This may be the first post to the Hydra-in-a-Box blog, but our planning and design work has been underway for months. Now, with Mike Giarlo joining Stanford as Technical Manager on the project, the team feels complete. We will issue regular blog posts, just like this one, to provide project updates, highlight relevant news in our field that helps put our project in context, and list upcoming opportunities (presentations and the like) to learn more about Hydra-in-a-Box.

Project Update

We are taking full advantage of the fall season’s heavy conference schedule to spread the word about the project and talk with fellow members of the cultural heritage and research communities about what they need in a next-generation repository for digital content. If you missed Hydra Connect 2015 last month in Minneapolis, you still can see the plenary presentation about Hydra-in-a-Box delivered by Mark Matienzo, Project Manager, and Hannah Frost, Product Manager. The slides offer a useful overview of the project’s background, goals, and collaborative partnership. It also explains key components of our user-centered design process, reveals some of the key take-aways from our summer survey, and outlines early technical planning.

Later in the same plenary session, Mike Giarlo and Jon Stroop delivered a presentation on the Portland Common Data Model, better known as PCDM, one of the biggest developments in the SamveraSphere this year. These two presentations served as terrific launching pads for the many in-depth breakout discussions that followed in the rest of the week, discussions that are relevant to Hydra-in-a-Box and other developments in the Samvera community generally. It is exciting to see Samvera as vibrant as ever and the Hydra-in-a-Box project will be all the better for it.

Field Notes

The current issue of DLib Magazine features an article by Ayla Stein and Santi Thompson about their research on repository migrations. We’ve been waiting for the full publication ever since the Open Repositories conference in Indianapolis earlier this year when Stein and Thompson presented a preview of their research, the first formal study on the topic. The article, “Taking Control: Identifying Motivations for Migrating Library Digital Asset Management Systems”, should be of interest to anyone involved in the management of digital collections using a repository system or service, especially if migration is ever a possibility (and it usually is).

Stein and Thompson had conducted a survey focused on “identifying libraries’ motivations for transitioning from one digital asset management system (DAMS) to another, in order to provide access to primary source research materials.” The article describes plenty of noteworthy findings; some of the key takeaways are:

  • “An overarching need for self-autonomy and control drive organizations to migrate from one DAMS to another”, exemplified by a general trend away from proprietary solutions in favor of open source options;
  • Research organizations are looking to simplify and consolidate their system portfolio while supporting increasingly diverse collections with a variety of file formats and content types, simple and complex objects, and multiple metadata schema for “richer and more comprehensive metadata capability”
  • Scalability, extensibility, and customizability are key factors when selecting a new DAMS system.

These findings are (not surprisingly) consistent with what the Hydra-in-a-Box team is learning now in the course of our environmental scan.

Upcoming Presentations

Going to the 2015 DLF Forum in Vancouver? Be sure to attend the project update presentation by Mark Matienzo, Tom Cramer, and Jonathan Markow on Tuesday afternoon. At almost exactly the same time, Hannah Frost will be representing the Hydra-in-a-Box project on a panel about digital asset management systems at the Internet Librarian 2015 conference in Monterey, California. If you will be there, please introduce yourself and say hello!