Open Repositories 2015 highlighted some of the interesting projects from different institutions.
One such Fedora-based project demonstrated the application and usefulness of the Linked Data platform. The project uses graph-based metadata; research data is cataloged using museum specific FRBRoo and CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) ontologies, instead of using classic metadata schemes. The project participants claimed that in comparison to traditional bibliographic metadata schema (such as MODS), “these vocabularies allowed us to express detailed relationships between digital objects and entities (people, places, events, concepts) in a more nuanced way”. The relationships are described in RDF and persisted in Fedora 4. Fedora 4 speaks and understands RDF natively and acts effectively as a Linked Data compliant server.
The benefit for the project is that the user interface (based in Islandora) is driven entirely by RDF and researchers and scholars can directly query the metadata graph by entering powerful queries via a SPARQL endpoint.
I also had the opportunity to present a poster exploring the integration of Fedora 4 with Sakai (known locally as Classes v2). Fedora 4 uses a backend technology (ModeShape) that is an implementation of the Java Content Repository (JCR) standard. Sakai offers some support for JCR, making direct integration feasible. Sakai content can be directly accessed in Fedora 4 and Sakai can access Fedora 4 content as if it were a part of its own datastore. Before Fedora 4, custom tools would have to be developed to tackle the linking, making inter-operability harder and less maintainable. Fedora 4 offers a new way, thanks to a modern technology stack. A number of leading institutions that run both Sakai and Fedora expressed an interest in further exploring the integration possibilities via this approach.