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Beyond Repository Platforms: Customized Microservices

Ithaca, NY A common observation regarding technology innovation is that as soon as you get comfortable with using whatever is on your laptop or running your institution’s repository system, it’s out of date. For large knowledge institutions where approval and funding to upgrade software and systems may take a long time, this conundrum makes staying ahead of technology developments particularly challenging.
As Michael J. Giarlo, Digital Library Architect, The Pennsylvania State University, points out in his post “Impressions from Open Repositories 2010,” (, developing curation microservices have been identified by DuraSpace and other organizations as an alternative, flexible strategy to selecting specific repository solutions.
“Penn State’s institutional digital stewardship program is investigating curation microservices, such as those developed by the University of California Curation Center, as an architecture for digital curation. So I came to OR2010 with an eye towards development in this space.  I wasn’t the only one; both the PASIG session and the DuraSpace strategic overview identified microservices as a trend, and a number of microservices seem likely to be built into the 1.7 release of DSpace.”
Other groups have also gotten behind a customized microservices approach because of a shared understanding that no single solution will be able to fully support the digital asset management needs of a specific institution or organization. The Hydra Project, a collaboration between the Universities of Hull, Stanford and Virginia in partnership with Fedora Commons and DuraSpace, is one such example. Download the Hydra OR10 abstract here:
Hydra partners are working towards an Alpha release of Hydrangea, an installable package that bundles the Hydra stack together, presented in one Ruby on Rails application. The application will eventually support ingesting and building objects through a UI, editing object metadata, permissions management, searching/browsing collections, and object delivery through a rich set of applications.