Goobi and the Wellcome Library

As part of our research, Lloyd’s Register have been visiting other heritage institutions for advice, to hear about their projects and to understand why they chose their suppliers. One of the most forthcoming has been the digitisation team at the Wellcome Trust. We really cannot thank the team enough for their advice and interest in our project. We have had several meetings and email communications with them to aid our understanding and they have been incredibly helpful at every turn.

Recently, we met with them to have a chat about Goobi, a workflow system that is central to the Wellcome Trust’s digitisation project (See here). Workflow systems are used to automate steps within projects, which makes it progress faster and smoother than if this was completed manually. In particular this is relevant for actions like converting files to other formats, using checksums to ensure data is not corrupt and ingesting images into Digital Asset Management Systems (DAMs). The staff spent half the day showing how to use Goobi and what it could do, as well as answering our numerous questions on the subject.


Goobi is a workflow-based management system that allows users to check and manage sets of workflows for current projects. It is an opensource solution that can have a paid component, which has many advantages. Opensource solutions are not reliant on one company and team of developers to ensure that it is updated, improved and continues to run. Instead, they are developed by the community for the community to address the needs and issues in the sector. The company behind the solution are still very involved in its development, and they can be asked to create certain things for Goobi that a particular institution may require. This means that this opensource solution can quickly be moulded to fit individual institution’s needs.

The Heritage and Education Centre was very impressed by the program and its possible uses within our project. There are not yet many users in the UK but this will no doubt grow as its reputation increases. Goobi has several independent modules, Goobi Presentation and Goobi Production. Production is what the Wellcome Library use, as they have their own opensource viewer for digital libraries that they use on their website. You can use it here.


The interface of Goobi Production is easy to understand and navigate, even for those of us who are not computer whizzes! It also allows METS editing and varying security levels to safeguard data. Goobi can additionally stop processes when asked, for example if maintenance needs to be carried out, as well as rewinding processes to add in files that were initially missed, such as a missing page. We also talked about many other aspects of the project, such as risk assessment, workflows, image quality and format and safeguarding against corruption and viruses.


 (It does come in English but all of the demo shots seem to be in German! Ich hoffe Ihr Deutsch ist gut!)

We were at first slightly terrified at the scale and effectiveness of the Wellcome Library’s digitisation projects, but as they rightly pointed out, their operation is much more extensive and had longer to develop than our own. Their project has changed significantly since its beginning and no doubt so will ours. The research we have completed since October 2014 has given us an idea of how the project will run, as well as allowing us to think about the desired outcomes, standards to be followed, designated communities, workflows, suppliers and timings. However, we will never know for sure until we start.

Do you have any advice or comments? Please let us know, we would love to hear from you!

For more information on Goobi and its implementation in the Wellcome Library’s digitisation program, see here.