The Avalon Media System (formerly known as Variations on Video) will be an open source system for managing large collections of digital audio and video files. The freely available system will enable libraries and archives to easily curate, distribute and provide online access to their collections for purposes of teaching, learning and research. The Avalon community is made up of a dozen educational, media and open-technology institutions. The project is led by the libraries of Indiana University and Northwestern University and is funded in part by a three-year National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Video and audio collections for education are growing in importance and size. University libraries and archives need a complete and scalable system so they can easily curate their video and audio files and manage workflows for generating video and audio content. Their key requirements include:
- Support for robust, standards-based metadata for description and annotation of time-based media.
- Support for authentication and authorization.
- Ability to accommodate special requirements for digital media asset preservation and long-term archiving.
- Integration with preservation repository services.
- Leverage other open-source higher education projects such as Hydra and Opencast Matterhorn.
In 2010, Indiana University conducted a survey of academic libraries' current practices and future aspirations regarding video-streaming technologies and services. As reported in a presentation at the 2010 EDUCAUSE Conference, the research found that academic libraries are increasingly involved in streaming video content in support of pedagogy and research.
As this infographic shows, the Avalon Media System is tailored to the needs of libraries and archives, providing much-needed media management capabilities in support of teaching, learning and research.
Avalon is a follow-on product to the Variations Digital Music Library, an open source system developed at Indiana University and in use there since 1996 in various forms. Variations is also being used at approximately 20 institutions, mainly for streaming music course reserves.
In 2010, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) gave a $50,000 National Leadership Grant to Indiana University and Northwestern University to plan development of Variations on Video -- since re-named the Avalon Media System -- from August 2010 through June 2011. A second IMLS National Leadership Grant, for $948,000, is helping to support Avalon's development from October 2011 through September 2014. For further information about this grant, see our project abstract and narrative.