The Hydraulics Project: Empowering Communities to Build a Digital Library Utilizing Fedora and an Event-Driven Service-Oriented Messaging Framework

Conference Paper
Author:Curley, Andrew, University of Virginia LibraryUniversity of Virginia

Recent collaborative efforts including the Hydra Project and development of Blacklight have made significant strides towards creating revolutionary tools for indexing and accessing digital content managed by a Fedora repository. Comparatively, less attention has been paid to creating applications and standardized workflows designed to easily ingest content into repositories. This issue demands attention because a key measure of a repositoryʼs usefulness is the quality and quantity of digital content made available to the public.

A central problem facing institutions eager to deploy a Fedora-based repository is the technological complexity of object creation and maintenance. Despite the Fedora development communityʼs expansion and documentation of APIs for creating and maintaining content and the Hydra development communityʼs recent upgrade and improvement of the ActiveFedora gem, the barrier to entry remains high. The skill-sets and experiences available amongst the heterogenous staff employed by most institutions are largely insufficient to utilize the software. It is the responsibility of technologists to develop tools and work with staff to create the workflows and policies that can more easily enable non-technical staff to claim a larger ownership stake in their institutional repository.

Digital Curation Services at the University of Virginia Library has made significant strides towards this goal by designing Hydraulics. For the last three years, a hybrid team of non-technical staff has collaborated with programmers to develop software and workflows that empower staff from multiple departments within the library to participate in the creation and management of digital objects throughout the production and maintenance lifecycle without the burden of learning the underlying technology. The result is a powerful web application that integrates a request module, a management system for digital production and automated workflows for archiving files and delivering content to both patrons and a Fedora-based digital library.

computer science, special collections, indexing, manuscript, Ruby on Rails, EAD, metadata, University of Virginia Library, MODS, digital curation, digital preservation, messaging, digitization, API, libraries, librarianship, digital repositories, fedora commons, Blacklight, cataloging, VIRGO
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Source Citation:

Curley, Andrew. "The Hydraulics Project: Empowering Communities to Build a Digital Library Utilizing Fedora and an Event-Driven Service-Oriented Messaging Framework." Open Repositories 2011, Austin, TX. 2011.

University of Virginia
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University of Virginia Library

Accompanying this presentation was the unveiling of a project website