If you are doing research in the humanities or social sciences, or if you have a significant collection of data or images, you need a digital database. I can build it.
My name is Amir Simantov. I empower researchers with the web tools they most need to make an impact on their careers. Together we build digital collections and benefit from crowdsourcing research. I have 15 years of computer programming experience, developing software and building databases. I have also developed and delivered programming courses.
Please feel free to contact me.
One of the many assets that Amir brings to the table is his unique ability to imagine the unknown capacities and trajectories of a nascent project. As a result of my many deliberations with him, I learned a great deal about what it was I wanted to achieve in the first place, and what all more the database can do for me. Amir's intellectual curiosity, his selfless dedication, his uncompromising eye for details, his rigorous documentation, and his ability to think ahead allowed him to become the conscience of the project, often veering me and my team in the right direction and saving us from betraying our own goals and principles. I cannot imagine the PANDiT project without him.
Prof. Yigal Bronner, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
What You Gain
Whether you are currently doing research, have a large collection of findings or a vast catalog, you will probably benefit by having a representation of the data online. This will allow you to manage it easily, to preserve it, and to share it with your colleagues or the larger academic community. Today’s technology enables us to use the Internet for gathering data and checking facts, so we learn much more than we used to and faster. Putting your material online will enable approved users to contribute their data to your research. They might also revise and comment on existing data, helping you to point out issues and possibly even correct errors. This type of collaboration is known as crowdsourcing, and it is making inroads in both the social sciences and in the arts and humanities. More and more researchers in a variety of fields have already discovered this powerful process. Your online database can become a center of digital knowledge in your field of expertise.
We build an online database by following a properly administered process that involves both the data curators and the technical team. By joining hands we ensure that the technology is skillfully used to address the specific requirements of your collection. You are always involved and informed during the process. The process is flexible to your needs, and we will be happy to cater your needs within the confines of the standing procedures. Listed below are the stages we usually follow in the process of turning your data into a “live” digital database.
- 1. First Discussion
- 2. Specifying Structure
- 3. Specifying Behavior
- 4. Specifying Presentation
- 5. Building
- 6. Testing
- 7. Migrating
- 8. Going live
- 9. Support
- 10. Evolving
We repeat the stages above whenever there is a need to develop and enrich your digital collection database further.
Amir had a far-sighted vision for our project and meticulously planned out every stage of development. He was accessible and on-task, and he regularly discussed everything with us, down to minor details. We are now thanking him for his insistence on separating structure, content, and presentation, and for his patient explanations: we found that Amir designed a database that made it easy to work with complex relations, and it was robust and flexible enough to accommodate even unexpected sources of data.
Dr. Andrew Ollett, Columbia University
The fields of research below are, of course, just examples, and a database with the correct data types can be made for your specific data. Both examples involved importing thousands of data records from older databases while keeping the relationships among the content types intact.
The first example is the Jewish Galicia project – a genealogy and cultural heritage research project. The new database contains no fewer than ten content types with various relationships among them – people, communities, organizations, buildings, tombstones, and more. The project was done in collaboration with the University of Haifa.
Another example is the Pandit project, that gathers online academic knowledge about Indic literature. This new database includes six main content types with dozens of relationships among them, holding more than 100 properties and 50K+ entities. The project is being done in collaboration with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
We use a modern content management system called Drupal, which is preferred by many universities and nonprofit organizations worldwide. It is the leading content management system for complex websites and databases. Some organizations using this system are Stanford Law, Harvard, Oxford, MIT, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the British Council, Amnesty International, and the White House. Drupal supplies an easy and consistent interface for manipulating the stored data. This modern system itself is the fruit of ongoing crowdsourcing work of many thousands of users, and it is constantly improving and evolving. This open source system insures that you are always independently able to choose your service provider.
There is no obligation on your part, and after I gain an understanding of your goals, I can give you a brief overview of how your digital database can be done. Please contact me now and tell me about your project so we can schedule our first phone or Skype meeting at a time that suits you best.
Of course, I would appreciate if you share information about my services with your colleagues, referring them to TopDownUp.com. Thank you!