• NetworkedPlanet's topic maps-based platform to link together over 100,000 individual documents.
  • 'RAMline' project to provide knowledge portal on any artist or work in musical history, from Beethoven and The Beatles to the sounds of tomorrow.

NetworkedPlanet, a leading vendor of information management tools and products, has announced an order for its TMCore information management solution from the Royal Academy of Music to power its new online multi-dimensional music index - the RAMline. The platform will provide an intelligent navigation system for what has the potential to become the largest and most comprehensive online music resource on the internet, linking profiles, discographies, performances and musical compositions of any artist or genre. The TMCore topic map engine will make it easy for users - initially academics and Academy students and in the future, music enthusiasts worldwide - to locate and browse over 100,000 individual in-house and external resources, such as sound clips, images, websites, and details of live performances.

Among the in-house resources that will be drawn together to form the site will be the Academy’s existing music libraries, collections, and teaching materials, as well as new content created by its students as part of their research assignments. External resources such as online dictionaries and record company databases will also be integrated into the system. As each new resource is added, the system attaches topic, theme and relationship metadata to each one, enabling it to be categorised as part of a larger grid of files - all connected semantically.

Antony Pitts, Senior Lecturer in Creative Technology at the Royal Academy of Music, commented: “The RAMline project is hugely ambitious - it aims to bring together all of the Academy’s internal and external resources, and will offer a completely new way of looking at music history. It has the potential to become the largest and most comprehensive online music resource on the internet, which will serve as a learning and research tool for our students and, in the future, a knowledge portal for the public. Using topic maps allows us to create, locate and access each resource rapidly and easily.”

“The scale and nature of this project are ideal to demonstrate fully the benefits of topic maps,” added Kal Ahmed, Founder of NetworkedPlanet. “As the index grows, navigation becomes more and more problematic, especially considering much of the content is stored in different locations. Adding topic maps to each resource - either when it is created or when its details are imported into the system - allows extra metadata properties to be attached to it, such as genre, date or city. A detailed ‘map’ can then be created between this metadata, allowing rapid navigation according to keywords, relationships and themes.”

The user interface to the index will have an innovative design, with each musician, composer and work given a dynamically-generated timeline - allowing deep and powerful navigation. The TMCore server will store and manage ‘topic maps’ of the entire content of the RAMline. Each topic contains metadata which holds information about the file, links to related documents and links to other topics, creating a map of knowledge. This map can be browsed or searched by end-users to find information resources via key concepts. The result is a detailed index of the information resources across a number of systems via a single unified information portal.

About The RAMline

In 2006, the Academy began building a unique index of digitised archives and online resources, together with a specialised tool that allows this index to be browsed and searched intuitively by students, staff and visitors. As well as an ever-expanding catalogue of musicians and of musical works, the RAMline links to manuscript sources and published editions, live performances and recordings, musical criticism and comment. The RAMline simultaneously displays a timeline of musical history and the life-cycle of any piece of music, from antiquity to the present, and will be used to chart each student’s musical profile at the Academy and beyond. The RAMline is the focus of a Teaching and Research Award from the University of London’s Centre for Distance Education.

About the Royal Academy of Music

The Royal Academy of Music is Britain’s senior conservatoire, and since 1822 has prepared students for successful careers in music according to the constantly evolving demands of the profession. Academy musicians study for University of London degrees in varied programmes including instrumental performance, composition, jazz, musical theatre and opera. The Academy’s student community is truly international, with over 50 countries represented. The Academy has recently invested substantially in creative technology and collaborates closely with the Media Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT.

For more information, please visit www.ram.ac.uk