Community, Cohesion, and Commitment
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Community, Cohesion, and Commitment



I used these slides as part of a "Digital Dialogues" presentation at University of Maryland's Institute for Technology in the Humanities: "Community, Cohesion, and Commitment: Developing and Deploying ...

I used these slides as part of a "Digital Dialogues" presentation at University of Maryland's Institute for Technology in the Humanities: "Community, Cohesion, and Commitment: Developing and Deploying Open Source Tools in the UVa Online Library Environment"...more info at



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Community, Cohesion, and Commitment Community, Cohesion, and Commitment Presentation Transcript

  • Community, Cohesion, and Commitment: Developing and Deploying Open Source Tools in the UVa Online Library Environment
    Julie Meloni, University of Virginia
    MITH Digital Dialogue // 22 Feb 2011 // @jcmeloni
  • The Hydra Project
    Collaborative effort between University of Virginia, Stanford University, University of Hull, Fedora Commons/DuraSpace, and MediaShelf.
    Working group created in 2008 to fill a need to develop an end-to-end, flexible, extensible, workflow-driven, Fedora application kit.
    Technical Framework
    Community Framework
    No direct funding of the Hydra Project itself.
  • Hydra Project Assumption #1
    no single application can meet the full range of digital asset management needs, but there are shared primitive functions:
    Depositsimple or multipart objects, singly or in bulk
    Manage object’s content, metadata, and permissions
    Search both full text and fielded search in support of user discovery and administration
    Browseobjects sequentially by collection, attribute, or ad-hoc filtering
    Delivery of objects for viewing, downloading, and dissemination through user and machine interfaces
    View slide
  • Hydra Project Response
    One body, many heads.
    Hydra is designed to support tailored applications and workflows for different content types, contexts, and interactions by building from:
    a common repository infrastructure,
    flexible, atomic data models, and
    modular services and configurable components
    View slide
  • Hydra Technical Framework
    Fedoraas repository layer for persisting and managing digital objects.
    An abstraction layer sits between Fedora and the Hydra heads, keeping the institution and its applications safe from changes in the repository structure
    ActiveFedorais a Ruby gem for creating and managing objects in Fedora
    Solr indexes provide fast access to information Blacklight for faceted searching, browsing and tailored views on objects
    The Hydra plugin itself: a Ruby on Rails library that works with ActiveFedora to provide create, update and delete actions against objects in the repository
    A suite of web-based services, supporting granular actions against content to support their management, access and preservation
    Hydrangea, a web application that bundles components and hooks to web services into a single package to support various content management actions
    Partners and other developers use Hydrangea as a reference implementation to begin their own internal projects.
  • Hydra Project Assumption #2
    no single institution or provider can resource the development or maintenance of a full set of solutions for the same needs.
    Problems with proprietary software include expense in terms of licensing, hardware, maintenance, potential vendor lock-in
    Problems with open source software include expense of human resources, and lack of vendor support causes a reliance on internal resources and community that may have different goals than your own.
  • Hydra Project Response
    “If you want to go fast, go alone.
    If you want to go far, go together.”
    Hydra Steering Group
    Collaborative roadmapping, resource allocation and coordination, governance of the technology core
    Hydra Managers
    Shape and fund work, commission “heads”, create functional requirements and specifications, UI/UX design, documentation, training, evangelism
    Hydra Developers
    Define technical architecture, commit code, integration and release, testing, testing, testing.
  • Hydra Community Framework
    Conceived and executed as a collaborative, open source effort from the start
    An open architecture, with many contributors to the core
    Collaboratively built “solution bundles” that can be adapted and modified to suit local needs
    Hydra heads as reference implementations
    Ultimate objective of the Hydra Project is to effectively intertwine its technical and community threads of development, producing a community-sourced, sustainable application framework.
  • Open Source in Practice
    Blacklight is an open source discovery interface that can be used as a front end for a digital repository, or as a single-search interface to aggregate digital content that would otherwise be siloed.
    Developed originally by Bess Sadler while at UVa
    Is an integral (but removable) part of the Hydra framework
    Continued development by a core group of committers governed by developer norms.
  • Basic Blacklight
  • Branded Blacklight
  • Hydra Head Implementation
    Hydrangea: not a turnkey IR solution, but a framework for depositing, managing, searching, browsing, and delivering digital content (and preserving the scholarly record).
    Electronic Theses & Dissertations
    Journal Pre-prints
    Scientific Datasets
    Scanned Archival Manuscripts
    Development on Hydrangea core, but also branches:
    Hydrus: the Stanford implementation
    Hydra at Hull: the University of Hull implementation
    Libra: the UVa implementation
  • Libra in Development
  • Libra in Development
  • Libra in Development
  • Libra in Development
    HYdra Platform for Access to Information in Archives
    A Hydra head that enables processing, arrangement, description and access for born digital archival materials.
    Built in association with the Mellon AIMS Grant (with UVa, Hull, Stanford & Yale as partners).
    Functional specifications mapped by content experts
    Discussion within Hydra Steering
    Resource allocation among partners
    Development and continuous integration from the community
  • Community, Cohesion, & Commitment
    Given access to a vibrant community of developers and end users, plus
    A desire to work together when offered workflows and the opportunity to effect change, with a goal of completing
    Projects and commitments already made, leveraging lessons learned and continuing to move forward, then…
    all of this runs on love.
  • Possible Discussion Questions
    Seriously? It runs on love? (Yes, seriously.)
    Balancing commitments to library applications in production with those in development, plus responsibilities to the community
    Team demographics
    Skills required, ongoing training, developer assumptions