A View of Regional Digitization Centers

As a part of work for an OhioLINK strategic task force, I have been exploring the creation and operation of regional/collaborative/shared digitization centers. This is a report of findings to date after an open call for information. The report is structured with questions to be explored when considering a regional digitization center followed by narratives from conversations with the Collaborative Digitization Program (formerly the Colorado Digitization Program), the Mountain West Digital Library, and the Ohio Historical Society. My thanks go out to Leigh Grinstead, Liz Bishoff, Karen Estlund, Angela O’Neal, and Phil Sager for their assistance.

Two Personal Repository Services

This year has seen the release of two personal repository services: http://PublicationsList.org/ and the U.K. Depot. These two services have an admittedly different focus, but I think it is still interesting to compare and contrast them to see what we can learn.

Planning a digital preservation assessment using TRAC:CC and DRAMBORA

OhioLINK is engaged in building a “trusted digital repository” on behalf of its membership. As we build it, we want to have an understanding of what “trusted” means, and so we are engaging in an audit process to assess whether we can claim to be trustworthy. This process is panning out to have four major phases:

  1. Research common and best practices for preservation.
  2. Evaluate the OhioLINK policies and processes against common and best practices.
  3. Perform a gap analysis between where we are now and where common and best practices suggest we should be.
  4. Propose and adopt policies and processes that get us closer to the ideal common and best practices.

This is a report at the end of phase 1. Earlier this year, two major reports were released that address how one measures a “trustworthy repository.” The two reports are summarized below, followed by a recommendation.

Disseminators As the Core of an Object Repository

I’ve been working to get JBoss Seam tied into Fedora, and along the way thought it would be wise to stop and document a core concept of this integration: the centrality of Fedora Disseminators in the the design of the Ohio Digital Resource Commons. Although there is nothing specific to JBoss Seam (a Java Enterprise Edition application framework) in these concepts, making an object “render itself” does make the Seam-based interface application easier to code and understand. A disseminator-centric architecture also allows us to put our code investment where it matters the most — in the repository framework — and exploit that investment in many places. So what does it mean to have a disseminator-centric architecture and have objects “render themselves”?

Building an Institutional Repository Interface Using EJB3 and JBoss Seam

This tour is designed to show the overall architecture of a FEDORA digital object repository application within the JBoss Seam framework while at the same time pointing out individual design decisions and extension points that are specific to the Ohio Digital Resource Commons application. Geared towards software developers, a familiarity with Java Servlet programming is assumed, although not required. Knowledge of JBoss Seam, Hibernate/Java Persistence API, EJB3 and Java EE would be helpful but not required; brief explanations of core concepts of these technologies are included in this tour.

The tour is based on revision 709 of /drc/trunk and was last updated on 18-Jan-2007.

Looking Forward to Version 2.2 of FEDORA

Sandy Payette, Co-Director of the Fedora Project and Researcher in the Cornell Information Science department, announced a tentative date for the release 2.2 of the FEDORA digital object repository.

The Fedora development team would like to announce that Fedora 2.2 will be released on Friday, January 19, 2007.

This new release will contain many significant new features and enhancements, including [numbers added to the original for the sake of subsequent commentary]:

  1. Fedora repository is now a web application (.war) that can be installed in any container
  2. Fedora authentication has been refactored to use servlet filters (no longer Tomcat realms)

Managing a Gentoo Linux Server Configuration with Subversion, GLCU, and Trac

Keeping track of configuration changes to servers is a tough job made tougher when some of the sysadmins work from home. Questions of who did what when and why can be exacerbated by the lack of physical proximity — in other words, I can’t simply yell over the cubical wall to the colleague down the hall to ask him about the new package installed on the server. Besides, that oral history tradition is difficult to maintain and harder to sustain as the number of machines grows. This essay describes a practice for maintaining a Gentoo Linux distribution using GLCU, Subversion, and Trac that is lightweight (doesn’t impose a large burden on the sysadmin staff), effective (although it is lightweight it better documents and makes accessible the state of our systems over the oral history tradition), and cheap (no operating budget dollars were harmed in the creation of this process — only staff time overhead).

Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries to build a consortial repository using FEDORA

On Friday, the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries announced the creation of a consortium-wide digital repository project similar to that of the Ohio Digital Resource Commons.

Colorado Alliance Digital Repository Project Approved


The Board of Directors of the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries has approved initial funding for a consortium-wide digital repository project at its October 19, 2006 meeting.

The Board of Directors of the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries has approved initial funding for a consortium-wide digital repository project at its October 19, 2006 meeting. The project will use the Fedora open source software which was selected after a long evaluation process by the Institutional Repository Implementation Team, chaired by John Culshaw from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Picking a Java Web Application Framework

We’re beginning a new phase of our digital library development at OhioLINK and an oversimplification of one of the consequences of this new phase is that we will be developing more software from scratch rather than adapting stuff that we find out there on the net. (Another consequence of this new phase is our interest in applying the Service-Oriented Architecture paradigm to library applications.) In previous phases, we were somewhat at the mercy of whatever development framework was used in the application we were adopting. As we start this new development where we control more of our own destiny, we wanted to take a step back and look at the available frameworks to support our development efforts. The options we identified at the start were plain Java servlets, Apache Struts, Spring Framework, and EJB3 with JBoss SEAM.

Why FEDORA? Answers to the FEDORA Users Interview Survey

The Fedora Outreach and Communications team is conducting a survey of the high-level sense of passion and commitment inherent in the Fedora community. I’ve posted some answers back to the FEDORA wiki on behalf of OhioLINK, and am also including the responses here as it fits into the “Why FEDORA?” series of blog postings. (If you are reading this through a RSS news reader, I think you’ll have to actually come to the DLTJ website and scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the table of contents of the series.) On with the responses!