2014 in Review

2014 was a year filled with development milestones and community engagement for the Avalon Media System team. We achieved implementation at both development partner institutions, Northwestern University and Indiana University this year. We also focused on spreading the word about the Avalon Media System across the library and archives community and connected with several institutions planning to implement the Avalon Media System or in the evaluation process. Some of the adopters even started work on new features that will be included in the Avalon core code in 2015.


The Avalon development team also continued their progress throughout the year, embarking upon our first series of minor releases. Continue reading for development, implementation, and presentation highlights from each month of 2014.


In January, Jon, Mark, Julie R., Michael, Chris, and Claire attended the first Hydra Connect meeting on the University of California, San Diego campus. Over the course of four days, the developers and managers of our team joined with other Hydra project participants to synchronize development plans involving the Hydra framework and share their experiences.


In February, the Avalon Media System became compatible with different Learning Management Systems (LMS) that use the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, such as Blackboard, Canvas and Sakai (Sprint 45 – February 21, 2014). Students and faculty members associated with classes gained the ability to view Avalon media items through their institution’s LMS. This feature was an important goal for Avalon since it supports the use of media collections for teaching and learning.


In March, Michael and Julie R. presented “Avalon Media System: Building for Ourselves and Others” at Code4Lib in Raleigh, North Carolina. Their presentation discussed how community engagement has shaped the requirements of the Avalon Media System and emphasized its importance in developing future goals and Avalon’s continued success.  Their 16 foot long graph of Avalon’s dependencies made quite a splash!


In April, the team released Avalon 3.0.


In May, the team began development of Avalon’s first minor release, 3.1. We also began ingesting the Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive’s digital collections into Indiana University’s test instance of the Avalon Media System.


Photo of Open Repositories conference via Flickr user todd.visionShared without alterations under CC BY-SA 2.0<https://www.flickr.com/photos/16894927@N08/14228456869/>


In June, Jon, Claire, and Julie H. attended the Open Repositories conference in Helsinki, Finland. Jon and Claire had the opportunity to discuss and demonstrate Avalon 3.0 at the poster reception.


In July, we celebrated the release of Avalon 3.1 and Northwestern University’s new production instance of the Avalon Media System.


In August, we conducted our first community survey and made connections with six new institutions working on production versions of the Avalon Media System. Around a dozen institutions reported work on pilot implementations and about two dozen institutions reported current or future investigations of Avalon.


Photo via Flickr user MarkNotess. Shared without alterations under CC BY-SA 2.0. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/61919416@N00/15254158978/


In September, Jon, Claire, Mark, Chris, Julie H., Julie R., Brian, Leah, and Michael attended Hydra Connect 2 on the Case Western University campus in Cleveland, OH. Michael demonstrated Avalon during a panel of production systems and Jon participated in the Opening Plenary (see photo above.)


In October, we achieved production implementation at Indiana University. At the Association of Association of Moving Image Archivists Annual Conference in Savannah, GA, Stefan discussed the way the Hydra framework is used at Northwestern University and Jon discussed the Avalon Media System in further depth. At the Digital Library Federation Forum in Atlanta, GA, Julie H. presented a poster on metadata in the Avalon Media System and Jon and Julie R. led a panel discussing experiences with Avalon at five different universities. The Avalon team also began coordinating with the University of Virginia to develop several new features.


In November, Jon, Mark, and Julie R. visited the Yale University Library to demonstrate Avalon and explain its technical architecture and future development plans.


In December, The National Endowment for the Humanities announced the award of a two-year Preservation and Access Research and Development grant to Indiana University and Hydra partner WGBH/Boston to createa Hydra-based digital preservation repository environment for audio and video media that builds on WGBH’s previous work on the HydraDAM system and will integrate with Avalon for access. We ended the year with the release of Avalon 3.2.


Over the course of 2014, we presented at 5 different conferences, completed 22 sprints, and shared one major and two minor releases of the Avalon Media System. We’re looking forward to another productive year, filled with new partnerships and exciting new features. Avalon 4.0 is slated for this spring and will include media processing queue management and more robust metadata features such as media section navigation based on structural metadata and bulk metadata updates for media items. Migration to Fedora 4 is also planned, along with accessibility improvements, playlist and clip creation features, and much more. 


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