On behalf of DSS, I’m pleased to announce that we have passed a major milestone with our digital repository upgrades: Fedora 4, our next-generation repository, is now officially “in production,” meaning we can begin adding digital resources to it for management. DPI is already working on a plan for adding materials to the new repository, and individual stakeholders will hear more soon about their collections.
What does Fedora 4 mean for UMD Libraries?
To end users, this upgrade is essentially invisible. Fedora 4’s release is an architectural improvement–essentially, it is the new foundation on which we can build first-class digital collections and efficient workflows for asset management and preservation. Implementing Fedora 4 gives us:
- Flexible, standardized data modeling. We will be able to handle a wider array of simple and complex content types, as well as a greater range of file formats.
- Scalability. We’re not far away from thinking of our digital assets in terms of petabytes of data; Fedora 4 will enable us to manage those assets responsibly.
- The potential for increased automation. Fedora 4’s application “hooks” and workflow triggers give us the ability to develop new automation scripts and integrations.
- New technology options to eventually improve the experience of both internal library users and repository visitors. Two exciting next steps with Fedora 4 include selecting and evaluating a new administrative interface for staff, and implementing a new image viewer for newspaper content (based on IIIF, a framework for speedy, flexible image delivery backed by a number of high-profile libraries).
- Increased participation in a robust, open community of institutions using Fedora. Rather than creating our own special, customized installation (which would become difficult to maintain over time), our team contributed code enhancements and feedback to the Fedora project, taking an active role in shaping the software platform.
DSS is already working on a few key repository projects:
- Preparing the repository for the Diamondback ingest. This will be the first substantial collection loaded into Fedora 4, and to prepare for it, we are working on methods for batch loading, as well as implementing a new and improved image viewer.
- Selecting, testing, and implementing an administrative interface for staff. We are researching our options for a new staff interface for Fedora 4 items, and will have more to share in the fall.
- Planning for scaling our storage to meet our needs. A small task force will evaluate options and costs for high-capacity storage this fall, and we should begin implementing recommended improvements in 2017.
- Organizing the backlog of materials for ingest, planning for digital preservation, public user interface research and migration of assets from our old Fedora repository–this work will continue throughout 2016 and into 2017.
Finally, please join me in thanking the many team members involved in this release from DSS. In particular, Josh Westgard, Mohamad Abdul Rasheed, Peter Eichman, and Ben Wallberg spent an untold amount of hours sweating the details, squashing bugs, questioning assumptions, and drawing on whiteboards to get UMD Libraries to this point, and they all deserve a hearty congrats.