Quarterly Report from Fedora, January - June 2015

Mon, 2015-07-06 10:07 -- carol

From The Fedora Leadership Group

Fedora Development

In the past two quarters, the development team released three new versions of Fedora 4; detailed release notes are here:

These releases include performance improvements, updates to the published Fedora ontology, further compliance with the Linked Data Platform recommendation, and a number of bug fixes. Additionally, these releases highlight two new projects that can be used with Fedora 4 - the Camel Component, and the Audit Service. The Camel Component, based on the popular Apache Camel project, provides a framework for handling event-driven workflows, such as updating an external search index or triplestore. The Audit Service leverages this framework to index audit-related events in a triplestore and optionally persist them back to the repository. Download the latest Fedora 4 release here.

Additional new features will be developed in accordance with the project roadmap and community engagement. Those interested in particular features should join the current discussions and contribute resources in the form of use cases, testing and validation, and developer effort. The production code sprint schedule includes both feature development sprints and code maintenance sprints (to address issues as they arise). Please consider contributing developer time to these sprints by contacting Andrew Woods (awoods@duraspace.org), the Fedora Technical Lead.

Fedora 3 to 4 Migrations

Supporting Fedora 3 to 4 migrations has been the primary focus of Fedora development in 2015. To this end, two migration tools have been created: the Hydra-based fedora-migrate, and the generic migration-utils. Both of these projects are ready for community testing and feedback, so please try them out and report and feedback to the mailing list or the JIRA issue tracker.

Along with the migration tool development, a number of pilot projects have been migrating content to Fedora 4 under a variety of scenarios. These pilot projects have helped test and demonstrate migrations using Fedora 4 with Islandora, Hydra, and custom front-ends, and they have also contributed valuable feedback to the development of the migration tools. The pilot phase ended in June, but each of these institutions will continue to migrate content to Fedora 4 over the coming months.

Fedora Committers

A formal list of Fedora code committers was published in January. Committers are contributors who have demonstrated sustained engagement with the project through quality participation in meetings, mailing lists, documentation and code updates, and have been nominated by other committers. The initial group of Fedora committers includes:

  • Ben Armintor, Columbia University
  • Chris Beer, Stanford University
  • Aaron Coburn, Amherst College
  • Osman Din, Yale University
  • Mike Durbin, University of Virginia
  • Adam Soroka, University of Virginia
  • Esmé Cowles, University of California, San Diego
  • Andrew Woods, DuraSpace

Fundraising

The 2014 membership campaign concluded with $525,083 in funding and 63 members. The 2015 membership campaign kicked off in May, and so far the Fedora project has raised $420,750 from 53 members. The annual goal this year is $560,000, so we are over 70% of the way there. The Fedora Product Manager will continue to coordinate with members of the Fedora Leadership Group to expand the pool of DuraSpace members supporting the Fedora project and build a sustainable funding base for the future. If your institution is not yet a member of DuraSpace in support of Fedora, please join us!

Community Engagement and Outreach

In the past two quarters, developers have continued to hold daily meetings in conjunction with development sprints, as well as weekly Fedora committer calls attended by the broader community. 

In February, the Fedora Tech Lead attended the Code4Lib conference held in Portland, Oregon. This meeting marked an important turning point for cross-community collaboration around a common data modeling approach. Specifically, the Portland Common Data Model (PCDM) received significant interest from not only the founding Hydra community, but also from the Islandora and custom front-end Fedora users. The use of a common modeling approach and common ontology opens the door for true interoperability across Fedora repositories irrespective of the choice of upper-level application.

The Fedora Product Manager attended the 5th Research Data Alliance Plenary in San Diego, CA in March to participate in discussions and chair a Repository Platforms for Research Data interest group meeting. This international group pursues important initiatives around open data sharing, and the Fedora project continues to be well-represented at each plenary meeting.

Again in March, a variety of cultural heritage institutions convened at the annual LAM-Dev-Con-X meeting hosted by Stanford in Palo Alto. Along with once again engaging in the joint effort of forwarding the reach and adoption of the PCDM, the Fedora Tech Lead participated in plenary sessions which focused on clarifying the relationship of Fedora to the W3C Linked Data Platform specification.

The annual DuraSpace Summit was held in Washington, DC in March. The Fedora project team, along with members of the Fedora Leadership Group, were present to discuss the strategic direction of the project and possible opportunities for collaboration with other DuraSpace projects and services.

Members of the DC Area Fedora User Group met at the USDA National Agriculture Library at the end of March to share project updates and discuss new opportunities with Fedora 4. The two-day event included a Fedora 4 training workshop. This active group meets in-person twice per year, and the meetings are free to attend for anyone who would like to join.

In April, the Fedora Product Manager participated in a panel discussion on linked open data at Museums and the Web. Members of the museum community are very interested in Fedora 4, and another panel discussion is scheduled for the upcoming Museum Computer Network conference in November.

Members of the Fedora Leadership Group presented on Fedora 4 pilot projects at the Spring CNI meeting in April. This panel presentation provided an opportunity to demonstrate that Fedora 4 is ready to be implemented in production to support a variety of use cases.

A joint workshop on Fedora 4, Hydra, and Islandora was held at the Digital Library Conference in Slovakia in April. Increased international outreach is one of the main project goals for 2015, and many conference attendees were very interested in the latest developments in the Fedora community.

The Fedora Product Manager and Technical Lead delivered a one-day Fedora 4 training workshop at the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries in Austin, TX in April. These workshops continue to be well-attended and productive events that serve to familiarize participants with the latest Fedora 4 developments.

meeting of the Northeast Fedora Users Group was held in May at Yale University in New Haven, CT. This event brought together regional Fedora users to discuss project updates, including migrations to Fedora 4. A one-day Fedora 4 training workshop was also held at the event.

The 10th annual Open Repositories conference was held June 8-11 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This event featured a full-day Fedora 4 workshop and a dedicated Fedora Interest Group track. The Fedora Leadership Group also met during the conference to discuss the strategic roadmap for Fedora for the next six months.

Fedora 4 workshop was held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville on June 26, 2015. This workshop gave attendees a chance to learn about the latest Fedora 4 features and experience the software firsthand using a pre-configured virtual machine environment.

Fedora Camp

Based on the highly-successful Fedora 4 training workshops that have been offered over the past year, a full, three-day Fedora Camp event has been planned for November 16-18 at Duke University. Registration is now open to the public, and attendance will be capped at 40 participants. Training will begin with the basics and build toward more advanced concepts – no prior Fedora 4 experience is required. Participants can expect to come away with a deep dive Fedora 4 learning experience coupled with multiple opportunities for applying hands-on techniques working with experienced trainers and Fedora gurus. A draft curriculum is available on the wiki.

Upcoming Conferences and Events

The first Islandora Conference will be held on August 3-7 in Charlottetown, PE. The conference will feature a combination of presentations and workshops, including several sessions dedicated to Fedora 4.

The annual Hydra Connect will be held on September 21-24 in Minneapolis, MN. This event brings together the global Hydra community with a focus on synchronizing efforts, technical development, plans, and community links.

The 6th RDA Plenary will be held on September 23-25 in Paris, France. This event is attended by members of the research data community from all over the world, and plays an important role in breaking down barriers to global research data sharing.