Definition and Purpose of a Profile
A CollectiveAccess installation profile is an XML document that tells the software how to set up various aspects of Providence at the time of its installation. The profile enables you to configure nearly every aspect of the various cataloging interfaces in CollectiveAccess before you begin using the system. After installation, you can easily make additional changes using the tools in the “Manage” menu, but it’s usually more efficient to set up your installation in such a way that it meets your requirements from the start. Installation profiles:
- Generate and define controlled vocabularies
- Create standards-compliant set-ups
- Define and label metadata fields, including the allowable kinds of values for each (e.g. a numerical versus a time-based metadata value)
- Bundle the fields together for easy metadata entry
- Specify the method of metadata entry (e.g. a text entry field or a drop-down menu)
- Combine metadata elements on different screens for workflow management
- Delineate and describe the relationships between all of the various types of objects, entities, occurrences, lots, sets, etc. in your system
- Set the logins for different user types
- Establish what screens appear according to what you’re cataloging, and
- Configure the display of search results and data exports.
The out-of-the-box version of CollectiveAccess comes with several profiles already included, among them those which support several metadata standards. But most CollectiveAccess users generate a custom installation profile using a pre-existing one as a model. The CollectiveAccess website features many custom installation profiles in the Configuration Library, which you can use as is, or modify to meet your needs.
Installation profiles “live” in the install/profiles/xml folder located in the directory where you loaded the software on your computer or server. When you first log in after installing CollectiveAccess, you’ll be asked to select one of the saved installation profiles in the “XML” folder, which will then be used to complete the installation process. In Providence 1.3, several pre-defined profiles are available, most of which are based on standards ranging from PBCore to CDWA Lite.
Creating a Profile
Profiles are written using the an xml-based syntax.
Installation profiles are often long and complex text documents. It's easy to make mistakes that cause the installation process to fail or deviate from requirements. You can make errors much less likely by validating your profile against the profile syntax XML schema. The schema is located in install/profiles/xml/profile.xsd'. Simply copy the schema to the same directory as the profile you are editing and use a validating XML editor such as OxygenXML. The editor will highlight mistakes as you type and point you to the location of the errors.
The CollectiveAccess installer will validate your profile against the schema before proceeding with installation, so if a profile doesn't validate during editing it won't be accepted by the installer. The bottom line: always make sure your profile validates!
Changing the installation profile of an existing system
An oft-asked question is "I installed my system using installation profile X. How can I now change it to Y?" The answer is you can't. Installation profiles are simply collections of rules (or templates, if you prefer) for the installer to follow when setting up a new system. Once the installation process is complete the profile ceases to play a role. You can continue to modify the configuration of your system using the web-based configuration tools, creating an installation different from the profile that originally created it. If you really need to change an existing system to conform to a new profile you have two choices: (1) modify the existing system by hand using the web-based configuration tools to match or (2) reinstall from scratch with the desired profile. In the latter case you will lose all existing data, of course.