Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Avalon Media System?

Avalon Media System is an open source system to enable libraries and archives to provide online access to video and audio collections. Avalon supports the ingest, media processing, management, and access-controlled delivery of library and archive managed video and audio collections.


How does Avalon Media System work?

Avalon Media System draws on several existing, mature, open source technologies:

  • The ingest, search, and discovery functionality of the Samvera framework

  • The streaming capabilities of nginx (open source) and Wowza Media Engine (proprietary)


Who are the primary users of Avalon Media System?

Libraries and archives who need a solution for managing and providing online access to their audio and visual collections


What are the key benefits of Avalon Media System?

  • Support for robust library metadata, including structural metadata to facilitate navigation within long media piece

  • Single item or batch media and metadata ingestion

  • Support for a variety of authentication schemes

  • Flexible access control for group and user management

  • Full mobile support

  • Integration with course management systems

  • User tools for making playlists and clips, and working with transcripts and annotations

  • Discovery using faceted search and browse


How did Avalon Media System get started?

No open source tool exists that truly serves the needs of academic libraries, archives, and the higher education enterprise for managing access to streamed video and audio collections and enabling their use by students and faculty. Support for deep description in the form of structural or time-based metadata, robust authentication and authorization, and integration with repositories providing services for long term preservation are key areas where these tools most often fall short. In September 2011, the Variations on Video project was funded by a National Leadership Grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


How do I download and implement Avalon Media System for my institution?

There are several options for running the current version of Avalon: through a Docker image, manual install, or on AWS. If you aren't ready to download and would just like to try out Avalon, you can explore the software on our demo server. If you have questions about the software please contact us


How can my institution become a partnering institution in Avalon Media System?

Your institution is free to use Avalon Media System by trying out or installing the current release code. You can also get involved by providing feedback on requirements listed by the project. For more information, contact us.


Whom can I contact with questions about Avalon Media System?

Please subscribe to our notification list for updates on Avalon Media System and its availability. To discuss evaluation, piloting, or implementation of Avalon, please subscribe to our discussion list. You may also use our contact form to obtain specific information on supporting adoption, installation and implementation of Avalon Media System at your local institution.


Is Variations on Video the same project as Avalon Media System?

Yes. We changed the name from Variations on Video to Avalon Media System to prevent its being confused with the Variations Digital Music Library System.  Moving forward from Release 6, a number of the playlist capabilities supported by Variations are included.


What type of license does the Avalon Media System have?

Avalon is released under an Apache 2.0 open source license.