - When set to "true", preselects the availability search condition to "Online (free)".
  • cc - When set to "true", preselects the availability search condition to "Online (Creative Commons)". Can be used together with "onlineOnly" parameter.

Also, the application may be called by using the IdentificationTool extention for media wiki in the following manner:

 align = left
 config = mode=parameter1=value1&parameter2=value2

The order in which the parameters are called is not relevant.

Finalisation of mediaIBIS (August 2010)

Thesaurus (exhaustive) search feature

This feature allows mediaIBIS to connect with the Catalogue of Life webservice and request a list of synonyms, accepted scientific names and common names for a user given organism. These results will be used to perform a more complex query against the KeyToNature repository and, in most cases, will yield more search results.

To use this feature, simply check the “Activate exhaustive organism search” option located below the text input box, write a single organism name and click “Search”.

Figure 8. mediaIBIS exhaustive search feature enabled

Information about the synonyms returned by the Catalogue of Life webservice and used by mediaIBIS to perform the query is displayed in the upper left area of the results page.

Figure 9. Synonyms returned by Catalogue of Life Webservice

In case there are no results returned by the Catalogue of Life webservice, mediaIBIS will prompt the user asking whether to perform the current search without using the exhaustive search feature. When selecting “Yes” at the prompt, mediaIBIS will perform a simple search using the initial keywords entered by the user.

The exhaustive feature cannot be used in Advanced Search mode!

Advanced search Field Groups

For easier use of the Advanced Search user interface, all available fields have been categorized into three groups: Primary Fields (Title, Resource Language, Description, Subject Category, Common Names, Scientific Names, Scientific Name Synonyms, General Keywords, World Region, License, Creators, Resource Type, Country Names, Parent Collection Title, Resource Provider Name), Additional Fields (Caption, Taxonomic Coverage, Taxon Count, ISO-Country Codes, Copyright, Published Source, Metadata Language, Metadata Creator, Metadata Manager, Exchange Formats, Host Application, ID Tool Structure, Interactivity, Offline Usability, Target Systems, Availability, Service Attribution URI, Copyright Owner, Creation Date, Creation Technique, Digitization Date, Extent, Exchange 1 URI, Exchange 1 Format, Exchange 2 URI, Exchange 2 Format, Exchange 3 URI, Exchange 3 Format, Identified By, License URL, Locality, Metadata Copyright Owner, Metadata Creato, Metadata Language, Metadata Manager, Setting, Subject Life Stage, Subject Sex) and Internal Fields (Resource Identifier, Internal Fedora Identifier, Is Member Of, Service Provided By, Fedora GSearch created-date, Fedora GSearch Label, Fedora GSearch last-modified-date, Fedora GSearch state, DC Identifier, ). Each group has a checkbox and depending on what the user selects, a dropdown list is populated with fields from those groups. The fields are sorted by alphabetic order.
For more information about fields, visit the metadata agreement page.

Grouping fields into field groups solves the problem of a very long drop down list and makes it easier for the user to select specific fields.

Figure 10. Advanced Search interface with field groups

New fields for advanced search

Two new fields are available in the advanced search interface under “Primary Fields” group.
They are “Parent Collection Title” and “Resource Provider Name”.

Search for resources in a collection:
The first one will enable users to search for resources by entering the name of the collection that holds them (e.g. by using “Dryades” all resources that are part of a collection that contains the keyword “Dryades” in its title will be displayed).

Search for resources of a provider:
The second works much the same as the first one except this will enable users to search for resources by entering a provider name (e.g. “ETI bioinformatics”).

From a technical point of view these types of searches are seamless multi-searches.
It is a multi-search because of the database structure and thus two independent searches have to be performed (the first is a search for collection or provider objects and the second is a search for resources by collection or provider ID) and it is seamless because the multi-search is done in the background.

The implementation of the above lead to the development of two new features:

  • the ability to search for provider and collection items and
  • a hyperlink in media details view to access all resources in a collection and all resources from a certain provider.

By clicking on these hyperlinks a new instance of mediaIBIS will be created and a search will automatically be performed after collection of provider. For this feature mediaIBIS uses a new parameter called “query” with which it can receive via URL a fedora style query.

Figure 11. Provider and Collection hyperlinks in media details view

Advanced search feedback

When using advanced search the pseudo query created in the advanced search menu is displayed in the upper left area of the results page. This way the user can always keep track of what has been search.

Figure 12. Advanced Search Feedback

Differential Fields for Table Result View

Because some data fields are important for identification tools and the same fields are not for other types of resources, the default fields displayed when using table result view is different regarding on what the user is searching for.

Figure 13. Advanced Search Feedback

Multlingual interface

mediaIBIS interfaces are available in English plus other 8 European Languages. More languages can be added by simply filling out a XLS translation file.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please add your question here. Questions you can answer yourself, but which took you some time to figure out are also very welcome!

How do I get only the results containing all the words in my full-text query?

Answer: you can put double quotation marks around your text: "Quercus ilex" will only return resources containing "Quercus" and "ilex" (rather than "Quercus" or "ilex"). However, even when searching without quotation marks, the results for "Quercus" and "ilex" will be listed first. In most cases, this will be sufficient. In some cases, this may even help finding the right resource by being less restrictive (e. g., if some of your query words appear only abbreviated).

What do I have to enter in the search box ("Enter your search string (e. g., Quercus); See also Help")?

Answer: You can try any or several terms that you think likely to be present in the title, description, keywords, etc. of the identification tool or media resource. In the case of identification tools, you can even leave this empty provided you have added additional search terms.



mediaIBIS software

The source code is open source and maintained at The latest version of mediaIBIS at the time of writing this documentation is: v1.210.