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About this manual

This manual explains how Greenstone works. It is aimed at those who wish to customise collections and to develop and maintain the software.

Section understanding_the_collection-building_process gives an insider's account of the collection-building process, including the directory structure, the internal document format, and the configuration file that governs the structure of each collection. Section getting_the_most_out_of_your_documents describes the parts of Greenstone that process source documents (and metadata) and dictate how the information is accessed through the user interface. It also describes “external” software components that are distributed with Greenstone. Section the_greenstone_runtime_system explains the structure of the Greenstone runtime system, and also gives details of the software that help to understand how it works and how to modify the system to suit different needs. Section configuring_your_greenstone_site describes the Greenstone configuration files, and an Appendix introduces the C++ Standard Template Library.

When working with the Greenstone software, you may encounter references to features that are not described in this manual, for Greenstone is under constant development. To learn about current work, join the Greenstone mailing list (instructions at

Companion documents

The complete set of Greenstone documents includes five volumes:

  • Greenstone Digital Library Installer's Guide
  • Greenstone Digital Library User's Guide
  • Greenstone Digital Library Developer's Guide (this document)
  • Greenstone Digital Library: From Paper to Collection
  • Greenstone Digital Library: Using the Organizer

Copyright © 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License.”


The Greenstone software is a collaborative effort between manypeople. Rodger McNab and Stefan Boddie are the principal architects andimplementors. Contributions have been made by David Bainbridge, GeorgeBuchanan, Hong Chen, Michael Dewsnip, Katherine Don, Elke Duncker, Carl Gutwin, Geoff Holmes, Dana McKay, JohnMcPherson, Craig Nevill-Manning, Dynal Patel, Gordon Paynter, Bernhard Pfahringer, ToddReed, Bill Rogers, John Thompson, and Stuart Yeates. Other members of the New ZealandDigital Library project provided advice and inspiration in the design ofthe system: Mark Apperley, Sally Jo Cunningham, Matt Jones, Steve Jones, Te TakaKeegan, Michel Loots, Malika Mahoui, Gary Marsden, Dave Nichols and Lloyd Smith. We would also like toacknowledge all those who have contributed to the GNU-licensed packagesincluded in this distribution: MG, GDBM, PDFTOHTML, PERL, WGET, WVWARE and XLHTML.

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