Avalon Media System is an open source software system, originally developed by the libraries at Indiana University and Northwestern University, for managing and providing online access to large collections of digital audio and video for purposes of teaching, learning and research. Avalon was initially released in 2013, and as of early 2016, there are at least six adopters of Avalon but no consistent pathway for adopters to contribute financial or development resources to the project. In 2015, we were awarded a grant from the Mellon Foundation to create a long-term sustainability plan that includes better integration with the Hydra community, a strategy to increase adoption, and a pilot of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering in addition to its current locally-installed model. This presentation will provide an outline of Avalon’s path forward and how it corresponds with directions of the Hydra and Fedora communities. We are radically changing our development strategy as we move forward, and we will discuss our strategic initiatives and outline new areas of exploration and development. Additionally, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages we have seen in our partnership model and how we plan to evolve that model as we move forward with Avalon’s development.
Most repositories can deposit AV but the UX for ingesting and delivering is not optimal because you are providing the file to the user as a download. IF they are being used with a streaming system, they aren’t providing a secure access and can’t handle authorization.
There are lots of delivery options, like MAM’s or online video tools like Kaltura but they are more concerned with immediate access. They aren’t concerned with long-term media access, they don’t support Library metadata standards, and they aren’t designed to support long-term preservation activities.
To fill this gap we identified.
The planning grant really helped us identify this gap and to go after funding to support hiring of staff to build out these tools. The planning project talked with a lot other institutions to try to identify common needs and gaps. Conducted a series of surveys to focus the work of the project.
One of the other goals of the grant is to work on Spotlight integration, but we’re exploring different ways we can deliver that functionality to be more flexible.
Point 3 – Worked with Ithaka S+R to identify some different models for community supported technologies
This release is our last Fedora 3 release. It will provide a path for folks to migrate off Variations to Avalon (~11 institutions run Variations). The two major points for this release will be providing an ingest method (IU is currently in the process of ingesting our variations content into our production Avalon, ~10,000 of ~30,000 are currently ingested) and the playlist feature. Variations users will be forced to abandon Variations at some point in the nearish future because the next release of OS X will remove Quicktime's support for certain functions Variations need. These features have been deprecated for some time, but Apple is just now officially removing them. There also is not a supported version of Quicktime for Windows 10. So bad news for Variations but good news for Avalon adoption
We are not basing the next release on PCDM, instead we’re doing a direct port of our current models
Migrating from Fedora 3 to Fedora 4 Fedora 4 running with our current data model (so datastreams, etc). Ensure no features in Avalon become nonfunctional during the upgrade
Watching Hybox as they go through some of these same issues.
Release 7 (gemification) is too fuzzy at this point to discuss in detail.
The next two releases are primarily architecture/rearchitecture focused, they will have some features, such as exhibits via Spotlight, dropping flash, and implementing an embeddable LTI player, but those features are primarily related to the promises made in our Melon Grant.
International Interest from Australia, Spain, Qatar, and Afghanistan.
Also, there are a number of institutions using Variations Digital Music Library developed at IU back in the early aughts that we hope to work with to migrate to a future version of Avalon. IU will be making that migration this fall.
Sandbox you can try out via the website.
Avalon 2016 Overview
Avalon Media System
Indiana University Bloomington
Open Repositories, 2016
16, June 2016
What is Avalon?
Open source software system that enables libraries
and archives to provide access to audio and video
• Hydra Solution Bundle
– Easily installable and configurable
– Serve a variety of use cases and institutions
– Create a basis for sustainable development
• Existing repository systems don’t work well for
– Issues: integration with streaming servers; hard to
support time-based navigation; difficulties in
integrating access control
• Existing media systems don’t work well with
– Issues: focus on short-term access for teaching and
learning; limited metadata and access control
capabilities; integration with preservation workflows
• 2010 – 2011: IMLS Planning Grant
• 2011-2015: National Leadership Grant from
the Institute of Museum and Library Services
• 2015-2016: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Partnership between libraries at Indiana
University and Northwestern University
Goals of current Mellon grant
1. Develop additional Avalon functionality
2. Conduct studies of use of audio and video
collections by humanities researchers
3. Develop and implement a community-funded
business and governance model
4. Deploy Avalon in a hosted SaaS model for
Avalon Media System
Hydrant Rails App
Avalon code – consists of Hydrant Rails App and the Rubyhorn
gem. Other pieces are leveraged.
Fedora Solr Matterhorn Media Server
• 0.1 – July 2012
• 0.5 – October 2012
• 1.0 – May 2013
• 2.0 – October 2013
• 3.0 – May 2014
• 3.1 – July 2014
• 3.2 – January 2015
• 3.3 – March 2015
• 4.0 – September 2015
• 5.0 – May 2016
• 6.0 – August 2016
Lessons Learned from Advisory Board
• Clearly define and focus on our core product
• Ensure that Avalon is complementary to, not overlapping
with, other solutions in the repository and media space
• Keep the product as general purpose as possible to help
• For many institutions, modularity and ability to integrate
with existing repository solutions is a key requirement
• Partnerships should be chosen wisely
• Reduce technical debt (e.g. keeping up with Fedora 4
and Hydra) is important for local installations
• Integration with a variety of research and analysis
tools will be important for scholarly uptake
Avalon 5.0 Launched June 13th
• Organization and Sharing Features
– Create private or shareable Playlists
– Add whole audio and video files or clips to playlists
• Content Ingest API
– A lightweight API for importing metadata and links to existing derivatives into Avalon.
• Access control enhancements
– IP based access control
– “Date digitized” field for master files.
– Grant access permission for items for set periods of time
• More granular searching
– Searching now includes section and structure labels
– “Date digitized” provided as admin facet .
• Accessibility phase 2
– Support for ingesting/delivering captions in VTT and/or SRT files
– Player shows captions when available
– End user can toggle captioning on/off via player control - mouse and keyboard.
Final Fedora 3 Release
Avalon 6.0 (Expected October 2016)
• Feature parity with R5 but on Fedora 4
• Additional transcode engine support (besides
• Upgrade to Hydra 9 / Fedora 4
• Support HLS Flash and retire RTMP support
• LDAP based groups for assigning collection staff
• Other possible features
• Better visibility of access control status for bulk
Future Development Strategies
• Avalon as a SaaS
– Cloud deployment model
– Working to develop partnership with Infrastructure Based Service companies
– Interested in sites willing to pilot
• “Gemification“ of Avalon Architecure (Expected release Winter 2017)
– Re-factoring Avalon code for paying off technical debt
– Modularizing core Avalon components
– Making Avalon components easier to install for other institutions
– Re-architecting for full service and gems for other open source repository solutions
– Building up from CurationConcerns
• Creating a Robust Open Development Community
– Using other open source projects as a guide
– Potential introduction of Avalon Developers Conference to train and introduce code base to
wider developer audience
– Introduction of community based sprints
University of Alberta University of Virginia Washington University,