Archive for safir

YODL available again

the upgrade on YODL is now complete, and the system is available for use again


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YODL downtime thurs 16th april 2009

The digital repository will be going off line thursday afternoon for essential maintenance work.  It may reappear for brief periods during the afternoon, this will be to permit administrator testing.  Please do not try to use it during this period,  the system should be available again  on friday . There will be an update to this  blog  to confirm when work is complete.

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1) “lost and found” – more images now on YODL, 2) upgrade planned for thursdaY

We now have almost 3000 images uploaded to YODL (YOrk Digital Library). Approximately 300 newly scanned images have been added to the existing images in the History of Art collection. We have also just completed an exercise to locate and upload another three hundred or so image files which could not be included in the initial bulk upload due to mistyped file names in the original records. These have been now been hand edited, corrected and uploaded to YODL. Painstaking and fiddly work, but satisfying to get it done! We have also carried out testing of a neccesary upgrade (from Fedora 2.2.3 to Fedora 2.2.4 ) which should make the system more robust as well as fixing a known bug, and plan to apply this to the live system later this week.

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Digital Library Quick Update

Last week we took a deep breath and demonstrated the Digital Library – YODL as it is now to be known (York Digital Library – geddit?) – to our pilot group of users, the academic staff in the History of Art department. I think we were all a bit nervous about what the reaction would be, but the demonstration was well attended, everyone seemed enthusiastic and the comments and suggestions made were very positive and constructive. It was a really useful experience attending this – as a technical person you always worry about producing something that is technically good but not what the users needed – and we have already had our first feedback suggestions from staff beginning to explore YODL.

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News from the Digital Library

It’s been a while since I’ve updated on the progress of our digital library project, and in particular the JISC-funded SAFIR phase which is set to complete at the end of December 2008.  Various people have been asking about the project so here’s a very quick overview of progress over the last few months.  Over the coming weeks I’ll provide some more focussed posts on different aspects of the project work.

Regarding the team – we’re now at full strength with Frank Feng and Peri Stracchino making up our crack technical team and Helen Savage giving us some digitisation power in History of Art and King’s Manor Library.  Matthew Herring and Lucy Jaques are still around doing a whole range of non-technical digital library things.  Matthew has worked specifically on metadata profiling and staffs the History of Art slide library three times a week, offering scanning and general image advice to Academics in the Department.  Lucy works half-time on White Rose Research Online (until next February) and the other half on policy creation and our new electronic key texts pilot.

Part of the reason for our quietness is that we’ve been working hard towards our end of the year deadline and with about 6 weeks to go, we still don’t have very much that can be show to the world.  Having said that though, we have a whole raft of things that are almost ready:

  • We’ve installed the fedora commons software and the muradora interface and are about to upgrade to the latest versions of both.
  • We have almost migrated a large chunk of data and metadata into the digital library software from History of Art and are just in the process of testing small samples before carrying out the grand migration.
  • We’ve been experimenting with access control and have a rough plan for controlling access to the History of Art data (something that we have to do for legal reasons).
  • We’ve created a customised form for creating metadata about images, with lots of nice features.  This is still in testing, but again, is almost ready.  We just have to figure out how to tie it into our larger workflow now (a non-trivial task!).
  • We’ve done a whole heap  of thinking about copyright, the CLA licence and licencing generally and are developing a set of guidelines, a digital image licence and a take-down policy which aims to get maximum public content from deposited images, whilst giving assurances to our depositors and copyright holders.
  • We’ve made a lot of decisions about how fedora will manage images, including what the metadata will be, what files sizes we use, how images will be deposited, how they will be licenced, how access control will work and so on.  This is all documented in the Content Model for Images, soon to be public.

In the wider sense, we have two main strands of work ongoing.  One is our image service for History of Art and King’s Manor – Matthew and Helen now staff the History of Art slide library every day in term-time for three hours, plus Helen spends 7 hours in King’s Manor (Tues/Thurs) re-filing slides, scanning and documenting the slide collections.  The second is our elextronic key texts pilot which is a small project to come up with recommendations for how the Library might extend its work into providing key texts electronically, to complement eBooks and electronic journals.  We have identified a small number of modules and will be exploring how best to acquire, store and make available electronic versions of articles or book chapters.

For more information, please do get in touch with me, subscribe to our blog ( or check out our web page for basic project info ( .  We’ll have a system to show people real soon now and I’ll be writing more about our progress over the coming weeks.

Julie Allinson (ja546 at

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Recent dissemination activities for SAFIR

The York Digital Library project, of which SAFIR is the first phase, has made good use of a couple of recent dissemination opportunities.  First off, Wayne Britcliffe, Anthony Leonard and I presented a paper at the BUFVC’s Learning on Screen conference in March which gave an overview of the range of activities going on at York to support the use of multimedia in research and teaching.  The paper and presentation are both available:

Also, the Digital Library was the subject of a poster at the recent Open Repositories 2008 conference:

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It’ll be Indy’s hat then

The procurement process is finished and the choice is made – the University of York is going to implement Fedora for its multimedia digital library. Fedora is an open source digital repository infrastructure designed for flexibility and was the only open source product that we evaluated against 3 commercial products. Among the reasons for our choice are:

  • Fedora’s flexible architecture and data model
  • The scope for local development to tailor our digital library service to user needs
  • The strong and growing user community both in the UK and worldwide and recent injection of extra funding
  • The potential for developing in-house skill and expertise

Out-of-the box, Fedora gives us lots of scope and flexibility, some basic object management, access control and web services for further integration and interface-building. With the addition of an open source interface, such as Muradora, we can quickly add a graphical user interface, simple user deposit workflow, DC and MODS support and access control to object level. Beyond that we are faced with the challenge of identifying our user requirements more fully and turning these into concrete developmental add-ons.

This was both a strategic and pragmatic decision and we are well aware of the risks in going down the open source route. Hopefully though, with talented developers and a solid project plan, we can make best use of Fedora’s architecture, it’s flexibility and it’s object model to best suit York’s needs.

Working with the Fedora community so far on our software evaluation has demonstrated both their commitment to the product and common-sense view of its imperfections, both of which should benefit us as we begin our implementation here.

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