Community, Cohesion, and Commitment - University of Virginia

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Community, Cohesion, and Commitment:

Developing and Deploying Open Source Tools
in the
UVa

Online Library Environment

Julie
Meloni
, University of Virginia

MITH Digital Dialogue // 22 Feb 2011

jcmeloni@virginia.edu // @
jcmeloni

The Hydra Project


Collaborative effort between University of Virginia, Stanford
University, University of Hull, Fedora Commons/
DuraSpace
,
and
MediaShelf
.


Working group created in 2008
to fill a
need to develop
an
end
-
to
-
end, flexible, extensible, workflow
-
driven, Fedora
application kit
.


Technical Framework


Community Framework


No direct funding of the Hydra Project itself.

Hydra Project Assumption #1


no single application can meet the full range of digital asset
management
needs, but there are shared
primitive functions
:


Deposit

simple or multipart objects, singly or in bulk


Manage

object’s content, metadata, and permissions


Search

both full text and fielded search in support of user
discovery and administration


Browse

objects sequentially by collection, attribute, or ad
-
hoc
filtering


Delivery

of objects for viewing, downloading, and dissemination
through user and machine interfaces







Hydra Project Response

One body, many heads.


Hydra is designed
to support tailored applications and
workflows for different content types, contexts, and
interactions
by
building from:


a
common repository
infrastructure,


flexible, atomic data models, and


modular services and configurable
components

Hydra Technical Framework


Fedora

as repository
layer for persisting and managing digital objects.


An abstraction layer sits between Fedora and the Hydra heads, keeping the
institution and its applications safe from changes in the repository structure


ActiveFedora

is a Ruby
gem for creating and managing objects in
Fedora


Solr

indexes provide fast
access to information
Blacklight

for faceted
searching, browsing and tailored views on objects


The
Hydra

plugin itself:
a Ruby on Rails library that works with
ActiveFedora

to provide create, update and delete actions against
objects in the repository


A suite of web
-
based services, supporting granular actions against
content to support their management, access and preservation


Hydrangea
, a web application that bundles
components
and hooks to
web services into a single
package to
support various content
management
actions


Partners and other developers use Hydrangea as a reference implementation
to begin their own internal projects.

Hydra Project Assumption #2


no single institution or provider can resource the development
or maintenance of a full set of solutions for the same needs.


Problems with
proprietary software
include expense in terms of
licensing, hardware, maintenance, potential vendor lock
-
in


Problems with
open source software
include expense of human
resources, and lack of vendor support causes a reliance on
internal resources and community that may have different goals
than your own.







Hydra Project Response

“If you want to go fast, go alone.


If you want to go far, go together.”



Hydra Steering Group


Collaborative
roadmapping
, resource allocation and coordination,
governance of the technology core


Hydra Managers


Shape and fund work, commission “heads”, create functional
requirements and specifications, UI/UX design, documentation,
training, evangelism


Hydra Developers


Define technical architecture, commit code, integration and
release, testing, testing, testing.



Hydra Community Framework


Conceived and executed as a collaborative, open source effort
from the start


An
open architecture, with many
contributors
to
the core


Collaboratively
built “solution bundles” that
can
be adapted
and modified to suit local
needs


Hydra heads as reference implementations


Ultimate objective of the Hydra Project is to
effectively
intertwine
its
technical and community threads
of
development,
producing
a
community
-
sourced, sustainable
application framework
.

Open Source in Practice


Blacklight

is an open
source
discovery
interface
that can be
used as a
front end for a digital repository, or as a single
-
search interface to aggregate digital content that would
otherwise be
siloed
.


Developed originally within the Scholars’ Lab and
UVa

Library
as a
skunkworks

project; is now an integral part of the Hydra
framework


customizable and removable for ultimate flexibility


many core developers part of the Hydra Project (Bess Sadler, now
at Stanford, Bob
Haschert

at
UVa
,
etc
)


Continued development by a core group of committers
governed by developer norms.


Basic
Blacklight

Branded
Blacklight

Hydra Head Implementation


Hydrangea
: not a turnkey IR solution, but a framework for
depositing, managing, searching, browsing, and delivering
digital content (and preserving the scholarly record).


Electronic Theses & Dissertations


Journal Pre
-
prints


Scientific Datasets


Scanned Archival Manuscripts



Development on Hydrangea core, but also branches:


Hydrus
: the Stanford implementation


Hydra at Hull
: the University of Hull implementation


Libra
: the
UVa

implementation

Libra in Development

Libra in Development

Libra in Development

Libra in Development

HYPATIA


HYdra

Platform for Access to Information in
Archives


A
Hydra head that enables processing, arrangement, description
and access for born digital archival materials.


Built
in association with the Mellon AIMS Grant (with
UVa
, Hull,
Stanford & Yale as partners
).


Functional specifications mapped by content experts


Discussion within Hydra Steering


Resource allocation among partners


Development and continuous integration from the community


Win!

Community, Cohesion, & Commitment


Given access to a vibrant community of developers and end
users, plus


A desire
to work together when offered workflows and the
opportunity to effect
change, with a goal of completing


Projects
and commitments already
made, leveraging lessons
learned and continuing to move forward, then…


all
of this runs on
love.




Possible Discussion Questions


Seriously? It runs on love? (Yes, seriously.)


Balancing commitments to library applications in production
with those in development, plus responsibilities to the
community


Team demographics


Skills required, ongoing training, developer assumptions


More?