This page is part 2 of a short, self-paced tour introducing VIVO for use in an interactive workshop or online.
What's different (and noteworthy) about VIVO?
Our tour example – openvivo.org
openvivo.org is a VIVO community tool to help connect users of VIVO based on geographic location, institutional type or affiliation, stage of implementing VIVO, or individual expertise. It's largely populated and updated by the community using a shared login, and provides a place for people new to VIVO to try out the software while learning about the larger VIVO community.
VIVO's not just another profiling system and not just people
VIVO is not just people profiles. Try a search for ontology in our tour example and you'll see results about people, events, organizations, installations, and research. Each distinct type of entity represented in VIVO has its own attributes and relationships to others of itself or of other types, sometimes directly or sometimes through intermediate connections indicating roles or a time frame for the relationship. VIVO has to be able to change as people take on new projects, are promoted, or move to a different department or institution.
Making connections explicit
On most websites, the only way to find related items is to search for them and hope they share common terminology. That works in VIVO too, as in searching for Pennsylvania, but notice on the right, there are "facets" – the search results have been organized into collections based on the kinds of things being returned – people, locations, research, organizations.
Many users arrive at websites not by typing the URL but from a search engine that delivers them to any arbitrary page in the website having the keyword or content they searched. VIVO provides explicit connections to related items to help users understand context and minimize their need to immediately conduct another search.
Links in VIVO are automatically bidirectional unless you configure them not to be. These relationships form networks of connections that ultimately enable remarkable visualizations (click on the image to see the live version).
Because VIVO models data in a very granular way, it can be combined and reused more easily than web pages composed only of unstructured text and HTML markup.
A publication in VIVO is modeled not as one entity but as several – the article or book itself, a journal or publisher, each author, and additional objects representing the date of publication, editors or translators, and author order. Publications modeled individually rather than just embedded as text citations on a person's web page can be linked to each co-author and assembled into reports by journal, topic, academic department, research grant or facility, or time period.
VIVO stores data as RDF expressed in terms of vocabularies called ontologies, and provides persistent URIs for data to allow information to be reliably and directly linked, as described further in part 5: VIVO as data.
next: starting a VIVO project