The Fedora UK and Ireland User Group was inaugurated in 2006. Details of its early meetings can be found on the archive of the 'old' Fedora wiki here.

Sixth meeting: York University, 20th January 2009

The following are brief notes from the Fedora UK&I User Group meeting held at the University of York, 20th January 2009. Over 30 people attended.

Member updates (1):

University of York - Julie Allinson

York are using the CLA licence in a way to facilitate fine-grained access. They have developed functionality to submit from within a collection in Muradora (which is being used as the main UI for now, but may not be in the long-term). Their ingest process copies the file(s) to server and updates Fedora from the back end. They have a developed a heavily customised XForm for VRA Core 4 (tabbed to distinguish between work and image, though all are the same object in Fedora). They have also added a download images fix so it doesn't just show on the screen by default and have developed a data dictionary as a way of managing authorities.

National Library of Wales - Glen Robson

Glen described work on the Wills project (140,000 wills - nearly a million Fedora objects) and particularly the bulk ingest experience. The wills themselves are modelled using individual objects for each page image, all linked to a parent will descriptive object. Archival TIFFs and access TIFF versions of the images are generated. PowerPoint

National Library of Scotland - James Toon

NLS have been working with Fedora since 2007 following a grant from the Scottish Government. Their (NLS) aim is to preserve material of value to the nation and support digital asset management across Scotland (through hosted repository service). They are a Microsoft house, hence running Fedora 3, successfully, on SQL Server 2008. They are using Adobe Flex for their interface: the Library is also using Aquabrowser for general search and they wish to tie them in (Aquabrowser is working over Fedora on their dev site via OAI-PMH). They have the ability to record links between items on a clipboard for users to create ad hoc collections: this is outside Fedora at the moment, but they are looking to use Fedora for it. Workflow ingest sends messages back to the user - presented using Flex. Aside of the national role they are also delivering branded repositories and websites for institutions without a local capability. PowerPoint

Hydra Project (University of Hull et al.) - Richard Green

Richard described the Hydra project which is a collaboration between the Universities of Hull, Stanford and Virginia with Fedora Commons. Hydra will eventually provide an end-to-end, flexible, extensible, Fedora application kit including a 'Lego' set of services and templates. The idea is that it will support the production of digital material from conception, through development, to display in a repository, and beyond that preservation. The partners hope to have the basic core of the application available in their own institutions by August 2009 and to further develop it and release it to the community in stages over the following two years. PowerPoint

University of Coventry - Nick Ripley

Coventry uses Equella as their repository environment (part of CURVE JISC start-up project), but have a wider interest in developing a repository for managing multimedia. They are considering Fedora for a small number of possible applications.

Short news and information items (1):

Fedora 3 (F3) discussion

Oxford went live with the beta version as it was much nicer to work with than version 2. They have migrated their objects and did not have any major issues with this. It was noted that if you haven't used disseminators in version 2 then the migration is easy and you don't necessarily need to use the conversion routine provided. There are some issues with front-end compatibility, though abstraction should make this irrelevant.

NLS - painless transition from F2 to F3

Durham - documentation lagged for Fedora 3 whilst they were starting on it, but it is OK now

NLW - going to use F3 for a couple of new projects this year

Acuity Unlimited - used F3 on a couple of JISC projects. They like the content model architecture and also found Mulgara a big improvement.

RSP Repository Softwares Day, 19th March 2009, Manchester

The day is intended to be an expression of functionality richness to make the case on repositories generally. Volunteers are welcome to participate and use the event to promote Fedora. The likely range of the intended audience needs to be/will be established. Please contact Chris Awre if interested and able to take part.

Fedora Commons - Thorny Staples

Thorny explained that Fedora Commons now sees itself as a company with a series of products, amongst which: Fedora itself, Akubra, Mulgara, Topaz... They are looking to provide a range of complementary solutions so that users can build and maintain 'durable' objects.

Fedora is setting up 'Solution Communities' around a range of uses: Data Curation, Preservation and Archiving, Open Access Publishing, Integration Services and, most recently, a Scholars' Repository. A small archives solution community has been proposed by the Jewish Women's Association: there is also some talk of whether a solution community for educational materials might be useful or whether this fits in with the scholar's repository community.

A Duraspace pilot will potentially be live in July 2009. Duraspace is a collaboration between Fedora Commons and DSpace possibly to broker 'cloud infrastructure' in a way that ensures durability and which leverages the Akubra storage module.

In discussion some issues were raised on the ability to feed into Fedora community and the process involved (or lack of): would a 'process community' help with this? There also needs to be a way of engaging 'real' users, rather than technically aware users. Do the solution communities need an analyst role alongside the others? Thorny emphasised that the 'solutions' are not necessarily system-based, but are likely to be broader than this.

Member updates (2)

British Cartoon Archive - David Evans

David reported on their work to use Fedora with CALM, a proprietary but commonly used software package for archives. CALM is OK for standard hierarchies (as traditional archives are structured), but no good at dissemination hierarchies, where a cartoon may be available in multiple incarnations. They are exporting records from CALM to Fedora, and using Drupal CMS as the web front-end. CALM will be used more for traditional archival access to the collection. You can use the URL field in CALM for links to Fedora objects if required, but this is limited.

Freshwater Biological Association - Mike Haft

They are using Liferay portal as the framework for their systems, developing the use of portlets (JSR 286) and making use of the inter-portlet communication: this includes aiming to provide access to Fedora through such portlets. PowerPoint

RELI - Steve Bayliss (Acuity Unlimited)

The JISC-funded work relates to how users, resources and associated licences relate to each other, modelling this and structuring it within Fedora. They are serving up the RELI service as a Shibboleth SP. They would like to make use of role information from IdPs, but this is inconsistently released (although the point was made that the SP can make metadata demands if it wants).

Short news and information items (2):


The EThOS service is a single point of access to all UK doctoral theses, based on a combination of the British Library's thesis catalogue and harvested theses from institutional repositories. The EThOSnet project is supporting the launch and development of this service, and is gathering information on how different repository software can be used to feed EThOS. Chris Awre is looking for case studies of how Fedora is being used for this and would welcome input.

PASIG conference report (Sun Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group)

Chris Awre gave a brief report on this event. A full write-up can be found in the January/February 2009 issue of D-Lib magazine.

The new JISC funding calls

The JISC calls offer good opportunities to collaborate within the UK and Ireland group. The closing date for the Information Environment/repositories call is 11th February, whilst the Open Educational Resources call closes on 4th March.

OR09 (Atlanta, May 2009)

Group members were encouraged to attend and contribute to the Open Repositories Conference.

Fedora EU

The Fedora EU group is holding a meeting at Birkbeck College, London, on February 13th in conjunction with the 'Developer Happiness Days'.

Next meeting

The Group has an invitation to the Digital Humanities Observatory in Dublin. A date will be circulated in due course, but the group seemed to favour a June meeting..

Notes based on text from Chris Awre, supplemented by material from Richard Green - Joint Chairs Fedora UK&I Group