Spotlight on Spotlight

spotlight

Do you have content in blacklight? Do you have content in other silos? Would you like to create dynamic exhibits and/or collections?  Would you like to manage content, display, search, and facets in a highly configurable online interface?  If you answered yes to any of this, welcome to Spotlight!

“Spotlight is open source software that enables librarians, curators, and other content experts to easily build feature-rich websites that showcase collections and objects from a digital repository, uploaded items, or a combination of the two. Spotlight is a plug-in for Blacklight, an open source, Ruby on Rails Engine that provides a basic discovery interface for searching an Apache Solr index.”

Exhibit page content can be directly tweaked from the browser.
Exhibit page content can be directly tweaked from the browser.

On August 9th and 10th the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) and Yale Library hosted the event “Spotlight on Spotlight”.  We were pleased to have members of the Spotlight team here to give a full demonstration, Q&A, and developer unconference.  Stu Snydman, Gary Geisler, and Chris Beer from Stanford, and Trey Pendragon from Princeton lead the sessions. The main demonstration Tuesday morning included a brief history, a review of the initial use cases, context surrounding the platform, and walk throughs of the application and its features. In the afternoon the Q&A session provided a further chance to answer questions collected from the morning presentation and a live conversation. On Wednesday developers stood up individual instances of the application, exercised its extensibility using the DPLA API to import content, and held further technical discussion. After attending the event Steve Weida, Yale Library Webmaster commented, “Spotlight is exciting technology and has matured at a very impressive pace. Along with our commitment to Omeka, Spotlight could play a key role in the future of the Library’s web presence.”

A full recording of the demonstration is available here:
http://britishart.yale.edu/multimedia-video/27/3681

Project website with codebase and further links:
https://github.com/projectblacklight/spotlight

Event wiki:
https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/hydra/Spotlight%20on%20Spotlight%20at%20Yale

DPLA API:
https://dp.la/info/developers/codex/

LDCX 2015

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Approximately 70 people convened at Lathrop Library on the Stanford University campus to collaborate on the converging goals of the library, archive, and museum community at the 6th annual ldcx 2015 conference. While the schedule was ad-hoc, composed of lighting talks, plenary sessions, topic groups, and informal breakouts, the issues were well rooted in the themes of linked data models, discovery applications, and digital asset management. One of the long standing goals of the community has been bringing together individual and institutional efforts and this was very much manifest at the conference. There was a fruitful balance of sharing past achievement, making ongoing progress and planning for challenges to come. The Hydra stack has made its presence felt in almost every arena. Development is at a stage where best practices and design abstractions are emerging. Implementation of the Linked Data Platform (LDP), and the Portland Commons Data Model (PCDM) holds much promise as foundations of the future. Surprisingly there was very little coverage of Digital Preservation, but perhaps this a potential vacuum to be filled later. While is difficult to give adequate attention to everything covered, for more please check out:

Projecthydra
Spotlight
Geoblacklight
Arclight and next-gen archives
Mirador
Linked Data Platform
Portland Commons Data Model
IIIF Image and Presentation Specification
Sufia
Fedora 4
Avalon

Hydra update: Spotlight Latest Version with Screen Casts and Updated Screen Shots

Spotlight is a Hydra head we are currently investigating as part of an Academic Repository project with Central ITS. Here’s the one sentence pitch that defines Spotlight:

Enable librarians, curators, and others who are responsible for digital collections to create attractive, feature-rich websites that highlight these collections.” – taken from GitHub

 

Recent Communication to the Hydra Community:

While we are long overdue for a community update on Spotlight, the team at Stanford (Jessie Keck, Chris Beer and Gary Geisler) has been heads down working hard for the past several months. As we near an end of our current development cycle we wanted to report on current status and goals, and share a view visuals.

The current round of development is focussed on three broad goals:
1. Building out an end-to-end, self-service workflow for creating a new Spotlight exhibit using items and collections in the Stanford Digital Repository. Because we have built Spotlight to be repository agnostic, the technical work to accomplish this goal is somewhat specific to Stanford’s digital library architecture. The code developed for this does not ship as part of Spotlight.  However, we hope that this can serve as an example and model for others to implement a repository-based self-service workflow for creating new exhibits.  We intend to document the workflow we’ve implemented for reference.
A demo of this workflow is now available on YouTube at:  http://youtu.be/ZyJ2wzzzunc
2. Enable the addition of items not stored in a formal repository system to a new or existing exhibit.   We refer to this feature set as “support for non-repository items”, although we likely want to re-label it.  This set of features is intended to make Spotlight useful for those institutions that don’t have a fully baked repository backend with which to integrate Spotlight, or for many good reasons may want to build exhibits from contents not stored in a repository.  It also includes the ability to augment any exhibit with non-repsitory items, for example a faculty member or curators local collection of images.  We have implemented two approaches:
  • Single image upload: Using a form an exhibit creator can upload a single image file from their local system and add a few simple metadata fields.  If exhibit-specific fields have been created for the exhibit these fields will also be available in the form. Upon submission, the single image and associated metadata is added to items available for building feature pages, and is indexed and available in search results and browse categories.
  • Bulk-add via CSV: A CSV template is provided to the exhibit creator to populate with a list of image URLs and associated metadata.  Upon submission of the CSV, the images are fetched over the web and copied, and indexed records are created for all items.  The bulk feature is pulling images in via the web, so exhibit creators can upload images to popular cloud services (box, dropbox, google drive, google images, flickr, etc.) or add any URI to a publicly available image.
This feature is nearly complete, and we’ll send a video demo out in the next few days.
3. Enhance the visual design and user experience to better support image-heavy exhibits.
The goal here has been to enhance the visual design to provide a more “museum-like” or visually oriented look and feel.  Our design team has developed a proposal for a variety of new elements and widgets to produce a more visual, immersive and interactive experience. The developers are just starting to implement these now, and certainly your feedback is welcome.  The initial design proposal can be seen here:
Of course there are a variety of tickets and features that we have added and will be adding that fall somewhat outside the scope of these high-level goals.  For example we have just recently added simple analytics for exhibits using the Google Analytics API – https://github.com/sul-dlss/spotlight/pull/942 .
We anticipate 2-3 weeks more of development on Spotlight and the next release will also include improved documentation and a project site (at something like spotlight.github.io – not claimed or built yet).
We’ll be back in touch soon with more frequent updates as we wind down this phase of development.
-Stu Snydman
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Stuart Snydman
Associate Director for Digital Strategy
Stanford University Libraries