REPORT: D.C. Area Fedora Users Meet at National Museum of the American Indian

Thu, 2011-01-20 13:45 -- carol

Ithaca, NY On January 18th the Washington, D.C. Area Fedora Users Meeting was held at the National Museum of the American Indian, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution. Despite icy conditions, about 25 participants attended the all-day meeting. Thornton Staples, Director of Research and Scientific Data Management, Office of the CIO, Smithsonian Institution led the meeting.

Following introductions and a welcome from Thorton Staples presentations about Fedora-related projects–anywhere from pilot phase to mature, production installations–were offered.

Valorie Hollister, DuraSpace Director of Community Programs, gave an overview of the DuraSpace organization and its projects (Fedora, DSpace, DuraCloud) and extended a special thanks to the DuraSpace Sponsors who were in attendance:

University of Virginia Library
Smithsonian Institution Libraries
U.S. National Library of Medicine

• John Doyle, Doran Shalvi from the National Library of Medicine (http://collections.nlm.nih.gov) provided an update and demonstration of NLM digital collections. These collections made their public debut in Sept 2010. In addition to describing plans for moving forward, such as probing deeper into preservation needs, a detailed description of the server architecture, redundancy, load-balancing, and back-up processes were presented.

• Mitzi Cole, Bria Parker and Jeremy Gottwig presented on the continuing progress of the author's repository at the Goddard Space Flight Center (http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/home/index.html). Application details from the Drupal front-end down to the scripts that discover and populate author name variations into the Fedora repository were reviewed.

• Adam Soroka, University of Virginia Library (http://www.lib.virginia.edu/) recounted the history, evolution, and successes of UVA library's use of workflows and queues in the repository context. In discussing the migration of processes that once required skilled engineers to execute to tasks, he described how tasks can now be managed by content specialists. Tasks include queuing practices and determining criteria for when queues are appropriate.

• Andrew Woods, DuraSpace Technical Lead and Developer, DuraCloud, provided a brief overview of the DuraCloud (http://duraspace.org/duracloud.php) application, how pilot partners are using it, techniques for integrating with Fedora repositories, and upcoming plans for release as a public, hosted service. A demonstration included the participation of some members of the NLM and UVA teams who demonstrated how local content could be synchronized to DuraCloud.

• Thorny Staples detailed several Smithsonian Institution (http://www.si.edu/) research projects that will benefit from initial prototypes in integrating researcher tools with the repository in order to facilitate adding content to the repository at the very beginning of its lifecycle. Thorny made a point of repeatedly emphasizing the following:

1. We need to build collections that people can use, rather than getting stuck in trying to build the perfect collection.
2. Think of Fedora as an architecture first and foremost, then secondly as software.

• Don Hagen and Charles Schoppet stated their interest in and progress towards Fedora implementations at the National Technical Information Service (http://www.ntis.gov/) and the National Agricultural Library (http://www.nal.usda.gov/).

• Brian Rosmaita, VTLS, described the successes of several VTLS (http://www.vtls.com) projects ranging from capturing, augmenting, and eventual out-streaming of college lectures managed by a Fedora repository, to installations for public libraries in Kansas and New York, to an enhanced authoritative controlled vocabulary repository.

There were several discussion items that came up during the course of the day, including redundancy architectures, queuing models, and shared-database Fedora installations. The group plans to continue meeting twice a year with efforts to increase collaboration. Continuation of these and other discussions on the mailing list is encouraged (dc-fedora-users@googlegroups.com).

With thanks to Andrew Woods who provided notes from the meeting.

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