In the beginning we made an evaluation of relevant software systems and widely used wiki and content management systems like Mediawiki, Typo3 or Plone. One of the major requirements in the evaluation was an active and working open source developer community. Publishing the WissKI software as an open source project embedded in an active developer community will provide continuation of this development after the project itself has finished. The long experience gathered by the Wikipedia project shows that the way the users deal with the given software framework and get used to create content provides important input for further developments of the software. Thus, the WissKI project partners promote not only the software to a software developer community, but also the features and possibilities of the system to the content experts from different fields of research in memory institutions and beyond.
In the end of the evaluation we decided to choose the open source content management system Drupal for several reasons: Drupal is an enterprise size content management system which has a large on-line community and extensive documentation. It comes with a wide range of functionalities for on-line communication and community building, offers a fine grained access control and supports multiple languages both in front- and back-end. Furthermore, it has good capabilities to deal with multimedia files, especially images. One very important aspect was that it can be configured to behave like a wiki with revision management and unique page titles, easy linking etc. But the main argument to use Drupal as a base for WissKI was its extensibility with modules. Every single aspect of the system can be controlled and modified by modules without touching the core system. In this way, the WissKI system can reside on top of Drupal, use all its functionalities and still benefit from patches and bug-fixes provided by the developers.
Drupal requires a very common software combination (LAMP) available for Windows and Linux consisting of a web server (Apache), PHP and MySQL. In addition to the core system, WissKI depends on several Drupal modules. The WissKI system itself is implemented as a set of modules which can be installed and uninstalled at run-time via the standard administration interface of Drupal. WissKI comes with strong support for remote triple stores based on SPARQL 1.0 and SPARQL 1.1 as communication protocol, like SESAME. Also CSV and SPARQL 1.2 stores will be supported.