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.
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.
Associate Director for Digital Strategy
Stanford University Libraries