Fedora UK & Ireland Group - Project Update

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Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru – The National Library of Wales
Project Update
FEDORA UK&I Group – 30th May 2007

Project Outline

Since 2005, the National Library of Wales has been working with FEDORA in order to develop a preservation-worthy environment for storing and providing access to electronic material about Wales and of Welsh interest.

As part of this work, the library has been developing tools for managing its own digital assets as well as working with others to produce open-source software designed to work with FEDORA. These products include a graphical relationships management too (with the Wellcome Trust) and an enhanced system for harvesting objects from non-FEDORA repositories using OAI-PMH (in partnership with the University of Wales, Abersywtyth and Swansea University).

At the end of 2005 the library began implementing the VTLS Information Management Solution, of which VITAL (a Digital Asset Management System based on FEDORA) is a central component. The VITAL implementation began in mid 2006 and is currently nearing the end of the initial development Phase.

Progress So Far

The implementation of VITAL/FEDORA began with a comprehensive object review – detailing the types of object that the library has within its collections. Following this, it was decided that the initial development phase would focus on the most common object type held by the library; digitised still images with minimal rights issues.

These types of object have allowed us to define our metadata requirements, object models and repository rules whilst working with relatively simple objects. At the same time, we have been develop the necessary ingest and management systems required for all object types based on this first batch. Our work has followed the OAIS model from the outset and, as a result, we are able to expand specific elements of the DAMS architecture as required to cope with each new object type in the library’s collections.

Much of the work done so far has been related to the dissemination of objects from the DAMS. In this area we have sought to integrate as much as possible with the library’s ILS catalogue (VTLS’s iPortal) in order to provide an authenticated seamless environment for the end user – in essence, we are seeking for the repository to be ‘transparent’.

Thus far, the live environment for the DAMS has been successfully installed and is running well. In order to ensure an appropriate level of service we have implemented two mirrored repositories which continually synchronise both the server and oracle environments. In practice, ingest takes place into a primary server with replication to the secondary system. This delivers a failover solution, and thus increased stability, but does not provide for load balancing either on ingest or dissemination. These servers are in addition to our existing storage architecture which was in place prior to the FEDORA project.

The project is currently at the end of the initial development phase with only some metadata work required before the four initial object types are ingested. The end of this phase will be result in objects accessible from the library being managed by VITAL/FEDORA but with the end user being unaware of any change – beyond the substitution of Handles for the current absolute URLs in records.

Next Steps

The library will begin the ingest of these four object types in the near future, leading to a ‘transparent’ launch of the DAMS in June/July. Following on from this, the next targets for the programme will be other types of object currently held outside of the repository, including:

  • Other Digitised Still Image Types. Objects from projects within the library, and those with specific rights issues will need to be ingested into the DAMS. A revised workflow will provide for the automatic ingestion of new digitsed images into the DAMS.
  • Digital Off-Air recordings. These DVB-T transport streams are recorded by the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales and will be automatically ingested into the DAMS, with relevant metadata uploaded to the library catalogue.
  • Digital Archive Elements. Many objects exist as part of traditional collections (on CD or disk, for example) which need to be migrated off of the media for preservation, access and cataloguing reasons.
  • Material Deposited With the Library. Much material has been deposited with the library through the VDEP scheme. This is currently outside of the DAMS architecture and will need to be ingested.

Further Information

Presentations, documentation and open-source software related to the project can be found on the National Library’s ‘DevWiki’ at http://dev.llgc.org.uk.