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Content Organization Model

GeoBlacklight organizes records with a network model rather than with a hierarchical model. It is a flat system whereby every database entry is a "Layer" and uses the same metadata fields. Unlike many digital library applications, it does not have different types of records for entities such as "communities," "collections," or "groups." As a result, it does not present a breadcrumb navigation structure, and all records appear in the same catalog directory with the URL of

Instead of a hierarchy, GeoBlacklight relates records via metadata fields. These fields include Member Of, Is Part Of, Is Version Of, Source, and a general Relation. This flexibility allows records to be presented in several different ways. For example, records can have multiple parent/child/grandchild/sibling relationships. In addition, they can be nested (i.e., a collection can belong to another collection). They can also connect data layers about similar topics or represent different years in a series.

The following diagram illustrates how the BTAA Geoportal organizes records. The connecting arrow lines indicate the name of the relationship. The labels reflect each record's Resource Class (Collections, Websites, Datasets, Maps, Web services).