Frequently asked questions

Click on the question, to read the answer. Use your browser’s search functionality to find relevant answers in this FAQ. Click here for the Research Catalogue tutorial.

1. General Information

1.1. What is the Research Catalogue?

  • The Research Catalogue application is an open source, online, collaborative workspace for the archiving, designing and publishing of artistic research.
  • For more information see:

1.2. Who has developed and who owns the RC?

  • The RC was developed as part of the Artistic Research Catalogue (ARC) project.
  • This particular instance of the Research Catalogue software is owned and maintained by Society for Artistic Research (SAR).
  • The RC software is open source.

1.3. Where can I find the source code of this project?

  • See here for more information.

1.4. Does a RC user need to be member of the Society for Artistic Research (SAR)?

  • No.

1.5. Where is the Research Catalogue and its backups hosted?

  • The Research Catalogue is hosted at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

1.6. How is the RC protected against internet attacks?

  • Data security is of upmost importance to SAR, which uses only tried and tested software for its Research Catalogue.
  • The Research Catalogue is installed on a Linux-based server that is continuously updated to protect against known problems.
  • A firewall protects against external attacks.
  • The firewall is enhanced by an intrusion detection system (IDS), which monitors system processes and analysis data streams.
  • The availability of the Research Catalogue is automatically monitored to reduce down times.

1.7. How can future availability and sustainability of the Research Catalogue be assured?

  • The Research Catalogue is provided, maintained and further developed by the Society for Artistic Research (SAR), represented by its Executive Board.
  • SAR's activities are based on a broad financial support from mostly academic institutions in the field of art education internationally. The membership fees of these member institutions assure the future availability and sustainability of the Research Catalogue.

1.8. Is the Research Catalogue Open Access (and listed in the respective directories)?

  • Yes, although the question is open to interpretation. As far as SAR is concerned, the RC is Open Access since content can be accessed free of charge without subscription cost etc. However, some Open Access directories (such as DOAJ) follow the Budapest OA Initiative, which states that apart from being freely accessible assets in an Open Access publication also need to be re-distributable. SAR does not permit this (see RC Terms of Use) due to copyright issues. The journals operating within Research Catalogue (e.g. JAR) may have set their Open Access policy differently and can be part of the DOAJ.

1.10. What is the relationship between the RC and the Journal for Artistic Research (JAR)?

  • Submissions to JAR need to be made using the RC.
  • When an exposition, developed in the RC, is ready to be published, you can submit the exposition for review to JAR.
  • You can also choose to self-publish your research straight away in the RC rather than submitting it to JAR for review.
  • Note: once an exposition is published (within or outside of JAR), it cannot be further worked upon or edited.

1.11. What is a research exposition?

  • The notion of ‘exposition’ is part of the conceptual framework of JAR. For a critical discussion, refer to the Editorial of the inaugural issue 0.
  • Expositions are comparable to what 'articles' are in other journal contexts.
  • In JAR, an exposition is meant to expose practice as research. This means that a simple documentation of works may be insufficient.
  • Placing multi-media data on a RC page allows the creation of visual or textual interconnections through which research can be exposed.
  • Data held in the media repository can be re-used within expositions; data held in the private repository ('simple media') can only be used in the context of the exposition for which this data has been uploaded.
  • However, you may disregard notions of ‘exposition’ if you choose not to submit to JAR.


2. Adding Research

2.1. How can I use the Research Catalogue (RC) to publish my research?

  • You will have to register for an account with the RC, for which you will need to fill in. You will need to enclose a proof of identity with this letter (photocopy of identity card, passport or driving license). Before you can use your account, you will have to confirm to have read and agreed to the terms of use by means of a checkbox.
  • Upon receipt and after you identity has been confirmed your RC account will be created, and you will receive notification about this.
  • An RC administrator working in your institution (such as a university) may be contacted to speed up the process. The contact person address may be found from the Institutional Portals pages. No university affiliation is needed for the account.
  • You can now log on and use the RC.

2.2. Why does the RC require such a complex registration process?

  • We need proof of identity to deliver the best possible protection against copyright infringements that may happen if the RC allowed anonymous uploads.

2.3. How should point 6 of the Terms of Use be understood?

  • Point 6 needs to be read in conjunction with point 1, where 'own material' is defined as data that is (1) uploaded to RC and (2) where you own the rights. Anything outside of the RC, such as the original artwork, is not affected and completely remains under your control.
  • Regarding income, we actually don't expect there to be any, since reuse of your material is not permitted outside of the RC domain, so we couldn't sell it on or even use it for advertising etc without a separate agreement. Our lawyers recommended to add this point since in their thinking, there may be a moment in the future where somebody may have a claim that we cannot anticipate right now.

2.4. I have an RC account but I am not allowed to add research. What should I do?

  • If you want to add research to the Research Catalogue, you will need to upgrade your account If you are affiliated to one of the portal partners, you can ask your local admin to upgrade you. If you are an independant artist/researcher, you do it by clicking "upgrade" button which will ask you to send in a proof of identity. After upgrading you will be asked to agree to the terms of use online.
  • If you had an account created for you only for review or supervision use, you will have limited read permissions but not write permissions on the Research Catalogue. If you want to create content yourself, please upgrade the account.

2.5. What media are supported?

  • html text
  • pdf documents
  • jpeg, png, psd, tga, tiff, gif, bmp image file type
  • ogg, wav, mov, au, mp4 audio container formats; mp2, mp3, aac, pcm a-law, flac audio codec formats
  • avi, mov, mp4, mpg video container formats; dv1394, h.264, mpeg2, mpeg1, mjepeg video codec formats
  • Note: Files are transcoded during upload, minor loss of quality may be experienced. Image, audio and video files are transcoded during ingest to allow for a sustainable hosting and usage of the files. Original files are kept for reference; SAR will re-transcode files should technical developments require new file formats or codecs.
  • Correct RC output formats do not imply that users can actually interact with all data. Browser environments are highly specific, plug-ins may not always work with older (or newer) file versions. SAR offers three levels of support to deal with this common problem:
    • The RC User Support will be able to advice users on a case by case basis;
    • Known issues with temporary incompatibilities will be flagged up whenever possible where the data is or should be displayed;
    • SAR will continue to develop the RC and potentially re-format or transcode existing files to secure access to the data.
  • Markdown in the text-based editor, which also allows importing from various text editors like Word, Office, Google Docs etc.
  • HTML import: there is an option to import a whole static website as a zip file of HTML. Javascript is not supported for security reasons.

2.6. How are media files transcoded?

  • The RC is using the external media transcoding service zencoder. The RC developing team evaluated the transcoding settings very carefully. Here are the most important transcoding parameters:
    • Framerate: The original (input) frame rate.
    • Quality: zencoder offers a quality scale from 1 to 5. The RC is using quality 3, which is described by zencoder as “Good quality. Better than most web video.”
    • Resolution: maximal resolution for output is 1920x1080p.
    • Aspect ratio: We will preserve the aspect ratio of the original file, so if you submit widescreen content and ask for standard resolution, the output file will fit keep the widescreen aspect ratio, and will fit within the output size. We cannot process very unusual aspect ratios (something very tall like 1:10 will result in failure).
  • Audio format: audio files are transcoded to non-variable 256kb/s MP3 using LAME encoder.
  • Video format: The Research Catalogue creates three different video files to provide a maximum compatibility with different players. (HTML5 and JWPlayer).
  • RC transcodes the incoming video to:
    • mp4 files with h.264 codec
    • ogv files with theora codec
    • webm files with vp8 codec.
  • For further details please see:
  • Please keep in mind that video transcoding, especially for web video, is a complex task, which cannot have one perfect setting for all requirements.

2.7. Is there an upload limit?

  • No. However, do keep in mind that larger files may be difficult to up- and download.
  • The basic use of the RC is free of charge and financed through the Society for Artistic Research (SAR).
  • The expectation is that data you upload to the RC is shared with the RC community at some point. The RC is not meant to be used as a private-only repository or archive. Of course, this includes the option where you keep expositions and media private while you are working on them until you decide they are ready to be shared.

2.8. Which metadata does the Research Catalogue use?

  • Research exposition metadata is kept to a minimum. It includes: Exposition title; Date; Author and second author(s); Collaborators; Abstract; Affiliation; Keywords.
  • Research expositions may use files stored in a ‘works’ container. The works metadata includes: Title; Type; Date; Copyright; Description; Keywords.
  • Enhanced works metadata includes: Place; Country; Material; Technique; Format; Reference.

2.9. What is the difference between the sharing and publishing of research?

  • Research published on JAR (either self-published or published by a portal, such as JAR) is publicly accessible and cannot be edited anymore, serving as a stable reference.
  • Research shared on the RC is, depending on your choice, accessible to other RC users or the general public; it can, however, still be edited.

2.10. The preview of text looks different from the display in the workspace.

  • Text tools like all tools are placed absolutely given that x,y and width, height values are stored in pixels and used to generate the page. (See tool properties > style > position/dimension) However, text is rendered by the browser and as such, depending on the browser, rendered slightly differently, which may lead to different line breaks that in a longer text may add up. Should this be the case, we recommend cutting the text into shorter sections leaving some white space in-between into which the text may grow.

2.11. How can I add images to my research?

  • In the Research Catalogue editor, you can drag an ‘image’ from the toolbox (upper left frame) to the page; a dialogue will ask you to upload or select an image.
  • For more information, please refer to these help pages.

2.12. The placement of images alongside the text is not the same in different browsers.

  • Text is displayed by the browser, and might therefore cause different results. Additionally, the reader will be able to change the text size in the browser menu. Thus, the placement and size of objects (images and text boxes) should be exact. See also point 2.10.

2.13. How can I use hyperlinks?

  • By pressing ‘show current position’ you get a hyperlink to the current position of the editing window.
  • The hyperlink consists of:[number of research] /[number of weave] /[x position in pixels] / [y position in pixels]
  • Alternatively, you can link to a specific tool. To acquire the link to a tool, double click it in the editor and open "common" tab.
  • The string in the window "Show current position" contains the hyperlink itself, so that you can ‘right click’ or ‘ctrl click’ to copy and paste the link.

2.14. Can I edit the html code of my research?

  • You may add and edit your own html code via the HTML text tool. However, please consider that if you are submitting your research to JAR or another portal, you may not be allowed to embed external pages or applets.

2.15. Why do multiple play tools on a page interfere with each other?

  • Play tools influence each other if their play lists are identical, even if they are empty.
  • If you add one player to only one of the tools, they will not operate synchronously anymore.

2.16. Is it possible to add sound to a slideshow?

  • Yes. It is possible to add an audio file to a slide in a slide show, which is played while the slide is shown. Use the button "APPEND AUDIO" next the uploaded picture and choose it from the pop-up-menu. Please note that the sound file needs to have been uploaded to your repository before you can choose it in the menu.

2.17. How to add a table of content?

  • There are different ways to organize your content and present it. The best way is to use a table of content. You can edit the table of content of a research exposition either through the ‘Info’ menu of the research on your profile page or by clicking on the name of the research at the top of the editor.
  • In the table of content section of the dialogue box, you can organise and rank the pages of your research, also by defining the entry position on a page.
  • The table of content appears in the preview of your research in the HOME menu.

2.18. Is it possible to embed PDFs and make them readable via a PDF-Viewer or in the browser?

  • Yes. Use the PDF-Tool and select the option "Display in Browser" (options > settings). Please note, that PDFs cannot be displayed in every browser.

2.19. Where can I get help?

  • We provide a Research Catalogue introduction video.
  • You can also visit the online Research Catalogue help pages for extended help.
  • You can email the RC User Support should you have more specific questions regarding the use of the RC.

2.20. Why are some items in my repository grayed out?

  • Grayed out items are missing their associated media file. This may have happened, for example, when the upload of a file was interrupted. You can either double-click the item in order to upload and attach the appropriate file or delete the item by selecting it with a single click before pressing the delete button at the bottom of the repository.

2.21. I'm invited to collaborate on or to supervise somebody else's research, but I can't find it nor do I have permissions to see it. What to do?

  • If somebody invites you as contributor or as supervisor, the RC will relay an invitation to you, which you must accept to access the research. Once logged in, you can find the invitation in your messages (menu 'messages'). After you have accepted the invitation, the research will be listed below your research on your profile page (menu 'my profile').

2.22. On my profile page, what is the difference between expositions, works and projects?

  • There is no right or wrong use of these objects. The main difference is that the RC associates different sets of functionalities with each of them.
  • Research expositions are pages created on the RC in order to share or publish practice as research. Although material from other contexts may be used, expositions are meant to be primary types of objects.
  • Works cover all sorts of traditional artistic or research output ranging from art objects via journal articles to performances. While media might be attached to a work, works usually exists first outside the RC and are then documented on it.
  • Projects are containers within which works or expositions may be produced. They may but need not be funded. Using the relations section of a project's metadata, research expositions and works can be associated with a project.
  • There is actually a fourth type of object, degrees, which represents yet another kind of output and activity that may be important to include in a research profile.


3. Viewing Research

3.1. What do I do if I discover that somebody has used material for which I hold the copyright?

3.2. Is it possible to download video and audio files from the RC?

  • On a technical level, all material – including images, video, mp3 and text - can be downloaded in principle like in any other Internet application. But if you then make the content public elsewhere, you have to make sure the license of the material allows it. You can retrieve the license status of each media item on the META page (top right of any exposition) in the media list at the bottom.

3.3 Is the RC compatible with smartphones and tablet pcs?

  • Simultaneous playing of audio and/or video files is not possible on the iPad; the playing of a file is stopped when another player is started.

3.4. How does the search functionality in the RC work?

  • The simple search (one search field) is a full-text search that searches in all metadata and data that is displayed on the pages of the RC as well as in the user profiles. While search results are displayed in a list view, at this stage it is not possible to be guided to the place where a search term was used.
  • The advanced search function searches against the fields that are indicated in the advanced search dialogue. These search fields are mapped onto the research exposition metadata (and not the ‘works’ metadata).
  • It is not possible to search for works outside of the context of a research exposition.
  • Uploaded files (such as pdfs etc.) are not included in the full-text search, only their metadata is included.

3.5. How to cite a research exposition?

  • Research expositions have stable URLs that can be used for citation purposes.
  • You can cite a complete exposition but you can also cite a specific position of an exposition, i.e. the particular place on the page (x-y coordinate) you want to reference.
  • To do this, navigate to the position on the page and click on the downward arrow in front of the exposition title in the menu bar that appears when the mouse is moved towards the top of your browser window. A reference will appear that you can copy and paste into other contexts.
  • Note: the x and y coordinates in that URL determine the upper left corner window position of the browser window.

3.6. How can I export the reference to my bibliography?

  • In the current version of the website, there is no automatic export to a bibliography format like RIS, BibTex or RefWorks.

3.7. Is statistical data available that describes page loads and user behaviour?

  • No.


4. Research Catalogue portals

4.1. What is a ‘portal’?

  • In general, a portal represents institutional ownership of a set of administrative tasks on the RC resulting in the tagging of specific users and/or specific research as belonging to that portal. Key administrative tasks are:
    • The creation of user accounts in accordance to SAR procedures, which creates a ‘user group’ that belongs to the portal including peer-reviewer user accounts (non-editing RC access);
    • Users belonging to that user group can share their research specifically with the user group(s) in which they are a member;
    • Receiving of submissions either for (a) assessment or (b) for the tagging of shared research. (Note: (b) still needs to be implemented);
    • Assigning reviewers to submissions;
    • Editing of submissions;
    • Publishing of submissions (fixes research, makes it publically accessible and tags it with the portal name);
    • Receiving feeds of research shared or published by the portal.
  • Portals may, but need not make use of one or more of those administrative tasks.
  • A portal, thus, allows managing and/or identifying research uploaded to the RC allowing the RC to act as repository to the portal partner or as extension to existing repositories.

4.2. Can research belong to multiple portals i.e. be tagged by multiple portals?

  • In principle, yes – however, workflows need to be described and potentially integrated. For instance, some portals will lock the research (e.g. when it is published in a journal), which may make it problematic for secondary portals to work with that research should they require editing rights. Some further development of the RC is expected once specifications of the functionalities that portals partners require are clear.

4.3. Can research that is kept in a separate repository by the portal partner be uploaded to the RC?

  • The answer this question depends on the existing data and repository structure.
  • In general, we assume that the data is represented in a collection with its own metadata (the ‘project’) of files that belong to that project (such as project documents, evidence, evaluations etc.)
  • In this case, at least two options are possible:
    (1) creation of one ‘media set’ per project in the RC repository using the project metadata and add all files to that ‘work’, or
    (2) creation of one research exposition per project on the RC and add all files as ‘simple media’ or as ‘media sets’ (depending on the character of the files and their metadata).
  • Trade-offs:
    (1) ‘Media sets’ can contain all files but there is currently no presentation layer for files belonging to a work; at the moment they are simply listed in the repository.
    (2) Files need to be placed either automatically or manually on a page of the research exposition. In both cases, this requires sets of choices that may be difficult to make in a general manner.