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
Stuart Snydman
Associate Director for Digital Strategy
Stanford University Libraries

Indiana University Receives NEH Grant for Digital Preservation using Hydra

The National Endowment for the Humanities recently awarded the Indiana University Libraries and WGBH Boston a grant to support the development of HydraDAM2. This preservation-oriented digital asset management system for time-based media will improve upon WGBH’s existing HydraDAM system and work seamlessly with the Avalon Media System for user access, among other features.

Both HydraDAM and the Avalon Media System grew from the Hydra community. Hydra is an open source technology framework that supports the creation of preservation and access applications for digital assets based on the Fedora repository system. A community of institutions known as the Hydra Partners works together to maintain the framework and create applications for local or shared use by libraries, archives, and cultural institutions. Both Indiana University and WGBH Boston are among the 25 Hydra Partner institutions. Indiana University is collaborating with Northwestern University on the development of the Avalon Media System and WGBH developed the original HydraDAM system with help from the Data Curation Experts group.

[complete article]

HydraDam is based on the popular Hydra application Sufia. You can view some interesting examples of institutions using Sufia for digital preservation here:

Penn State: ScholarSphere

Notre Dame: CurateND

Case Western: Digital Case


Hydra Project


Avalon Media Systems


Hydra & DuraSpace: agreement for project services

Recent news from the Hydra community, sent by Tom Cramer, Chief Technology Strategist, Stanford University Library:


I am pleased to share the news that Hydra has officially entered an agreement for DuraSpace to provide banking, financial and marketing/communication services for 2015, to help support and advance the Hydra Project.

As we have seen some remarkable growth in the last two years, it has become increasingly apparent that a service provider could help meet  the project’s growing administrative needs, and help position it for even further expansion. After canvasing the landscape for potential host organizations, DuraSpace appeared as a natural fit for the project, given its overlapping membership, stewardship of other vibrant projects (in particular Fedora), and a shared vision about the future potential of Hydra. 

After discussion over several months on the Hydra Partners list and within Hydra Steering, a unanimous vote among the Partners ratified this direction last month. This marks a significant step forward for the Hydra Project in terms of maturity, and positions us well for growth in the coming years. One of the first tasks for us will be to launch a small, volunteer fundraising campaign for 2015; more on that anon!

On behalf of the Hydra Partners and Steering Group,

– Tom

Quarterly Report from Fedora, October – December 2014

March 3, 2015


Read it online: http://bit.ly/1M39u2P

Contact: David Wilcox <dwilcox@duraspace.org>


The Quarterly Report from Fedora, October – December 2014



Fedora Development


In the past quarter, the development team released the production release of Fedora 4.0; detailed release notes are here:


Fedora 4.0.0 Production Release Notes [1]


This significant release signals the effectiveness of an international and complex community source project in delivering a modern repository platform with features that meet or exceed current use cases in the management of institutional digital assets. Fedora 4.0 features include vast improvements in scalability, linked data capabilities, research data support, modularity, ease of use and more. Download the latest Fedora 4 release online [2].


Fedora 4.0 is only the first release in the 4.x line – a number of features [3], including support for Fedora 3 to Fedora 4 migrations [4], are planned for subsequent 4.x releases. The production code sprint schedule [5] includes both feature development sprints and code maintenance sprints (to address issues as they arise). Please consider contributing developer time to these sprints by contacting Andrew Woods (awoods@duraspace.org), the Fedora Technical Lead.





We have concluded our official annual membership campaign, which runs from early May until the end of October (though we will continue to accept new project members throughout the year whenever the opportunity arises). The annual membership goal for 2014 was $500,000, and we exceeded this goal by raising $525,083. The Fedora project has a total of 63 members; this includes 24 new members and 39 renewals from 2013 members. The Fedora Product Manager will continue to coordinate with members of the Fedora Steering Group to expand the pool of DuraSpace members supporting the Fedora project and build a sustainable funding base for the future.



Community Engagement and Outreach


In the past quarter, developers have continued to hold daily meetings in conjunction with development sprints, as well as weekly Fedora committer calls attended by the broader community.


Members of the DC Area Fedora User Group met at the National Library of Medicine in October [6] to present project updates and learn about the latest Fedora 4 developments. This group meets twice annually to stay up-to-date on Fedora-related developments in the DC area; the next meeting will be on March 31 at the USDA National Agriculture Library [7].


In an effort to increase international outreach, the Fedora Product Manager traveled to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia to attend the eResearch Australasia [8] conference at the end of October. This was a great opportunity to engage with the regional Fedora community face-to-face, and meet with current and prospective DuraSpace members supporting Fedora.


In December, representatives from Fedora 4 Beta Pilot institutions [9] participated in a well-attended panel presentation at the CNI Fall meeting [10]. The success of the pilot program was an essential part of releasing Fedora 4.0 into production, and we are currently proceeding with another round of pilot projects [11] to support Fedora 3 to Fedora 4 migrations.



Fedora 4 Training


The 4th quarter of 2014 featured three Fedora 4 training workshops. The first training workshop was held in Washington, DC on October 7 following the DC Fedora User Group meeting [12]. It was well attended (32 participants) and the feedback was very positive. The next training workshop was held in Denver, Colorado on October 16 [13] following Islandora Camp CO. Attendance for this event was capped at 30, and it was full with a waiting list. The final October training workshop was held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on October 31 [14] following the eResearch Australasia conference. This event had 25 attendees and was an excellent opportunity for engagement with regional Fedora community members.



Upcoming Conferences and Events


The annual DuraSpace Summit will take place March 11-12 in Washington, DC. This important event is an opportunity for all DuraSpace members to celebrate the successes of the past year and discuss future plans for each of the DuraSpace projects: Fedora, DSpace, and VIVO.


Plans are underway to develop and deliver a 3-day Fedora training event in the Fall of 2015. This event, and the materials developed to support it, will increase engagement with Fedora 4 and provide tools for community members to host their own training events all over the world.





[1]   https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/FF/Fedora+4.0.0+Release+Notes

[2]   https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/FF/Downloads

[3]   https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/FF/Roadmap

[4]   https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/FF/Fedora+3+to+4+Data+Migration

[5]   https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/FF/Production+Sprint+Schedule

[6]   https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/Events/Washington+D.C.+Fedora+User+Group+Meeting+-+6-7+Oct+2014

[7]   https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/Events/Washington+D.C.+Fedora+User+Group+Meeting%3A+31+March+-+1+April+2015

[8]   http://conference.eresearch.edu.au/

[9]   https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/FF/2014+Q4+Draft+Report#

[10] http://www.cni.org/events/membership-meetings/past-meetings/fall-2014/

[11] https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/FF/Fedora+3+to+4+Upgration+Pilots

[12] https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/Events/Washington+D.C.+Fedora+User+Group+Meeting+-+6-7+Oct+2014

[13] https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/Events/Denver%2C+CO+Fedora+4+Training+Workshop+-+16+Oct+2014

[14] https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/Events/eResearch+Australasia+Fedora+4+Training+Workshop+-+31+Oct+2014


David Wilcox

Fedora Product Manager



Skype Name: david.wilcox82


New Hydra Adopter: Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF)

Recent post to the Hydra Community:


We wanted to let the Hydra community know that the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) in Philadelphia has decided to adopt Hydra as our repository solution. CHF is a library, museum and center for scholars, and we’re interested in building a central repository for our diverse digital assets (photographs, books, archival collections, fine art, oral histories, and museum objects). We’re a small cultural heritage institution with a digital collections team of three (Michelle=Curator, Anna=Developer and Cat=Metadata).

Our plan is to begin with Sufia running Fedora 4 to create a basic image collection for our photographs and 2D book scans. We’ll then be exploring more complicated project phases, which will include replacing or integrating with our museum’s CMS, integrating archival objects and EAD finding aids that currently live in ArchivesSpace, and ingesting complex objects with unique issues, like our oral histories.  We’re also really interested in exploring Spotlight as an exhibition tool and in the possibility of future integration with Archivematica (or something similar) to develop preservation functionality.

We wanted to thank Data Curation Experts and Temple University for talking with us during our decision-making phase! We’re very excited to get involved in the Hydra community!

With thanks,

Michelle DiMeo

Curator of Digital Collections

Chemical Heritage Foundation

New Hydra Partner: University of Alberta

We are delighted to announce that the University of Alberta has become the latest formal Hydra Partner.  The University of Alberta has well over a decade of experience in large-scale digitization and repository projects, and has a strong team of librarians, developers, data curators and other experts migrating their existing systems to what they are calling “Hydra North.”

In their Letter of Intent, the University of Alberta says that they are committed to using their local needs as pathways to contribute to the Hydra community. Their primary areas of focus in this will be research data management, digital archives, and highly scalable object storage.

Hydra is a Repository Solution

Henry Kissinger Project – Ingest Statistics

This is just a brief update to offer some ingest statistics related to the Henry Kissinger project. The digitized project will contain approximately 1,700,000 digital objects from approximately 12,800 folders.

The process of ingest includes both manual and automated processes. The Digital Library Programming group is responsible for the automated steps which basically include the creation of a Ladybird object and then publishing that object to Hydra. At this time, all objects are being ingested in a manner that prevents them from being exposed in the public Hydra interface (FindIT.library.yale.edu). The plan is to “turn on” the collection all at once, which is a better approach when a collection is very large and very complex. Otherwise, researchers may have a difficult time using the collection if materials were made available a little at a time, in sometimes what would seem like a random order.

As of Feb 16:

  • 339,041 – the number of objects ingested into Hydra
  • 4,266 – the number of folders ingested out of the approximate 12,800
  • 7 – the number of digital files that makeup an object in Hydra
  • 2,377,553 – the actual number of files ingested into Hydra
  • 792,655 – total objects ingested into Hydra
  • 5,548,585 – total number files currently in Hydra
  • 10.856 seconds – the average time it takes an object to ingest into Hydra

Something to consider with the last statistic, which is actually the one we focus on the most. At the current rate, time to ingest the entire collection is approximately 213 days. For each 1/10th of a second that this rate fluctuates, the completion time increases/decreases by roughly 31 hours. If ingest was to suddenly start taking 11.8 seconds, it would push the approximate completion time to 232 days.

Debra Hanken Kurtz Appointed DuraSpace CEO

From Michele Kimpton, Chief Executive Officer, DuraSpace, and Paul N. Courant, Chair, DuraSpace Board of Directors, University of Michigan, on behalf of the DuraSpace Board of Directors

Winchester, MA  It brings us great pleasure to announce that the DuraSpace Board of Directors has chosen Debra Hanken Kurtz to serve as the new CEO for the Organization.  Kurtz is currently the Executive Director of the Texas Digital Library.  She will begin in her new role on February 16, 2015 and establish an office in Austin, Texas to manage DuraSpace business operations.

Kurtz brings key relevant experience and skills to DuraSpace. As Executive Director of the Texas Digital Library, she managed and grew membership, operations, and services. She participates in working and planning groups for DPN and SHARE. At both Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill Libraries, Kurtz provided leadership and direction for digital collections, public websites, and early planning efforts for both libraries’ institutional repositories. She was an active partner within the Triangle Research Libraries Network and has been a voice for Kuali OLE, an open-source integrated library system built by and for academic and research libraries. Kurtz’s complete background can be found on linkedin.

The DuraSpace team and Board of Directors is enthusiastic about working with Kurtz and establishing the strategic direction for DuraSpace over the coming years in the rapidly evolving landscape of digital research and scholarship. Leveraging open source technology development to advance our communities’ goals and objectives will continue to be a focus for the DuraSpace organization.

All member organizations will have an opportunity to meet and talk with Kurtz at the upcoming DuraSpace Membership Summit in Washington DC on March 11-12. Meeting invitations and details will be sent out later this week to all member organizations.

The search was conducted by a committee of the Board, augmented by MacKenzie Smith, University Librarian at UC Davis, and Julia Trimmer, Manager Faculty Data Systems, Duke University.

We are grateful to everyone for their continued support throughout this process. As a result of your ongoing interest, engagement and participation DuraSpace is well-positioned to continue to serve our communities by providing leadership and innovation in the development and deployment of open source technologies and managed services that promote durable, persistent access to digital data.

The DuraSpace Board of Directors:

Dan Cohen, Executive Director, Digital Public Library of America

Mike Conlon, Co-Director, University of Florida Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and Director of Biomedical Informatics, UF College of Medicine

Paul N. Courant, Harold T. Shapiro Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Information, the University of Michigan

Tom Cramer, Chief Technology Strategist and Associate Director of Digital Library Systems & Services, Stanford University

Charles J. Henry, President, Council on Library and Information Resources

Anne Jarvis, University Librarian, University of Cambridge

Heather Joseph, Executive Director, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition

Tyler Walters, Dean of University Libraries, Virginia Tech University

Laura C. Wood, Director of Tisch Library, Tufts University

Fedora 4 Committers Announced

Open source software projects typically have two governance structures, one manages the leadership and strategic roadmap and the second manages the source code. Both are critical to the success of a software development initiative but when working with open source software, which allows contributions from virtually anyone, management of the source code is critical to the survival of the product.

In December 2014, Fedora 4 was officially released after two years of planning and development. Yale’s contributions to the creation of Fedora 4 includes financial commitments as well as staffing. From the Digital Library Programming Services group in Library IT, Osman Din and Eric James have made substantial contributions to the development of Fedora 4 since July 2013.

Now that Fedora 4 has moved from a beta platform to a production worthy application, the Fedora Leadership Committee recommended to form the governance structure for maintaining the source code. The nominees included the top contributing programmers from all partner institutions. Osman Din from Yale was nominated and accepted a position in the Fedora Committers group. The full list with roles and responsibilities can be viewed here.

Duoc UC, Chile, becomes the 27th Hydra Partner

(taken from the Hydra Partner List-serv)

[English version below]

Estamos encantados de anunciar que Duoc UC (http://www.duoc.cl), en Santiago de Chile, se ha convertido en el más reciente Hydra Socio formales, y nuestro primer socio en América Latina. Duoc ha estado trabajando con Hydra para construir la “Biblioteca Digital Patrimonial” (http://loncofilu.cl), un repositorio digital de planos arquitectónicos, fotografías, planes de restauración y documentos históricos relacionados con los edificios históricos más preciados de Chile, y que representa el trabajo producido por los estudiantes de la Escuela de Construcción Duoc UC. Para el 2015 están planeando el desarrollo de dos repositorios adicionales basados Hydra que se centrarán en la recogida de proyectos de títulos  de estudiantes y de audio y producciones visuales de la Escuela de Comunicación.

En su carta de intención, Duoc dice que se han comprometido no sólo a la construcción de más proyectos con Hydra, sino también para la construcción de una comunidad de Hydra en América Latina mediante la traducción de la documentación en talleres españoles y explicaciones por otras instituciones de América Latina interesados en la construcción de repositorios de Hydra.

Bienvenidos, Duoc UC!

We are delighted to announce that Duoc UC (http://www.duoc.cl), in Santiago, Chile, has become the latest formal Hydra partner, and our first partner institution in Latin America. Duoc has been working with Hydra to build the “Heritage Digital Library” (http://loncofilu.cl), a digital repository of architectural drawings, photographs, restoration plans and historical documents related to the most precious historic buildings in Chile, and representing work produced by the students of Duoc’s Faculty of Construction. In 2015 they are planning to develop two additional repositories based on Hydra that will focus on the collection of student thesis projects and audio and visual productions from their Faculty of Communication.

In their letter of intent, Duoc says they are committed not only to building more projects with Hydra, but also to building a Hydra community in Latin America through the translation of documentation into Spanish and offering workshops to other Latin American institutions interested in building Hydra repositories.

Welcome, Duoc UC!