I’m pleased to be able to announce that the Indiana University Libraries, in partnership with Northwestern University Library, have received a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support work on the Avalon Media System project through January 2017.
This funding will help to support the following activities: 1) developing additional features and functionality for Avalon to better meet needs of collection managers and users; 2) conducting studies of use of audio and video collections by researchers in humanities disciplines to help ensure future support for scholarly use; 3) integrating the Spotlight exhibit tool with Avalon to allow librarians, archivists, and scholars to showcase and provide additional context for media items and collections; 4) developing and implementing a community-funded business and governance model to sustain ongoing support and development for Avalon; and 5) deploying Avalon in a hosted software-as-a-service model for use by institutions that need the functionality of Avalon but would prefer to utilize a cloud-based software-as-a-service option rather than support a locally hosted instance.
I’d like to offer thanks to the Hydra community for building and maintaining a solid technical foundation that enables systems such as Avalon to be built and to members of the Hydra community who have assisted with Avalon’s development by providing feedback on requirements and implementation experiences.
More information is available in a press release from Indiana University at http://news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2015/03/mellon-grants-digital-preservation.shtml
Interim Assistant Dean for Library Technologies
Indiana University Bloomington Libraries
Some preliminary work has been going on in the Digital Library Programming group to investigate Avalon for use in delivering audio and video content from our Hydra repository. Avalon is an open source software package that was developed by the Hydra partners: Indiana University and Northwestern University. We are considering adopting it for some of our audio/video needs as we consider ingesting audio and video into our Hydra repository.
In the video you will see an instance of Avalon that I have running on a virtual server on my computer. To access, I am using a web browser pointing to the virtual server, the URL only works from my computer. The only customization made to the software was to include a small Yale Library logo in the upper left, otherwise the software is “out of the box” and is bundled with an open source media streaming server. The content in this test instance is delivered as part of the “trial version” of the software so that you can see how it works without investing a lot of time.
The video is just under two minutes and demonstrates browsing to a video and showing playback. I demonstrate some of the basic playback controls including full screen. I then show how the video can be embedded on other web pages for sharing the content. Lastly I demonstrate the most basic type of content restriction where I set the requirement that you must be logged into Avalon in order to view the video. I then reload the web page that I embedded the video onto to demonstrate that I am now required to login. After logging in, the video begins to playback.
The video below is best viewed in full screen, it does not require sound but if you do have speaker or headphones, you will hear the music while the video is playing. (youtube link if the video below does not work)