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Avalon Forum - March 13th at 4:00 Eastern/ 1:00 Pacific


Join us on March 13th, 4:00 Eastern/ 1:00 PM Pacific



  • Using Avalon with a journal: Cultural Anthropology (Marcel LaFlamme)
  • First Look at the Timeliner Tool: Visualizing Music in a Linear Fashion (Maria Whitaker)

To connect to the Avalon Forum during a live event, click here.  



Researcher Marcel LaFlamme will discuss how the scholarly journal "Cultural Anthropology" utilizes Avalon to supplement and support written content with audio and video, sharing ideas how Avalon can bring new life to your scholarly publications.


Avalon has been working with Digirati toward the development of the Timeliner tool.  This feature will enable folks to create a visual representation of audio files.  Examples of use cases include music faculty who wish to show learners how music is broken down into components and parts via visualization on the timeline of an audio file.


As always, we'll be live and we hope you can join us to learn more and ask plenty of questions.  If you can't make it, we'll be placing the video online at the Avalon Forum Tab which links to our Avalon Demo site.


Avalon Forum for February 2019 Now Available!

We held our Avalon Forum for February on the 13th.  As always, we’re making the recording available via Avalon Media System.


We invite you to view the February Forum which covers the following:


  • University of Houston and Avalon - Emily Vinson, Audiovisual Archivist
  • Structural Metadata Editor - Jon Cameron, Dananji Withana - Indiana Univ./ Adam Arling - Northwestern Univ.


And, as always, I do a bit of housekeeping.


You can learn more about the Forum or watch prior Avalon Forum sessions on the Avalon Forum page


Avalon February Forum - 02/13

Avalon Media System will hold our February Forum on 02/13/2019 at 4:00 PM Easter/ 1:00 Pacific


The Forum is a 30 minute webinar in which we discuss the latest at Avalon, invite our colleagues to discuss what’s going on locally with their installation, and provide a development update.


This month we’re featuring:

  • University of Houston and Avalon - Emily Vinson, Audiovisual Archivist
  • Structural Metadata Editor - Jon Cameron, Dananji Withana - Indiana Univ./ Adam Arling - Northwestern Univ.


Emily will share details of how Avalon is implemented at UH, their use cases and how they’d like to develop their use of Avalon. 

Our Avalon team members will talk about the new Structural Metadata Editor, which will enable users to create navigation within any Avalon media.

And, of course, we’ll have some housekeeping announcements and open the floor for questions and queries.


To connect to the Avalon Forum during a live event, click here.  


To view prior Avalon Forum recordings (via Avalon!), click here.


We look forward to seeing you at the Avalon Forum! 


January Forum now available! How to Join the Avalon Community!

On January 15th, Avalon Community Manager, Ryan Steans, invited Avalon users, those curious about Avalon and beyond, to join in and think about Avalon not just as an open source resource, but as a community.


This 30 minute presentation covered a wide number of issues from how to first engage to how to participate in development.


Topics include:  

  • So, you want to check out Avalon? – what folks new to Avalon can do to try the technology
  • Let’s Talk! – Avalon Slack and Avalon List Serves
  • Online and In Person – Avalon Office Hours and Avalon Forum
  • One of Us! –  How you can assist in Avalon development
  • What we’re doing in the coming year – training modules, co-development and more!

To view the video:  click here

To view the slide deck from this presentation:  click here

To learn more about the Avalon Forum and to view prior forum presentations:  click here


For more information or any questions, email me at:

Avalon Forum - December 12, 2018 at 4:00 Eastern!

Join us on December 12th at 4:00, Eastern! (1:00 Pacific)


Topics will include:  

  • Upgrade of Avalon at Univ. of Virginia with Mike Durbin
  • Development efforts in batch upload with Avalon and WGBH with Sadie Roosa and Chris Colvard

You can learn more about the upcoming Forum under: Events or The Forum Link.  


To connect to the Avalon Forum during a live event, click here.  


IU Libraries receives $1.2 million grant to develop ability to search digitized files

Indiana University has received a $1.2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in conjunction with New York Public Library, University of Texas at Austin and information management consultant AVP in order to develop a scalable Audiovisual Metadata Platform, known as AMP, to generate searchable time-stamped descriptions for audiovisual content.  

Read more at the Indiana University website.

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Avalon on the Road! Samvera Connect 2018 and DLF Forum 2018



In October 2018, Avalon Media System team members attended two conferences - Samvera Connect 2018 in Salt Lake City and Digital Library Federation Forum 2018 in Las Vegas.


Samvera Connect 2018


Each year, Samvera Connect provides the Samvera Community with 3 days of conference and a day of workshops to help coordinate and drive the Samvera technologies and communities forward.  This year the event was held at the University of Utah's Marriott Library.  


Marriott Library at the University of Utah.  Giant letters spell out "IMAGINE U"


Members of the Indiana and Northwestern University teams attended workshops on Tuesday October 9th.  Community Tech Lead Chris Colvard and developer Brian Keese (both from Indiana) led a workshop on this day entitled "Enhanced media playback in a Hyrax app using Avalon components".  The session was well attended, and provided food for thought for Avalon users and other Samvera community members considering time based media in their Samvera installations.


Chris Colvard leads a training session at the Marriott Library at Utah


Other events related to Avalon (abstracts from the conference)

Wednesday – Plenary
Avalon Update - Jon Dunn (Northwestern), Carolyn Caizzi & Ryan Steans (Northwestern)
Description: Avalon will demonstrate how an initial plan to re-architect Avalon Media System utilizing the Hyrax stack has paired with efforts to ensure greater sustainability of both Avalon and Samvera as framework and community. Following that goal, the past year the Avalon team has made terrific strides toward the development of Avalon 7, in part through community collaborative work with Hyrax and Samvera teams. Additionally, we'll cover work aimed at preservation and scaled hosting of Avalon, as well as a range of activities including IIIF development for audiovisual media, collaborations with Avalon users, new features such as OHMS integration, our participation in community interest and working groups, and our efforts at outreach to find and assist new and potential users.
Wednesday - Poster Session 
Avalon 7 Roadmap – Development to Sustainability - Maria Whitaker (Indiana) and Ryan Steans (Northwestern)
Thursday – Avalon Related Sessions
My Life in Ops: Docker, Terraform, AWS, and Learning As We Go - Michael B. Klein, David Schober (Northwestern)
Over the past two years, Northwestern University Libraries has moved its repository infrastructure and applications to Amazon Web Services. Our initial solution, presented at Samvera Connect 2017, involved AWS CloudFormation, several different deployment platforms, and a lot of manual intervention. In our second phase, we have adopted a fully automated build/configure/deploy system to stand up Fedora, Solr, PostgreSQL, Redis, a Cantaloupe IIIF server, an Avalon Media System instance, a secure CloudFront streaming media distribution, and two Hyrax applications using Terraform, Docker, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and a whole bunch of homegrown tools and hacks. This presentation will provide an overview of our current system, and hopefully jumpstart some discussions of how these tools can be adopted, standardized, and reused among other members of the Samvera community.
Avalon and IIIF for Audio and Video - Chris Colvard, Brian Keese, Maria Whitaker (Indiana) Adam Arling (Northwestern)
For the past year, Avalon Media System has worked alongside members of the IIIF Community to co-develop the specifications for IIIF Presentation API version 3. This version moves beyond the two-dimensional image plane to include audio and video within the scope of media which can utilize IIIF to describe and manage content for use and re-use both with Avalon and by any viewer capable of presenting an object with a IIIF manifest. Avalon is excited about the possibilities for incorporating shareable structural metadata, as well as the ability to incorporate metadata along the timeline of time-based media. We will provide an overview of IIIF and the application of IIIF to AV content, including structural metadata and other features derived from the IIIF API.
Avalon's Audiovisual Work Type: Incorporating Metadata Changes for Hyrax - Jen Young (Northwestern)
Avalon has developed an audiovisual work type that will be available for use in Hyrax. This work type will keep all descriptive metadata fields currently available for Avalon and include the use of declarations. This presentation will discuss moving from a MODSXML-based work type to a RDF based work type and how that will impact other activities in Avalon such as batch ingest.
UI JavaScript Component Architecture for Consistency and Reusability - Adam Arling (Northwestern)
An overview of modern front-end UI component architecture and patterns. Will showcase case studies in development and implementation decisions in Avalon Media System (platform: Hyrax/Webpacker/React) and Northwestern University's Digital Collections application (platform: React/Redux application built on top of Hyrax in AWS). Will make a case for why UI component architecture is important in community-driven, open-source development, how it can directly benefit the Samvera community moving forward.
Case Studies in Samvera Integration Approaches with OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer) - Jon Cameron (Indiana) Ben Armintor (Columbia)
A discussion of different approaches to integrating the standard tools or approaches of a digital scholarship community (the OHMS tool developed by the Nunn Center at University of Kentucky) with existing Samvera digital repository management & publication systems developed by Indiana and Columbia Universities. Presentations will also touch on data serialization, APIs, and external/new developer teams as integration considerations.
Samvera and IIIF: Opportunities and Challenges - Jon Dunn (Indiana), Hannah Frost (Stanford), Simeon Warner (Cornell), Adam Wead (Penn State)
Adoption of IIIF within the Samvera community has been growing steadily and with the release of Hyrax 2.1, it will be growing faster. At the same time the IIIF community has grown larger, more distributed, and with use cases that extend beyond the Samvera community. How has IIIF adoption provided opportunities for richer user experiences within your Samvera app or new services altogether? How has IIIF led to rethinking your services and architecture and the role of Samvera within them? How can the Samvera and IIIF community, or IIIF users within the Samvera community, best collaborate?
Building on Hyrax and Avalon for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting - Sadie Roosa, Drew Meyer (WGBH)
This presentation will provide an overview of the needs of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, challenges and successes of building a custom application based on Hyrax and Avalon, features developed both within the application and as re-usable components, and how to represent PBCore metadata in a Samvera application.
From Salt Lake City, some of our team drove down to Las Vegas while some who couldn't be at Connect flew in to Nevada.  DLF Forum is annual conference addressing general digital library concerns and innovations, both technological and coultural.  This year it took place south of Las Vegas as the M Resort from October 15th - 17th
We met with colleagues from across the country, represented Avalon and Samvera at a sponsor table (thanks to Utah University) and co-presented with Lyrasis and Artefactual.
Avalon Media System - Developing Toward Sustainability and Community - Jon Cameron (Indiana), Ryan Steans (Northwestern), Carissa Egan (Lyrasis), Ashley Blewer (Artefactual)
This panel will focus on Avalon Media System's work toward Collaborative development, preservation workflow integration, and a recent SaaS pilot. Artefactual, a recognized leader in digital preservation, Lyrasis, an innovative digital libraries services provider, and Avalon Media System team members will provide a status report of our progress.
And, as the event was in Vegas, we made sure we talked shop while walking the strip with our colleagues.  
Ryan Steans (Avalon), Aaron Choate (Univ. of Texas), Ashley Blewer (Artefactual), Bethany Scott & Anne Washington (Univ. of Houston) walk The Strip in Vegas
(l-r, Ryan Steans, Avalon/ Aaron Choate, Univ. of Texas/ Ashley Blewer, Artefactual/ Bethany Scott & Anne Washington, Univ. of Houston) 

Avalon announces the release of 6.4.4

The Avalon Team is happy to announce the release of Avalon 6.4.4

What can you expect in this release?

Updates and Changes

  • Embeds are now able to be tracked with Google Analytics - track views of your media played locally in Avalon as well as where you've embedded it in external websites
  • CAPTCHA configurability added to the comments page
  • Minor updates to Avalon Intercom 

Bug Fixes

  • Resolved issues with file paths that arise in certain system configurations
  • Rubyzip dependency updated to avoid security vulnerability


Avalon 6.4.4 is now available for download at the Avalon GitHub repository.  

Click here to download and to learn more.


For any questions or assistance, please email us at:

Or find us on Slack at:

Joining a Slack team requires an invitation, but anyone can generate an automatic invite to the Samvera Community slack channel using the following form: Samvera Slack invite

For upgrade documentation:
Those interested in exploring Avalon should contact us at:
Our Github:

Avalon Spotlight: Univ. of Alberta Libraries and Chris Want's Contributions to Avalon

As an open source, community-driven application, the Avalon Media System progresses and improves via contributions from users.  A recent example of how our community supports Avalon can be found in the work from Chris Want at the University of Alberta Libraries.
UAL hosts ERA Audio + Video (Education & Research Archive), which utilizes the Avalon Media System.  “Currently [UAL] hosts over 1600 research, instructional, licensed and other types of multimedia resources. Its purpose is to provide a platform for the University of Alberta community to host its own digital audiovisual content in a secure environment built for academic needs, in support of the increasing use of media content in research and teaching. The repository helps to ensure that audio-visual content from the University is properly managed and curated, and will be accessible for many years to come,”  says Weiwei Shi, UAL’s Digital Initiatives Applications Librarian.
Lead developer Chris Want has recently worked to upgrade the Avalon 5 system to Avalon 6, migrating data and ensuring the stability of ERA Audio + Video.  During the migration, Chris remained in constant contact with the Avalon core development teams at Northwestern and Indiana Universities, providing us with updates, and uncovering bugs. His work included  an array of useful upstream code changes that have strengthened the Avalon 6 codebase.  
By reaching out on Slack, contributing to the Avalon codebase via Github and remaining in close contact, Chris has helped make Avalon 6 a better system for anyone who wishes to jump onboard.  This truly collaborative relationship has paved the way for how Avalon can work with more developers while bringing a better system to the community.
However, as Weiwei states, “At the end of the month, we are saying a bittersweet goodbye to Chris as he moves to another position on campus, and we'd like to express our sincere appreciation for the amazing work Chris has done for us over the past few years.”  
The Avalon team wishes to express its sincere thanks to Chris Want for his contributions to the Avalon codebase and to the University of Alberta Libraries for allowing Chris to spend the time necessary to share his experience and his code.  We wish Chris the best of luck and look forward to working with UAL again in the future.