OCCAMS - Online Cultural Collections Analysis and Management System

OCCAMS is web-based database tool that aims to address the data management needs of researchers integrating visual and non-visual data. It aims to allow researchers to work on collections collaboratively in a closed environment and then either publish the data or export the data to an archive.

Academics working with visual data that could benefit from this project include anthropologists,  historians, artists, biographers, archaeologists, environmental scientists and human geographers. They may be generating data themselves or collating data from collections with varying protocols of use and diverse metadata schemas.

It is a collaborative research tool for people working with and creating cultural collections. It is an online database that allows people to organise, annotate and link data in standard formats, either for depositing in an archive or publishing on the web. The tool’s unique strengths include: the ability to read and write embedded metadata from media files, batch upload and edit files, import bibliographic records, geo-spatial mapping, controlled vocabularies, and flexible metadata schemas mapped to existing standards. It is built on an open source framework, modular in design and utilises existing open source components where possible.

The system was initially proposed to fulfil the need of researchers at the Australian National University working with cultural collections involving large numbers of digital media files. Researchers needed a collaborative tool that was not simply a Digital Asset Management System, but also a research tool with restricted access levels, flexible views and the ability to link and annotate data.  OCCAMS, now in its third year of development, is starting to be used by a number of national research projects as their core data management solution. It is also attracting a large amount of interest from the research community. Ongoing dialogue with researchers has been key to OCCAMS’ development, and an important outcome of this process is the integration of staged forms of data publication. Important for work with sensitive and restricted data, especially relating to Indigenous communities, staged publication also responds to a research environment that requires both collaboration and control over access.


Data management journey poster (PDF 2.2MB)

Screenshot of OCCAMS workspace:



  • batch import and support for standard image, video, audio and document formats
  • importing of embedded image metadata, including IPTC
  • item, object and collection level structure
  • search and browsing capabilities
  • user and access rights management
  • default metadata templates, including compatibility with Dublin Core, IPTC and FOAF
  • cutomisable metadata fields
  • ability to create controlled vocabulary lists
  • item and object linking
  • ability to create, edit and view tags/keywords
  • integration of GPS data and Google maps
  • image, PDF and video annotation
  • workflows for working offline in field
  • sorting capabilities
  • innovative ways of adjusting screen layout to allow for viewing of media/metadata according to research needs
  • API for integration with other systems
  • Instant web publishing
  • and more..

Please contact us if you are interested to know more.


Project Updates:


Production version 1 is released.



2014 version of OCCAMS User Guide is ready:

User Guide: http://dhhdev.anu.edu.au/docs/occams/user_guide_2014/

Older versoins of User Guide and Video Tutorials:

User Guide: http://dhhdev.anu.edu.au/docs/occams/user_guide_v1/

Video Tutorials: http://dhhdev.anu.edu.au/docs/occams/video_demo_v1/

Old Video Demonstrations: http://crio2.anu.edu.au/videodemo/occams/

Technical Documents:

OCCAMS is developed based on two open source libraries: Yii Framework and AjaXplorer. See their developer documents:



OCCAMS API: http://dhhdev.anu.edu.au/docs/occams/api/

Design Diagrams: Component Diagram, Data Model Diagram 1, Data Model Diagram 2


Please contact us to request access.

Updated:  15 November 2017/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications