I would like to take this opportunity to formally announce the launch of the Fedora 4 Digital Repository project, which aims to implement a new system to replace our existing 7-year-old Fedora 2.2.2-based Digital Collections. Fedora has come a long way in the last several years and we are very excited about the possibilities offered by the newest version. Because the differences between our older version and the latest are so diverse, this is a more complicated project than a simple upgrade.
An initial project planning group consisting of myself, Ben Wallberg, Peter Eichman, and Bria Parker, have outlined our primary objectives for the project:
- Leverage repository improvements provided by Fedora 4 application
- Migrate selected existing services and applications
- Develop new features
It is important to note that we are hoping that this new repository will reduce some silos in our portfolio, and be more than just a place to house metadata and access copies of select digital assets. We are moving forward with an awareness of the importance of a system to not just house, but manage, our digital assets, and to allow for more flexibility over who, what, when, where, and how our staff and our users can work with our content.
At a practical level, some of the changes/improvements we hope to make include:
- Replacement of existing Administrative Tools interface with a community-developed and maintained application, such as Islandora.
- Batch ingest mechanisms that can be user-operated and integrated with the Administrative Tools
- Replacement of current homegrown metadata schemas with standard schemas, such as MODS and PREMIS
- More advanced content model, allowing description and control of objects down to the node level, rather than at the descriptive record level
- Enhanced user-generated reporting
- Flexible authentication and authorization controls
This is a major project, one that will take approximately a year although we have yet to set firm milestones or deadlines. In the meantime, we are ceasing any major developments on the existing Fedora repository, with exception of crucial maintenance issues. We have noted and categorized existing outstanding metadata sweeps and will handle those during the migration process. We appreciate your patience as we work on the new system, which will be a most welcome improvement.