The idea behind the creation of Dédalo is to face a historical problem in the management of cultural and memory archives.
For various economic, politic and logistical reasons, no company or organization is thinking of a global free and open solution for creating and sharing cultural archives.

Each institution is creating its own tailor-made solutions, which are usually not re-usable in other institutions and, only in very few cases are free to use, so modest institutions or researchers do not have access to them.

We think that the importance of our past and our cultural legacy and memory is so great that it should not be left only in the hands of private companies with exclusively economic interests.

It is everyone's job to preserve and spread it, both for current and future generations.

A Management Tool Project for Digital Humanities

Dédalo is a project focused on the field of digital humanities, on the need to analyze Cultural Heritage with digital tools, allowing machines to understand the cultural, social, and historical processes that generate Heritage and Memory.

The use of technology in research and wealth analysis generates powerful tools with which to systematize information, making it possible to apply the calculation and storage power that computing offers on the large amount of information that is generated in a research project.

But it is not easy, the humanities have to work with complex concepts for technological tools, since they are not designed to manage information in the same way that humans process it, languages, uncertainty, subjectivity, interpretation, non-verbal language, and a long etc, are part of the analysis of any good, both tangible and intangible. Generating tools that allow this analysis is a great challenge.

On the other hand, we have the difficulty of integrating technological disciplines with anthropological, social, philological processes ... because they must work together, they must "understand each other", different disciplines that follow different paths, different languages, different objectives ... and they usually do not understand or share each other's focus with each other. Sociologists speak of thesauri, filiation, subjectivity, worldview ... The audiovisual technicians of resolution, FPS, TCs, bit depth ... Computer scientists of Classes, Objects, functions, global and local variables... Designers of color, interface, usability ... Network and Internet technicians, bits per second, routers, bandwidth, scalability ... four or five languages! four or five disciplines! and each one with a methodology and language, with its own approach.

In the middle of these worlds the Dédalo project was born, as a connecting link between these different lodges, as a tool that aims to be an instrument of social analysis, using audiovisual technologies that are the support for recording and conservation, using existing networks as base of shared work and diffusion space, using technology as a basis for understanding the analysis and dissemination of an ephemeral Heritage such as Oral History.

An analysis and diffusion tool

From our perspective we believe that Cultural Heritage is one, although we need to analyze it from different perspectives and disciplines to understand the socio-cultural processes that have generated it. Any tangible property, a sculpture, a painting, a plow, ... tells us about its time and the society that created it in the same way that a testimony tells us about its personal history and the society that marked his experience. All Cultural Heritage is one.

With this perspective in mind we define the main objective of the project, create a set of tools that would allow us to analyze Cultural Heritage and Memory both quantitatively and qualitatively, in addition to providing a holistic and hermeneutical analysis system. A tool based on the experience of the classic analysis system but based on cutting edge technologically and advanced tools.

In the Oral Memory field, the development is focused to place the informants, their testimonies and experiences at the center of the analysis ... to achieve a valid analysis of these contents, each interview has to be analysed and indexed into specific thematic fragments. Grouping different fragments form different interviewees experiences into a common thematic allows us to observe relationships between the contents that are constructed as the materials are cataloged within Dédalo.

In the field of Tangible Heritage the development is centred on the cultural properties and the relationship between then and the socio-cultural processes that built them.

And all in an Internet application that allows you to build your own web space to bring the visitor closer to the Cultural Heritage, guiding him so that he can reach his own conclusions, allowing him to assimilate the contents and themes and generate critical thinking.


A mythological name for a technology project.

The choice of Dédalo (Spanish name of Daedalus) became a tribute to the craftsmans, builders and inventors of the useful and tools with which our civilization has been built. Furthermore, Dédalo is synonymous with labyrinth, like the one we go through when analyzing memory or heritage, a complex network of connections and bifurcations that does not always have an exit.

The project's logo is an image painted on a rock by the Hopi culture, an agrapha culture of oral transmission.

Dédalo is an free and open source knowledge management system used for the register, cataloging and diffusion of intangible, tangible Cultural Heritage and Memory.

Development project history

The project was born in València (Spain) in February 1998 due to the need to create a system that allows the cataloging, research and dissemination of the Valencian Oral Memory project "Museu de la Paraula" of the Museu Valencià d'Etnologia. The director of the museum in this time, Enrique Pérez Cañamares, contacted us to design and generate a software that would allow consulting the interviews that the museum would carry out in subsequent years.

The first version of Dédalo that was presented to the public, after almost 2 years of gestation and development, was already based on technologies for the transmission of audiovisual materials over the Internet, still incipient at that time.

The most significant milestones that made up the current project were:

1.- In 1998 began the project.

2.- In 2000 it was decided to get GNU license for Dédalo code.

3.- In 2004 it was decided to replace all the proprietary technologies (closed source) of the first versions with open source technologies: Apache, MySQL, PHP ...

4.- In 2008, the source code was licensed with AGPL v3.

5.- In 2012, v4, the big change, form SQL to NoSQl, and began the ontology system. The project was changed to get any kind of heritage (Intangible, Archeology, Ethology, Memory, etc..) could have his part of the ontology and Dédalo began to manage any type of Heritage.

6.- In 2017, v5, lots of new specific tools as Time Machine to control all data changes.

Free and open source development platform

Context and short history of the project.

The first versions of Dédalo were structured thinking about a specific project, the Museu de la Paraula of the Museu d'Etnologa de València, in 1998 we did not have the vision that a cultural heritage manager could be a project that would have an interest for other researchers or records. In those early versions, Dédalo didn't even have a defined name.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the project was expanded to manage another type of cultural heritage beyond Oral history, and it was proposed that the code had to be open and free. The first version with a GNU GPL (since 2008 AGPL v3) license was the late 2000 version, which has been renamed V1, later, in 2004, we move all dependences to free and open source.

Why free an open source?

Our philosophy is based on two fundamental premises::

  1. Democratisation of access to Culture and Memory (Culture and Knowledge).

  2. Democratisation of technology.

The decision to leave a technology like Dédalo, under free an open source license, makes these premises a reality.

We believe that technology can help research, cataloging and dissemination of Heritage and Memory, but technology in many cases is inaccessible due to the high economic costs involved in developing complex applications. This high cost, which can be assumed by large institutions such as governments, international organizations or large museums, means that small research projects with limited resources cannot be developed at the same level or with the same opportunities.

Build Cultural Heritage archives require a great effort on the part of curators and researchers, field work, inventory, cataloging, ... carrying out this work on digital platforms makes the information dependent on the technology that supports it. Generating a file on standards and free software allows any developer to understand the logic and to adapt, change, expand or transform it to the needs, so that the data is not trapped on proprietary technologies over which there is no control.

A free technology for sustainability. Another factor to make this technology accessible is the conviction that a project developed with Dédalo will always be capable of accessing the code that supports it, and changing it, improving it, exporting it ... even if we fail in our attempt to create this tool , any developer will be able to access the code and know how it is built.

For these reasons, institutional bodies such as the EEC make it mandatory to use free and open source software and free and open standards to support information generated by any public body.

Using free and open source software and standards ensures the long-term sustainability of information. Besides, under the free license, any improvements must be made available to everyone.

The most important thing for us is that the Cultural Heritage, Memory archives and the research work will not lost, whatever happens. We cannot predict what will happen in 10, 100 or 1000 years, but working with an free and open source tool, we are sure that, whatever happens, the cultural heritage and the work will be safeguarded, since we will not be linked to a company or proprietary technology that does not allow the exportation or transfer of data to other applications, or even if the software stops developing, we can recover the data and continue the project in other ways.

We believe that future development for cultural heritage management has only one way: free and open.


Since 1998 we have been developing Dédalo and we continue with our objective. The future is very interesting, for us, the transformation of the tool has only just begun, with the development of the multi-thesaurus, multi-language, multi-project ... we have learned a lot, we have faced inspiring challenges, we have made mistakes and we have broken down barriers that seemed impenetrable, we have coincided with people and projects that have enriched us, and that have reaffirmed us in the pursuit of our vision.