The California Digital Library (CDL) is pleased to announce the release of version 3.1 of XTF (http://xtf.cdlib.org/), an open source, highly flexible software application that supports the search, browse and display of heterogeneous digital content.  XTF provides efficient and practical methods for creating customized end-user interfaces for distinct digital content collections and is used by institutions worldwide. 

Major features in the 3.1 release include:

  • Improved schema handling for EAD finding aids.  In addition to EAD 2002 DTD,  XTF now provides support for search and display of:
    • EAD 2002 schema and EAD 2002 RelaxNG finding aids
    • Output from Archivists’ Toolkit and Archon
  • Better OAI 2.0 conformance
  • Dynamic site maps to support optimal search engine indexing

See the 3.1 change log (http://xtf.cdlib.org/documentation/changelog/#3.1) for further details.

XTF is a combination of Java and XSLT 2.0 that indexes, queries, and displays digital objects and is based on open source software (e.g. Lucene and Saxon).  XTF can be downloaded from the XTF website (http://xtf.cdlib.org/download/) or from the XTF Project page on SourceForge (http://sourceforge.net/projects/xtf/), where the source code can also be found. 

The XTF website also provides a self-guided tutorial and a sample of the default installation (http://xtf.cdlib.org:8080/xtf/search), demonstrating the capabilities of the tool out-of-the-box. Both of these resources provide a quick view of the capabilities of XTF prior to download.

Offering a suite of customizable features that support diverse intellectual access to content, XTF interfaces can be designed to support the distinct tools and presentations that are useful and meaningful to specific audiences.  In addition, XTF offers the following core features:

  • Easy to deploy: Drops directly in to a Java application server such as Tomcat or Resin; has been tested on Solaris, Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems.
  • Easy to configure: Can create indexes on any XML element or attribute; entire presentation layer is customizable via XSLT.
  • Robust: Optimized to perform well on large documents (e.g., a single text that exceeds 10MB of encoded text); scales to perform well on collections of millions of documents; provides full Unicode support.
  • Extensible:
    • Works well with a variety of authentication systems (e.g., IP address lists, LDAP, Shibboleth).
    • Provides an interface for external data lookups to support thesaurus-based term expansion, recommender systems, etc.
    • Can power other digital library services (e.g., XTF contains an OAI-PMH data provider that allows others to harvest metadata, and an SRU interface that exposes searches to federated search engines).
    • Can be deployed as separate, modular pieces of a third-party system (e.g., the module that displays snippets of matching text).
  • Powerful for the enduser:
    • Spell checking of queries
    • Faceted displays for browsing
    • Dynamically updated browse lists
    • Session-based bookbags

These basic features can be tuned and modified.  For instance, the same bookbag feature that allows users to store links to entire books can also store links to citable elements of an object, such as a note or other reference.

Examples of XTF-based applications both within and outside of the CDL include: