Fedora Conference — First Session
I attended the A track and the first talk was on using the Fedora architecture to administer diverse collections from the folks at Indiana University and modeling rich disseminators from the folks at Tufts University.
As we begin to evaluate how to implement our own repository at W&M, I think it important to look at the successes (and failures) at other institutions. Indiana University's implementation department is a close collaboration between Information Technology and the library system. I really like this model, and I think it makes sense for institutions across the country for a number of reasons.
First, IT is very good at managing things like security, backup, patch management, and other day-to-day computer needs. IT also has the personnel to do the programming work necessary to implement robust repository solutions. Second, libraries are very good at managing knowledge and implementing standardized methodologies to organize and disseminate knowledge. While merging the overall library and IT groups has proven unsuccessful in many cases where the traditional library (e.g. books) is involved, special projects like the creation of institutional repositories makes a lot of sense.
The IU guys talked about some of the issues they've come up against. IU has a centralized storage capacity of 1.6 petabytes (that's almost 2,000,000 gigabytes) with higherarchical backup (geek translation — data is backed up to different devices depending on how often it changes and how often its requested).
Some of the other highlights of the discussion included their plans to release a tool to help automate the creation of metadata as it is placed (ingested) into the repository. They also talked a bit out their METS Navigator, which I plan on checking out when I get back.
The folks from Tufts has a pretty neat little tool to help in the use of the repository by professors. The Visual Understanding Environment allows users to search the repository and start dragging content they want into a graph of the data. Very cool way of visualinzing very complex data!