Frequently Asked Questions


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What is Avalon Media System?

The Avalon Media System is an open source system to enable libraries and archives to provide online access to video and audio collections. Avalon supports the ingest, media processing, management, and access-controlled delivery of library and archive managed video and audio collections.

 

How does Avalon Media System work?

Avalon Media System draws on several existing, mature, open source technologies:

  • The ingest, search, and discovery functionality of the Hydra framework

  • The powerful multimedia workflow management features of Opencast Matterhorn

  • The flexible Opencast Matterhorn Engage audio/video player

  • The streaming capabilities of both Red5 Media Server (open source) and Adobe Flash Media Server (proprietary)

 

Who will be the primary users of Avalon Media System?

Libraries and archives who need a solution for managing and providing online access to their audio and visual collections.

 

What are the key benefits of Avalon Media System?

  • Support for robust library metadata, including structural metadata to facilitate navigation within long media piece

  • Single item or batch media and metadata ingestion

  • Support for a variety of authentication schemes

  • Flexible access control for group and user management

  • Full mobile support

  • Integration with course management systems

  • User tools for making playlists and clips, and working with transcripts and annotations

  • Discovery using faceted search and browse

 

How did Avalon Media System get started?

No open source tool exists that truly serves the needs of academic libraries, archives, and the higher education enterprise for managing access to streamed video and audio collections and enabling their use by students and faculty. Support for deep description in the form of structural or time-based metadata, robust authentication and authorization, and integration with repositories providing services for long term preservation are key areas where these tools most often fall short. In September 2011, the Variations on Video project was funded by a National Leadership Grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

 

Which institutions are currently participating in Avalon Media System?

Primary software development is occurring at Indiana University and Northwestern University. Seven institutions—Stanford University, the University of Virginia, University of Connecticut, New York University, University of Miami, University of York (UK), and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives—have committed to providing feedback on requirements, installing and testing the software developed by the project, and participating on a project advisory board. We also have commitments from representatives of WGBH/Boston, the Hydra Project, the Opencast Matterhorn project, and Harvard University to serve on the project’s advisory board to provide additional guidance.

 

How do I download and implement Avalon Media System for my institution?

There are several options for downloading release 6.0: you can download a virtual machine image, install Avalon Media System manually, or download or browse the source code. If you aren't ready to download and would just like to try out Avalon, you can explore the software on our demo server. If you have questions about the software please contact us

 

How can my institution become a partnering institution in Avalon Media System?

Your institution is free to use Avalon Media System by trying out or installing the release 6.0 code. You can also get involved by providing feedback on requirements listed by the project. For more information, contact us.

 

Whom can I contact with questions about Avalon Media System?

Please subscribe to our notification list for updates on Avalon Media System and its availability. To discuss evaluation, piloting, or implementation of Avalon, please subscribe to our discussion list. You may also use our contact form to obtain specific information on supporting adoption, installation and implementation of Avalon Media System at your local institution.

 

Is Variations on Video the same project as Avalon Media System?

Yes. We changed the name from Variations on Video to Avalon Media System to prevent its being confused with the Variations Digital Music Library System.  Release 6 includes a number of the playlist capabilities supported by Variations on Video.

 

Who is responsible for maintaining the Avalon Media System after the funding period?

The real key to sustainability for Avalon Media System is to create something so valued that people insist on sustaining it. Broad community engagement and adoption are the most important means of ensuring the ongoing availability and maintenance of any open source system. Models for sustaining the Avalon Media System beyond the grant period are being explored.

 

What type of license will the Avalon Media System have?

We plan to release Avalon under an Apache-compatible open source license.