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Hydra (http://projecthydra.org) is a free and open source repository software solution. It is used around the world to build digital repositories for data, video, documents, images, digitized books, and many other kinds of content. However, Hydra is also more than that. It is also a vibrant, highly active community that supports the work of the project. It is a set of design principles we apply to our work. And it is an ecosystem of software components that complement the repositories we build, but which can also be used for other purposes.
Hydra began in 2008 when several institutions (Stanford University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Hull) who had existing Fedora Commons (http://www.fedora-commons.org) based repositories came together to work on new ways to build repositories collaboratively. They created a governance structure, and decided upon some common approaches and ways of supporting each others’ work. Early on, the project adopted the already existing ruby on rails based Project Blacklight (http://projectblacklight.org) as its user interface component, and ActiveFedora (https://github.com/projecthydra/active_fedora) as a connector between ruby on rails and Fedora Commons. Since that time the project has been highly successful, and has grown to 24 institutional development partners and many more adopters of the software. A list of development partners is available at http://projecthydra.org/community-2-2/partners-and-more/.
Today Hydra continues to grow as a project and to create new solutions to the problems faced by libraries, museums and archives. Recent developments have focused on self-deposit for publications (https://github.com/projecthydra/sufia), media management (http://www.avalonmediasystem.org) and archival content (http://stewardship.psu.edu/2013/07/08/introducing-archivesphere/). Work has also begun on a Hydra based solution for management of geospatial data (GIS) assets (https://github.com/sul-dlss/geohydra).