The Avalon team at Indiana University and Northwestern University is pleased to announce the release of Avalon Media System 4.0.1. Version 4.0.1 adds the following capabilities over the previous version 3.3:
· New Metadata Fields: Notes, More Identifiers, Table of Contents
· Structural Metadata: Navigation by structure, create and edit structure
· Wowza Support: Wowza Media Server integration with Avalon’s authorization
· Hydra 8: Latest versions of Fedora 3 backed Hydra dependencies
· Accessibility Improvements: Navigation of web page elements with screen reader and tab key; using player controls with keyboard
· Active Encode: New transcoding API to support use of alternative transcoding engines
· oEmbed Support: Avalon provides an oEmbed service with autodiscovery headers on item pages
· LTI integration improvements: Avalon provides LTI URLs for direct access to item or sections when used with a Learning Management System such as Canvas
· Offset URLs: Avalon users can now create URLs that jump to specified points within video or audio files.
Current users of Avalon 3.3 can take advantage of these new features by upgrading Avalon 3.3 to 4.0.1.
For a more comprehensive list of changes, see the 4.0 release notes. For more details on each of these new features, visit the What’s New in Avalon 4.0 wiki page.
Indiana University and WGBH recently presented their plans for the grant funded HydraDAM 2 project. Some interesting bullets from their presentation:
- HydraDAM 1 came from a need for WGBH to migrate off the vendor product Artesia which was heading in a new direction
- Indian University’s use case is to ingest 10 Terabytes per day for 4 years for a total of 6.6 Petabytes of master and use copy video files along with associated files for preservation into HydraDAM 2
- HydraDam 1 is too slow for ingest so ingest is handled externally
- HydraDam2 will use two different storage system models with Fedora 4 managing both online/nearline and offline tape copies
- Out of region copies are out of scope for the size of the collection going in, however, IU is a DPN member and plans to use that for high risk items. Currently they are in the process of setting policies and preservation levels associated with the content.
- Preservation services to be offered in HydraDam2 include:
- Storage and retrieval of files
- Scheduled fixity checks and file characterization on demand
- Auditing based on Fedora 4
- Media migration (from one storage solution to another storage solution)
- Format migration for risk of obsolescence
- There is a working version of Avalon using Fedora 4
This was a preliminary presentation. IU and WGBH will be giving a detailed presentation at the upcoming Open Repositories conference in June.
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
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.
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
Avalon Media Systems
We had a very productive meeting with three guests: Jon Dunn, Project Director, Indiana University; Mark Notess, Product Owner, Indiana University; Julie Rudder, Product Owner, Northwestern University.
The day started with an introduction to Avalon Media Systems in the Library Lecture Hall which included demonstrations of the work of Indiana and Northwestern who very recently released their first Avalon collections to the public. Powerpoint from the presentation is attached here: Yale Avalon Conference This lecture was video taped but sound is lacking, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for access.
Later in the day a smaller group convened to have a technical discussion about the future roadmap of Avalon. A recent poster that gives a very high level view can be seen here: RudderAvalon2. I am hoping to acquire a copy of the powerpoint presentation which has bullet lists of all the planned work that will go into version 3.2 through 4.0.
While we are still in the discussion stages of a project to bring Avalon up at Yale, two of the most important features for us include integration with Fedora 4 and possible integration of the backend transcoding processes into Sufia (Penn State has a version of Sufia called ScholarSphere). Our goal would be to integrate the two Hydra applications together so that audio and video files loaded into the self archiving product, Sufia, would take advantage of all the features of the Avalon Media System.
In addition, we discussed many topics including scaling Avalon so that it could transcode more than one file at a time, use RDF for describing complex relationships between multiple files/tracks and digital preservation.
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)