- Collections

April 21, 2016

This webpage provides an overview of the automotive collections made with the Greenstone Digital Library software.

These collections originally were exported to self-running (data) DVDs for distribution to car hobbyists, collectors and museums.  This Greenstone operation is described in a tutorial.  In May, 2012, many of these collections were made available on the Internet.

There are eleven separate "collections" in the Car Library.  On the initial page of the library, click on the logo/image to go to one of these collections.  A guide to using these collections is here.

1.  The Bristol Owners Club archive is a prototype collection made for the Bristol Heritage Trust by a conversion/import from their archive catalog list (on Excel files) into Greenstone.  The original Club's catalog list - and some newly acquired factory records - was more than 600 records.  Each record is now a "nul" file listing in Greenstone that can be used when the document, photograph or other data item is scanned and added.  A few items of actual digital data were added to demonstrate the software capabilities.  This webpage explains how the import was made.

2.  The Fabulous Fifties collection is more than 100 newsletters and special announcements from this "non-club" organization.  The documents are in PDF (text and image) format and can be searched in full-text by Greenstone.  All were classified with embedded metadata.

3.  The Petersen Automotive Museum collection includes links of few web pages from the museum's website ( and personal photos of four exhibits.  There are also "digital assets" in a group titled Digital Library. The digital assets include "Video Interviews for the Petersen Museum by Bill Pollack" which is an Excel file list of these interviews.  The Digital Library also includes a few early auto racing programs and a small sample of the "Bob Norton Scan Project", more fully described below. These are actual "digital assets" which should be in the Petersen's archive.

4.  The Greenstone demo is a collection which shows some features of the Greenstone Digital Library software.

5.  The "Frazer Nash Digital Library" is a good demonstration of basing a collection on an inventory or list of vehicles.  The collection is based on a complete list of the 425+ prewar (chain-drive), the postwar Frazer Nash cars and known "replicas" of the Le Mans Replica model.  This list of the cars and their details had many "nul" records, because the list was originally an Excel file imported into Greenstone.  However, all of the cars now have uniform "metadata" which makes the addition of other photos and documents related to each car more efficient and consistent.  A small number of the Frazer Nash cars also have  images and documents and documents attached, from personal files. Details about the Frazer Nash Digital Library are on a webpage/topic listed in the Table of Contents

New material is periodically added to this collection as accession/inventory numbers are linked to the physical items from Frazer Nash files and their corresponding digital files.  Many Frazer Nash books have been added to a "LibraryThing" database, which was first exported to an Excel/CSV file and imported ("exploded") to a Greenstone collection.

6.  The Southward Car Museum, probably the best southern hemisphere museum of cars and motorbikes, was added as a "prototype" collection on September 4, 2012 using nearly 150 photos and complete lists of all the museum's autos and motorcycles provided directly by Southward. The lists were imported into Greenstone, using the same process used for the Frazer Nash collection.  The photos were matched/tagged to the lists with the Greenstone "enrich" function, thus having a very complete "digital replica" of the actual vehicles at the museum.  This task may be completed as photos for the remaining vehicles are added.

7.  The "Digital Car Library Project" is a link to this Car Library website.  It shows that Greenstone can include both static (old) or "live" websites.  This one is live!

8.  The "Sports Car Library" is a larger sample of the '50s - '60s sports car and racing magazines scanned by Bob Norton: 64 items of 671 publications.

More than eight years ago, retired engineer Bob Norton (now deceased) embarked on a massive scanning project of early west coast racing newsletters and magazines.  Bob scanned these periodicals to the PDF "image" (only) format, which is not text-searchable.  However, it is feasible to convert these PDF images by OCR software to generate text.  One page of one copy of MotoRacing was processed using ABBY FineReader and it worked very well, with about 95% accuracy.

Bob created a complete 28 page index of the 9 volumes of "MotoRacing" (Index.pdf) which is in text and image format and searchable.  It is included in this Greenstone sample collection.

9.  "Automobile Driving Museum" is an inventory list of the cars in that Los Angeles museum in a "nul" record format - explained above in the "Frazer Nash Digital Library" section.  This museum has a good library of automotive books and periodicals which could be added to this collection by direct conversion of the Excel file inventory.  One recently acquired document was fully scanned as a PDF file and can be found by by searching in "text" for "Ferrari", "Maserati" or "Southward".

10. The "Mullin Automotive Museum" is a collection of personal photos visits to that museum in Oxnard, California. It includes 188 digital photos of the cars, placard descriptions and displays.  This trial archive was created using photo captions and "tags" (keywords) added to the digital photos in Google's Picasa photo editing program. The captions and tags were extracted by Greenstone as "embedded metadata" to classify and organize the images.

11.  "WOW/Classic Cars Museum" (Nelson, New Zealand) has about 150 personal photos taken on several visits. This archive includes photos and documents from "Project '64". The Victory Racing team, which supports and restores the cars of the Classic Car Museum, is the leader in this project which sent a 1964 Mini to the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2012 - the team set a class record.

Note: The Greenstone collections of have been hosted since May, 2012 on a ThinkPad T61 system located in Burbank, using (free!) Linux Ubuntu server software and (free!) Greenstone 2.85 for Linux on a 60 GB SSD (OCZ) disk drive.

Email me with any comments, corrections or questions:  Bob Schmitt,