Fedora Conference — Day Two Plenary Session

This session was absolutely fascinating. Sandy Payette from Cornell University talked about the next generation of researchers that will be hitting universities in the next 15 to 20 years and the expectations that these researchers will have. Sandy observed that 10-year olds are not solitary individuals when they go online, but part of communities. Sites like Yahoo! Music, Google, and Neopets are all contributing to the expectations of how they will perform research. More immediately, 20-somethings are blogging, instant messaging, finding almost everything with bitTorrent, and finding apartments and jobs with sites like craigslist. Sandy made the argument that choosing technology that is poised to handle the next generation of researcher's expectations and demands is something that universities need to be undertaking now.

There were also some hard questions asked…like do scholars really need institutional repositories? There is a growing number of research sites that are show these types of information resources are important. Sandy mentioned three in particular that showed this: The Rossetti Archive, The Valley of the Shadow, and Perseus. Not only are these three archives exemplary of modern information repositories, but sites like the National Virtual Observatory, Encyclopedia of Chicago, ARROW, and NSDL are all contributing to the advancement of scholarly communication and knowledge.

Sandy next discussed the future of the project in several areas:

  • Formalization of content model
  • Content Model dissemination architecture
  • Refactoring (fancy word for reworking code)
    • Deploy Fedora as a web application
    • Configuration and setup for web applications
    • Logging and unit testing
  • Message brokering service
    • Services defined in the architecture can subscribe to other services
    • Services can publish their own events
  • Web client development

Funding for the Fedora project from the Mellon Foundation is winding down and the planners are working on how to continue the project. It will certainly be interesting to see what comes of these discussions…

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