CWIS Overview


The Collection Workflow Integration System (CWIS, pronounced see-wis) is free, open source software designed to assemble, organize, and share collections of data about resources. CWIS conforms to international and academic standards for metadata. CWIS was created to help build collections of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) resources and connect them to NSF's National Science Digital Library and other STEM education channels. However, the software can be (and is being) used for a wide variety of other purposes.

Some of the features of CWIS include:

  • resource annotations and ratings (a la Amazon)
  • keyword searching (with phrase and exclusion support a la Google)
  • fielded searching
  • recommender system (a la Amazon)
  • OAI 2.0 export (with oai_dc and nsdl_dc schemas)
  • RSS feed support
  • integrated metadata editing tool
  • user-definable schema (comes with full qualified Dublin Core)
  • prepackaged taxonomies (includes GEM Subject taxonomy)
  • user interface themes
  • turnkey installation

CWIS also has functionality (PHP) separated from appearance (HTML), making it relatively easy to customize for your own site.  CWIS functionality is also readily extendable, via a wide array of plugins.


CWIS requires a web server that supports PHP and MySQL. The software is designed to run on a LAMP (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP) platform, but is also being run in the field on OS X, Solaris, and FreeBSD. For more specific requirements for the current version, see the Downloads page.