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Avalon 4.0.1 Now Available

Indiana University and Northwestern University are pleased to announce Avalon Media System 4.0.1. Release 4.0.1 adds the following capabilities:

New Metadata Fields

Notes, More Identifiers, Table of Contents

Structural Metadata

Navigation by structure, create and edit structure

Wowza Support

Wowza integration with Avalon's authorization

Hydra 8

Latest versions of Fedora 3 backed Hydra dependencies 

Accessibility Phase One

Navigation of web page elements with screen reader and tab key

Using player controls with keyboard

Active Encode

Dependency Simplification - Create a transcoding API to support use of alternative transcoding engines

oEmbed Support

Avalon provides an oEmbed service with autodiscovery headers on item pages

Canvas LTI integration improvements

Avalon provides LTI urls for direct access to item or sections when used with a Course Management System

Offset URLS

Avalon users can now use special URLs to jump to specified points within video or audio files.

 

 

Users of Avalon 3.3 can take advantage of these new features by Upgrading Avalon 3.3 to Avalon 4.0.

 For more details on each of these new features, visit the What’s New in Avalon 4.0 wiki page: https://wiki.dlib.indiana.edu/display/VarVideo/What%27s+New+in+Avalon+4.0

  

Please feel free to try out Avalon 4.0 on our public test server (http://pawpaw.dlib.indiana.edu) before installation.

 

·      Installation options include virtual machine image, manual installation, and source code installation. More information on all available options can be found on the Avalon web site’s Download page: http://www.avalonmediasystem.org/download

 

 

We welcome your feedback on Avalon 4.0 via the avalon-discuss-l discussion list. Join the discussion list at http://www.avalonmediasystem.org/connect

 

 

Avalon 4.0 Will Support Wowza

Many of our partners and potential partners who are interested in running Avalon need to start with a decision about their streaming server.We've heard from many of you that are currently a Wowza shop, and you report that it has worked really well for you, and are thus inclined to stay with Wowza.  Now we can announce that during this last sprint, our developers have made Avalon compatible!

 

For those of you who aren’t aware, Wowza Streaming EngineTM is high performance, extensible and fully interactive media streaming software platform that provides live and on-demand streaming, cha, and remote recording capabilities to a wide variety of media player technologies. The Wowsa Streaming Engine can deliver content to many popular media players such as Adobe Flash Player; Microsoft Silverlight player; Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and Apple QuickTime player (version 10 or later); Android smartphones and tablets; and IPTV/OTT set-top boxes.  Wowza Streaming Engine includes support for many streaming protocols including Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming (Adobe HDS), Apple HTTP Live Streaming (Apple HLS), Microsoft Smooth Streaming, MPEG_DASH streaming, MPEG-2 Transport Streams (MPEG-TS), Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP), Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP), and Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP).  It’s an alternative to the Adobe Media Server, Darwin Streaming Server, Microsoft IIS Media Services and other media servers.

 

Now, Avalon is connected to Wowza, creating an easy solution for many institutions that were already using Wowza for other media streaming projects. 

 

Of course this is blog worthy for a couple of reasons, one being we hope that this will open the door to many Wowza shops, but we also hope that our community is feeling heard as we prepare to release Avalon 4.0.  Your feedback is crucial to making Avalon a success, and we welcome all questions and comments.  The best place to reach out is avalon-discuss-l@list.indiana.edu.

 

Release 4.0 is coming soon – look here for more updates.

Development Goals: APIs

Earlier this year the Avalon Media System received a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This grant allows for the continued development of Avalon over the next two years, through January 2017. But what are the development plans and goals during this time?

 

The Avalon team is developing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that will provide greater flexibility. For one, we will develop an API allowing institutions to automate ingestion of large collections of digitized media using their own customized workflows.

 

Currently, we are developing an API allowing institutions to use the media transcoding engine of their choice. Now, Avalon uses Opencast Matterhorn for the media processing pipeline. But we realize that this is a barrier to adoption for some institutions since, unlike the rest of Avalon, it is a series of OSGI modules which runs under Apache Felix (a Java OSGI server), increasing the complexity of the dependencies. So we are developing an API enabling replacement of Matterhorn with other solutions, such as, but not limited to, Ruby Resque, Amazon Elastic Transcoder, and Zencoder.

 

In the coming weeks we will look at other development goals for the Avalon Media System that will be implemented over the the next two years.

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Sprint 72 Update

During this sprint we continued our work on structural metadata support by implementing a means of uploading structure information in an XML file, whether via the interactive interface or via batch upload. We fixed a timeout problem where the interaction was confusing when the playback session timed out. And we did the metadata and design work necessary for adding new fields to hold imported notes and system IDs from MARC records. We made progress on integrating oEmbed for the player page, which will eventually allow us to support Facebook embeddability.

Issues completed during this sprint:

VOV-484 - I want to upload a multi-part item where the parts represent multiple CDs, each of which have hierarchical structure for within-file navigation.

VOV-3544 - I want to have the player work reliably and not get stuck.

VOV-3549 - I want to know what is needed for notes field(s) and other system IDs.

VOV-3551 - Ensure parameters are passed through with permalinks

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Sprint 71 Update

During sprint 71, we made a number of improvements, fixed several bugs, updated Wiki pages, and upgraded some production servers to Avalon 3.3. We made our first step towards structural metadata, implementing a means of navigating the media player by clicking on structure labels (could be tracks in an audio recording, or scenes in a play or opera, for example). We updated the Avalon demo server with the recent 3.3 release, and Avalon is now upgraded to Hydra 8, which was released on March 31st. The embed code and sharing links are now collapsed under a Share button. Other visual cues have been added to improve the user experience.

 

The specific stories we accomplished during these sprints were:

 

VOV-519 - I want to navigate an audio or video media item by clicking on the scene titles, which are hierarchically displayed

VOV-3401 - I want to right-click on a section label and send the resultant permalink-based URL to someone, and have it work

VOV-3406 - I want to know what is needed for the Transcoding API

VOV-3452 - I want to try out release 3.3 on the demo server

VOV-3454 - I want to see 3.3 on IU prod systems

VOV-3459 - I want to create and upgrade to Hydra 8

VOV-3505 - I want to have some simple examples to test/demo structural metadata navigation with

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Sprints 68-70 update

During sprints 68 and 69 we put the final touches on release 3.3. That work included testing and fixing bugs, writing release documentation and upgrading our local systems. We also had an in-person team meeting during sprint 69 where we started on some major system work including updating our Blacklight and Hydra versions.
 
In sprint 70 we continued our work on Hydra 8 and upgrading to the newest Blacklight. The team also started investigating what it would take to make Avalon work with Fedora 4. We also started work on two new features, structural metadata and a transcoding API. During this sprint, we made progress on designing these features as well as implementing the ability to navigate to a specific time offset via URL. 
 
Release 4 will include the ability to add structural metadata to media items via the batch process. This will allow viewers to more easily navigate to specific segments within media, for example a specific track on a CD. Another major feature in Release 4 will be a transcoding API. This API will allow Avalon to use additional transcoding services in addition to the current Matterhorn option. 
 
The specific stories we accomplished during these sprints were:
 
I want to configure MARC import for my institution
 
I want 3.3 to work robustly
 
I want to be able to manage my disk space and not have Matterhorn fill it up mysteriously
 
As a new developer, I want to come up to speed on Avalon
 
I want to upgrade to 3.3
 
I want to know how to use the new 3.3 functionality
 
I want to have the item page work well even when extensive structural metadata is displayed
 
I want to configure MARC import for my institution
 
I want 3.3 to work robustly
 
I want to be on the latest version of backlight
 
I want to try out release 3.3 on the demo server
 
I want to see 3.3 on IU prod systems
 
I want to create and upgrade to Hydra 8
 
I want to understand the impact of upgrading Avalon to Fedora 4
 
I want to understand the options for functional test tools
 
I want to have a url move the scrubber to a specific time offset within a file
 
I know further details of the structural metadata UI design

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Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant Received

We're happy to announce that the Indiana University Libraries and Northwestern University Library have received a new $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support work on Avalon development and community building through January 2017. See the press release for more information.

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Avalon 3.3 Now Available

Indiana University and Northwestern University are pleased to announce Avalon Media System 3.3. Release 3.3 adds the following capabilities:

  • MARC Metadata Import
  • Ingestion of pre-transcoded derivatives with multiple quality levels 
  • Script for recovering disk space taken up by temporary Matterhorn files
  • UI Improvements and Bug fixes

Users of Avalon 3.2 can take advantage of these new features by Upgrading Avalon 3.2 to Avalon 3.3.

 

For a more comprehensive list of changes, see the 3.3 release notes.

 

For more details on each of these new features, visit the What’s New in Avalon 3.3 wiki page: https://wiki.dlib.indiana.edu/display/VarVideo/What%27s+New+in+Avalon+3.3

 

Please feel free to try out Avalon 3.3 on our public test server (http://pawpaw.dlib.indiana.edu) before installation. Installation options include virtual machine image, manual installation, and source code installation. More information on all available options can be found on the Avalon web site’s Download page: http://www.avalonmediasystem.org/download 

 

We welcome your feedback on Avalon 3.3 via the avalon-discuss-l discussion list. Join the discussion list at http://www.avalonmediasystem.org/connect

 

Sprint 57 – February 6, 2015

With this sprint, the Avalon team completed work on one of the main new features of Release 3.3: importing descriptive metadata from an online public access library catalog (OPAC) into Avalon. This may be accomplish via batch ingest by using a bibliographic record identification number. The metadata import functionality will be configurable to meet local cataloging practices and currently includes catalog key, Online Computer Library Catalog (OCLC), and Library of Congress Control Numbers (LCCN) identifier types as options.

 

We are continuing to improve disk space management for system administrators and messages about the status of bulk actions on media items for collection managers. Next, we will be testing the 3.3 release candidate in preparation for the upcoming release.

 

Learn the details of each story and view our Sprint Demo recording below:

 

Sprint 67 – February 6, 2015 Demo Recording

 

  • VOV-1640 – When adding items via batch, I want to pull in the bibliographic info from the OPAC
  • VOV-3353 – I want to be confident for bulk updates that something is happening and know when it will finish
  • VOV-3358 – I want to apply 3.2.2
  • VOV-3318 – I want to configure MARC import for my institution
  • VOV-3309 – I want 3.3 to work robustly
  • VOV-3246 – I want to be able to manage my disk space and not have Matterhorn fill it up mysteriously

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HydraDAM2

The National Endowment for the Humanities recently awarded the Indiana University Libraries and WGBH Boston a grant to support the development of HydraDAM2. This preservation-oriented digital asset management system for time-based media will improve upon WGBH’s existing HydraDAM system and work seamlessly with the Avalon Media System for user access, among other features. 

 

Both HydraDAM and the Avalon Media System grew from the Hydra community. Hydra is an open source technology framework that supports the creation of preservation and access applications for digital assets based on the Fedora repository system. A community of institutions known as the Hydra Partners works together to maintain the framework and create applications for local or shared use by libraries, archives, and cultural institutions. Both Indiana University and WGBH Boston are among the 25 Hydra Partner institutions. Indiana University is collaborating with Northwestern University on the development of the Avalon Media System and WGBH developed the original HydraDAM system with help from the Data Curation Experts group.

 

HydraDAM

The current version of HydraDAM is designed to help libraries, archives, and cultural institutions preserve audio and video files. HydraDAM accepts batches of files via FTP or a browser upload, extracts technical metadata, and moves the files and metadata into a Fedora 3 based preservation repository and a hierarchical storage management system. HydraDAM accepts multiple file formats. Via the user interface, users may also edit metadata and set access controls.

 

Watch a demo of HydraDAM during an Open Source Digital Preservation and Access session at the Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference 2014 (start at 35 minutes):

 

The Avalon Media System

The Avalon Media System is focused on the needs of these same types of institutions in providing access to digital audio and video. The software is designed with particular metadata and authentication capabilities, along with many other features that support its usefulness for students, researchers, and teachers. Avalon is currently in production or in production planning at several institutions.

 

HydraDAM2

In the HydraDAM2 project, Indiana University and WGBH will:

 

1) Extend HydraDAM to work on Fedora 4

 

2) Develop Fedora 4 content models for audio and video preservation objects based on current standards and best practices and utilizing new features in Fedora 4 for storage and indexing of RDF

 

3) Implement support in HydraDAM for two different storage models, appropriate to different types of institutions:

a. direct management of media files stored on spinning disk or on tape in a hierarchical storage management (HSM) system; and

b. indirect management and tracking of media files stored offline on LTO tapes

 

4) Integrate HydraDAM into preservation workflows that feed access systems including Avalon and WGBH’s Open Vault and conduct testing of large files and high-throughput workflows

 

5) Document and disseminate information about implementation and experience to the library, archive, digital repository, and audiovisual preservation communities

 

HydraDAM2 builds upon the philosophy, purpose, and experience of the HydraDAM, Avalon Media System, Open Vault, and Fedora projects. It will support digital preservation of time-based media files in a way that can easily be tied in with access. The Avalon team is very excited to see this project develop and be shared with the community.

 

 

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