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Avalon Sprint Review #153

Jon Cameron (Indiana) hosts and Adam Arling (Northwestern) stars in Sprint Demo #153 


See our first public demo of the IIIF stand-alone player


View here


Runtime:  6 minutes, 30 seconds

Avalon Forum - June 13th at 4:00 PM

Avalon will host the second Avalon monthly forum on Wednesday, June 13th at 4:00 Eastern.

Topics will include:  

  • Northwestern University – Avalon for e-Reserves Media Distribution (Molly Zolnay and Natalie Pelster)
  • Avalon and IIIF for Video (Adam Arling and Brian Keese)


The Forum will last approx.. 30 minutes.


If you can’t make it, we’ll be posting the presentation video to the Avalon Demo site within the days following.  (Our first Forum is here.)


To join the Meeting:


To join via Room System:

Video Conferencing System: -or-

Meeting ID : 730726712


To join via phone :


1)  Dial:

                +1.408.740.7256 (United States)

                +1.888.240.2560 (US Toll Free)

                +1.408.317.9253 (Alternate number)

                (see all numbers -


2)  Enter Conference ID : 730726712

Avalon Releases version 6.4.2

The Avalon Media System team is happy to announce the release of Avalon 6.4.2.  
This release contains two new features:
  • Adaptive Bitrate Streaming - Avalon can be configured to provide an additional quality setting, auto, within the media player. When auto is selected, the browser will automatically select the quality level best suited for the user's available bandwidth.
  • InterCom - a service which allows organizations hosting more than one Avalon Instance to push items from one Avalon instance to the other.  Users may perform this task with individual items or in bulk.
In addition, Avalon 6.4.2 has corrected minor bugs which will improve performance of the system.
6.4.2 was released as code on April 20th, 2018.  The first upgrade to a system (Avalon Demo System) occurred shortly thereafter.  Indiana upgraded Media Collections Online on 05/08/2018.
For a walkthrough demonstration (approx. 26 minutes) please visit this link.  
Those interested in exploring Avalon should contact us at:

Indiana Libraries teaming with WGBH and AVP to Configure Avalon for American Archive of Public Broadcasting

Under a grant from the Andrew A. Mellon Foundation, Indiana University is partnering with AVP and WGBH Educational Foundation on behalf of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting to configure Avalon Media System to ingest, manage and provide access to 70+ years of digititized public broadcasting content.


To see the full press release, please visit the American Archive of Public Broadcasting website.

Blog Categories:

Join Us for the Inaugural Avalon Forum: May 2, 4:00 PM Eastern

Inaugural Avalon Forum

May 2, 2018 - 4:00 PM Eastern, 1:00 PM Pacific


  • Duration:  Approximately 30 minutes
  • Who should attend:  current users of Avalon Media System,  those who are considering Avalon as a solution for managing the audio and visual resources of their organization.  Librarians, archivists, administrators, developers, DevOps and SysAdmins - if you are working with audio and/ or visual media, we'd love to hear from you.


The Avalon Forum is a new, monthly webinar series providing the Avalon Community with an opportunity to learn about:

  • the direction and development of Avalon
  • community activities and opportunities
  • how your colleagues are using the system

and, we hope you will take us up on the opportunity to speak directly to the Avalon team, ask questions and tell us about the challenges you're facing as you take on video and audio.


In this first Forum, we will provide a history of Avalon, describe current efforts and share our plans for future development.  We'll also discuss how we're working with the Samvera and Hyrax Communities, how you can participate to help ensure Avalon grows in useful directions, and provide opportunity for community feedback.

In future installments of the Avalon Forum, we'll be showcasing how your colleagues are using Avalon Media System.  We'll also discuss opportunities for outreach, training and other ways we can enhance the Community. 

We hope you'll be ready and willing to spotlight the good work at your institution or organization.


Ways to join the Avalon Forum:

To join via Room System:
Video Conferencing System: -or-
Meeting ID : 965324578
To join via phone :
1)  Dial:
+1.408.740.7256 (United States)
+1.888.240.2560 (US Toll Free)
+1.408.317.9253 (Alternate number)
(see all numbers -
2)  Enter Conference ID : 965324578

Avalon 7 Development: Call for Community Participation!

In Spring 2018, The Avalon Team will begin work on Avalon 7.  As we move down this pathway, we want to invite you to join us, and help build a better Avalon!


As part of our commitment to the Samvera Community, Avalon 7 will be developed as a feature-parity-plus re-architecting of the Avalon 6 solution bundle.  Rather than developing a stand-alone and redundant Samvera stack, this version will utilize Hyrax/ Samvera as the underlying core.  In doing so, Avalon will focus on development of audio and video access and delivery technologies, leaning on the trusted capabilities of Hyrax and Samvera.  


Benefits will include: 

  • allowing adopters to learn and manage fewer stacks
  • allowing adopters to consider utilizing a single Avalon/ Hyrax instance for IR and other repository needs
  • synchronicity between Avalon and Hyrax development 
  • Avalon development team participating in and advancing Hyrax development
  • Avalon feature developments resulting in contributions back to Hyrax


We are now seeking members of the community interested in joining us in co-developing Avalon 7. 



How you can participate:


Community Sprint Cycles

Sprint Cycles will last about 6 - 8 weeks, broken into regular, bi-weekly sprints, at which time contributors can join us or step away.  Community Sprint Cycles will not begin until April, but if you would like the opportunity to become familiar with Hyrax, as well as the Avalon feature set, we would very much like to discuss your interest.  


Pull Requests

Further, we are aware that many potential contributors may not be able to work on our timeline or may wish to work in short bursts on particular areas of interest.  If you prefer to work on individual pieces of Avalon, even out of band from the sprint cycles, we can certainly welcome the expertise of the community. 


For Non-Developers

Developing a system requires the input and know-how of a wide-variety of experts.  If you would like to join us in a role such as: 

  • Quality Assurance/ Testing
  • product feedback
  • metadata oversight
  • media or music librarian... 

 Your participation can help make Avalon a system that meets the needs of an even wider community.  


Stay in the Loop

To see what is occurring with Avalon, and to get an idea where we're headed, please visit the Avalon Roadmap.

You may also wish to join our communication channels, or review our project progress.  


To let us know you'd like to consider joining us in Avalon 7 Development - please fill out the survey at the link:

If you have any questions, please just let us know:





-Ryan Steans

Avalon Community Manager
















Avalon 6.3 Now Available

  • The Avalon Media System team is proud to announce the release of Avalon 6.3.  
    This version is now available for download at the Avalon Media System GitHub.  
    Co-developed at Indiana University and Northwestern University, Avalon 6.3 delivers several new features requested by the community.  
    Media Player Upgrade
    Version 6.3 utilizes the latest version of MediaElement.js, stepping away from RTMP and moving to HLS.  
    • Adobe Flash Player no longer required for media playback - users may now view video in HTML5-based formats, meeting modern browser requirements
    • A loading indicator displays in the Media Player while content loads, alerting users to status
    • More intuitive navigation thanks to a refresh of look and feel for the Media Player
    • Users can now create their own "Tags" for playlists.  This feature enables users to better organize, "search for" and "sort by" playlists
    • Save preferences for sorting of the playlist index page, allowing users to return to a persistent view of the playlists each time they log in
    AWS Support
    Refactoring of the components necessary for better deployment and operation of Avalon on Amazon Web Services 
      Improved Batch Ingest Functionality
    • During batch uploads, users can now re-upload metadata via spreadsheet to sort out issues prior to publication 
    • Improved batch ingest operations allow for large numbers of items to upload with greater ease
    • System emails regarding failure of batch ingests are now more explicit regarding the source of the issue
    Bug Fixes and Minor Changes
    • Playlist items no longer intermittently skip
    • Issues with LTI login have been resolved
    Version 6.3 completes the majority of the work planned for Avalon 6.  While users can expect the Avalon development team to issue maintenance releases and minor improvements, in February 2018, development focus will shift to Avalon 7 (please stay tuned for additional announcements and how you can participate!).
    Development of Avalon is supported in part by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
    For more information on Avalon Media System, please visit our website or contact us:

Blog Categories:

Concordia University - Digital Preservation and Access With Avalon

The following is a guest post by Tomasz Neugebauer of Concordia University.


In early December 2016, the participants of the Literary Audio Symposium at Concordia University explored the literary historical study, digital development, and critical and pedagogical engagement with collections of spoken recordings. Many recordings are already accessible online through repositories such as PennSound and the Cylinder Archive Project, but the potential benefits of collaborative and coordinated development of digitized spoken-audio archives for scholars, teachers and the public are only beginning to be realized.


Jared Wiercinski, Tim Walsh, and Tomasz Neugebauer gave a presentation about digital preservation and access with Avalon and Archivematica at the symposium. Concordia Library’s interest in digital preservation and access to audio/video collections was primarily inspired by an ongoing discussion with Concordia’s Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. COHDS developed a custom software solution in 2010 called Stories Matter for managing audio/visual oral history data, but the software had faced challenges with sustainability of development, insufficient digital preservation functionality, and lack of integration with a web browser. A summary of that presentation is provided below.


We began our needs analysis for supporting audio/visual research collections by looking to support the functionality developed in Stories Matter, including:

  • The ability to manage the structure of oral history metadata, which is divided into projects, interviewees, sessions, and clips
  • Providing for item level permission levels for access
  • Attaching transcripts, additional documents, and interviewer observations
  • Save/edit/browse playlists

We also desired a specialized research workflow functionality for interoperability within the library platform. For example, it should be possible to extract the data from the repository using formats to be ingested into research tools that can generate tag clouds and network visualizations of the data.


In an ideal world, digital preservation and access for all formats would be accomplished within the same system, but in reality, different access systems exist for target formats and audiences. Avalon Media System is designed to provide access to large collections of digital audio and video, alongside a community of educational, media, and open technology institutions. As audio/video collections are of interest to Concordia Library, Avalon is highly appealing, but it also presents a challenge, as we also need to provide access to text and image objects. Ensuring the enduring usability, authenticity, and discoverability of these materials requires a dedicated digital preservation system supporting a wide range of document types. Archivematica was selected as the open source digital preservation solution that will be used for preservation planning, identification, characterization, and migration tasks.


Our rationale for selecting Avalon as a top choice centers on our need of a system for qualitative research data in audio/video format. The strengths of Avalon include its evolution out of the successful Variations Digital Music Library project from Indiana University Bloomington, and its strong development community with a proven record of feature-packed releases. The key features of Avalon that make it a top choice for an access system include:

  • Hierarchical structure of objects, with units, collections, items, sections, and time-stamped start and end points
  • Sophisticated access and permission controls at collection and item level
  • Robust metadata and faceted discovery
  • Playlists including items and sections, public or private
  • Captions and subtitles
  • Integration with HydraDam2 and the Spotlight exhibition tool


Additionally, while Avalon’s excellent support for video is a key requirement for oral history, the fact that Avalon acknowledges audio as a distinct format with unique requirements is important for spoken word content and other audio types. Audio research data is important for scholarly research in many disciplines; Mark R. Roosa’s (2015) “Sound and Audio Archives” ( In M. V. Cloonan (Ed.), Preserving our heritage: perspectives from antiquity to the digital age (pp. 278-287). London: Facet Publishing.) lists multiple audio types such as Linguistic, Folklore, Oral history, Ethnographic, Dialectic, Music, Ethnomusicology, Bioacoustics, and Spoken word (p. 279). Although commercial tools like Soundcloud and Spotify offer robust functionality, there is a large gap left from these tools concerning how audio is utilized in institutional repositories. Avalon helps to fill this functionality.


The fact that an upcoming version of Avalon will integrate the Spotlight exhibition tool developed at Stanford University is particularly promising. Spotlight extends the repository ecosystem by providing a means for reusing digital content in other scholarly websites, allowing for the possibility of pulling content out of Avalon and into new research contexts.


Our concerns for Avalon, in addition to its limited capabilities for non-audio/video documents, include its composition of a complex set of software components that can be difficult to install and maintain. There are also missing features in Avalon that we hope will be added, such as administrative, technical and provenance metadata; transcription integration; the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer integration mentioned in the development roadmap; specialized research workflow interface (comparable to a platform like Databrary); and user annotations. Community sustainability is also a concern, as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant that secured its development is ending in January 2017.  However, we are delighted to learn about the recent IMLS grant to support the sustainability of Avalon through, among other developments, the integration of Archivematica. Ideally, in the long term, a workflow for ingesting content from Archivematica’s Dissemination Information Packages (i.e., access files optimized for the Web) into Avalon would need to be developed. In the short term, it is possible to keep the workflows separate and rely on Avalon directly for all transcoding during ingesting.
The presentation at the Literary Audio Symposium raised questions that we continue to consider. From a software architecture point of view, what conditions are necessary to facilitate the development of a sustainable feature-rich access platform for audio/video content? Does audio/video content need to be accessible in a separate system, or can it be accommodated in the same digital asset management system as all other special collections formats? Given that there is an inherent lack of awareness around digital preservation issues, how do we promote the development of sustainable and responsible preservation planning for audio and video? Should we continue to build a wide variety of niche repositories, or aim towards a strategy of using centralized repositories? Ultimately, governments and cultural institutions including libraries, archives, and museums have the responsibility of preserving digital research and cultural content, as well as making it accessible.

Avalon Media System 6.2

Indiana University and Northwestern University are pleased to announce Avalon 6.2 The newest version of Avalon includes a substantial number of improvements to the playlist feature, various bug fixes, and a preview of the MediaElement4 player. 

 A few of the playlist improvements include:

  • A new visibility option, Share By Link, restricts viewing access to a playlist to users who have a unique and obfuscated URL
  • Add all selected items to a playlist
  • Add a section or all sections of an item to a playlist
  • Playlist items can be copied from one playlist to another
  • Entire playlists can be copied
  • Playlist markers can be clicked to navigate to their respective time points

For the full release notes about Avalon 6.2, please refer to the Release page on GitHub.


If you have any questions, feel free to email a member of the team, ask questions through the Avalon discussion list (subscribe at our Connect page) or the Samvera community lists, or ping us on the #avalon channel on the Samvera Slack team.

Demo for Sprint #134

Avalon's most recent demo video for Sprint #134 is now ready. The video demonstrates the following features:

  • Unique shareable links for sharing private playlists
  • Adding sections of an item to a playlist generates descriptive names
  • Streaming on AWS Cloudfront with the updated media player
  • LTI authentication for playlists

You can view the demo video here: Sprint #134


To view past Sprint demos, view the Avalon Sprint Demo Collection.


Our waffle board#Avalon slack chat on the Samvera Community channel and our renewed commitment to shareable sprint demos are all measures to bring community insight and inspiration to the Avalon code and design.