Leonardo - Workflow Management

The IRF is currently working on the development of a scientific workflow system. Leonardo will be a freely available, open sourced application framework that enables the research and development of innovative information retrieval software and related services: a workbench to cover the whole life cycle of the integration, retrieval and discovery process from data selection to query building to search strategy refinement and final visualization and reporting in visual workflows.


  1. Standardization of data and functionalities Leonardo acts as a technical integration platform to standardize data access regardless of where the data come from. Within Leonardo, functionalities that apply to these data are modular (plug- ins) and apply to all data sources.
  2. Combination of data sources The users can execute a query across all attached data sources.
  3. User- friendly translation of complex tasks Leonardo enables the formulation and execution of multiple- step search strategies in the form of easy- to-create and easy- to- manage visual workflows. It has an easy- to- use graphical interface and allows the use of complicated search processes without IR knowledge.
  4. Transparency and control All Leonardo components are developed and published in the open source domain which makes them transparent and allows full insight and quality control for information professionals and other users (no black box!).
  5. Robustness and scalability The use of the latest technologies in enterprise software development as well as the exposure to a large open source developer base ensures the robustness needed to process the largest amounts of data. Leonardo leverages cloud environments for scalability and IT infrastructure independence.


The Leonardo Framework


1) Technical advantages

  • Leonardo is using the latest and most advanced technologies in Java enterprise computing

  • The basic technical Eclipse framework is already adopted as certified component within large organizations

  • The implementation of new features is fast and gets faster over time as all the infrastructure functionality has already been implemented

  • Leonardo is open source, therefore transparent with fully accessible code

  • Leonardo will be open to the community, therefore many new functionalities will be created by others

  • Many professional services companies around the globe support the technologies used

2) Business advantages

  • Costs savings: Leonardo does not imply licensing costs (lower initial costs)

  • Knowledge management and retention: The knowledge of experienced information professionals can be systematically captured in workflows

  • Reusability: Workflows can be easily revised and improved over time

  • Company-­wide standardization: Workflows can be managed in libraries

  • Cross-­disciplinary collaboration: Workflows can be shared in teams and across the whole organization Leonardo contributes to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of industrial information departments. By accessing published workflows, end-­users can increasingly self-­service their information needs, which enables the information department to concentrate on more challenging tasks.

3) Strategic advantages

  • The adoption of Leonardo by an organization will facilitate the interoperability of products and services delivered by its IT and data suppliers

  • The adoption of Leonardo by several large industry players will contribute to the standardization of the IR technologies offered by all market participants

  • As the Leonardo framework will also be used by IR scientists to perform their research, develop new algorithms and build prototypes, it will accelerate the technology transfer towards the industrial users of Leonardo who will benefit much earlier from the results of cutting-­edge information science.