University of Oldenburg Case Study

University of Oldenburg RION project

University of Oldenburg selects Altova tools to build a customized XML content management system.

The University of Oldenburg is one of the young German universities, established in 1973 as part of Germany's university system reform and expansion efforts. Throughout its 31-year history, it has maintained its openness and readiness to take on new challenges. With over 11,000 students and nearly 1,800 faculty and staff members, it is an accessible, well-equipped university with remarkable architecture concentrated in two campuses located in Haarentor and Wechloy. Today, the university gives the developing northwest region of Germany a substantial economic and cultural boost. The university currently offers 40 different courses. 75 percent of students seek a Diplom, Magister, Bachelors or Masters degree, while 25 percent strive for a teaching certification. The University of Oldenburg is also a center for research: approximately 800 academics of various disciplines work at the University of Oldenburg doing research in fields like computer science, psychoacoustics and neurosenses, marine biology, and chemical process development. The Institute of Law is part of the Faculty of Informatics, Business and Law and has around 30 employees. It is the project owner of the XML Content Management System.

Overview

RION (www.ri-on.de) is a project in juridical informatics that was created by the University of Oldenburg together with seven other German universities and is supported by the German Ministry for Research and Education. The purpose of the RION project is to use multimedia materials for education and to integrate this material into the curricula of law, business and informatics studies. One part of the project, that is led by the Institute of Law of the University of Oldenburg, is the creation of a database in which students and members of the university can search for law decisions.

The Challenge

One of the biggest challenges encountered during the RION project was determining the structure for the documents in the database. The University of Oldenburg receives a large number of documents from different authors, and each author has a different way of writing. To build a useable collection of legal texts, it was important to determine a structure that would fit all documents. Additionally, the university needed to devise a practical method for converting existing texts and authoring new texts in the new structure.

The Solution

The University of Oldenburg chose Altova XMLSpy, the industry standard tool for developing XML applications, Altova Authentic, a free XML content editor, and Altova StyleVision, a graphical stylesheet designer, to implement project RION. In the beginning, the RION team worked with word processor documents, but quickly realized that the project was growing too complex for such a solution. The team decided to harness the power of XML to create an efficient content management system and turned to Altova, the most trusted provider of XML tools. XML is widely used for content management systems because it simplifies data exchange and enables users to transform data easily into different output formats including HTML, Word and PDF documents. The RION team creates and edits XML Schemas using Altova XMLSpy to define the rules for the documents, StyleVision to design their layout, and Authentic for data entry through its non-technical interface. The conversion of the law decisions from existing documents into XML format is done by student workers, so the university needed a tool that could be used without a lot of training in XML technology.

"What we like about Altova products is that they are visual. Authentic is quite intuitive and easy to learn. We also work a lot with the schema in XMLSpy; it provides an easily understandable way to define document content. Additionally, StyleVision enables us to graphically design an appealing lay-out for our documents," said Roman Mülchen from the Institute of Law.

The Results

At the time of this writing, student workers at the university have converted over 250 documents. In the future all the documents will be put into a juridical informatics database, which will serve as a major resource for students and teachers. The RION team is also planning to use the Authentic Browser Edition for Web-based XML content editing, which will allow users to log in from wherever they want to continue working on their texts.

Conclusion

Altova tools allowed the RION team at the University of Oldenburg to build an efficient, easy-to-use and innovative content management system. Using XML technology will guarantee the usability of this system for years and contribute to the state-of-the-art training of thousands of students as well as to the work of their teachers.

Find out how you can use Altova MissionKit to create an XML Content Management System.