The Virtual Infrastructure with Database as a Service (VIDaaS) is building an web-based database management system with which researchers can build, edit, search, and share relational or XML databases online. Users may either build a database from scratch using a simple drag-and-drop interface, or import an existing database in .csv or Microsoft Access format (or by adding xml documents). Once a database has been created, it may be shared with other researchers, both within and outside Oxford, or even opened up to the general public. The system provides its own simple interfaces to the data, although the underlying database may also be manipulated through Access or a custom-built website. Database are hosted on Oxford's cloud infrastructure, keeping costs down whilst ensuring regular back-up and secure storage.
The Project is intended to help researchers address the data management concerns of the University and research funding bodies. It will ensure that research datababases are maintained and made accessible until such time as they should be disposed of or deposited into a longer-term data archive.
The VIDaaS Project is due to finish at the end of March 2012, at which point the database-as-a-service software it has developed will be launched as part of a service - the Online Research Database Service (ORDS) - provided centrally to the University by OUCS.
Although ORDS is intended to serve all research disciplines, the project has worked closely with staff in the Humanities Division from its inception and the service should serve the needs of humanities scholars particularly well. This VIDaaS Project builds upon work undertaken in the Sudamih Project (Supporting Data Management Infrastructure for the Humanities).