This month, November 2017, marks the final month of the Hydra-in-a-Box project. Looking back from this milestone, it’s remarkable to recognize the work that went into a long list of accomplishments over the past two and a half years! Interest in the outcomes of our project has exceeded our expectations, and clearly there is a great deal of momentum and drive among the community to continue moving it forward. Read on to learn more about our plans to do just that and how you can help.

The most visible outcome of the project is Hyku. Hyku is the first Samvera-based repository application made available with support for multi-tenancy and easy deployment to the cloud, a major advancement towards the goal of providing a general-purpose application that is well suited to hosted service providers. In addition to the new features that simplify repository deployment and configuration, a number of user-facing features were added to support a broader range of asset management workflows and content types and to present a compact, unified, modern design.

Another important component of our work is an implementation of ResourceSync in Hyku. Developed and tested in collaboration with our project partners at the Digital Public Library of America, Hyku provides an endpoint for harvesting repository resources using ResourceSync, an exciting new avenue for aggregators like DPLA.

The product beta test in May-June 2017 followed by a hosted service pilot program over the summer of 2017. These tests resulted in concrete interest and plans on the part of a number of institutions to leverage Hyku: Ubiquity Press, PALCI, PALNI, and CoSector. Of particular note is the University of Houston’s Bridge2Hyku project also funded by the IMLS.

Based on the results of these activities, we can confidently report that we achieved two primary project goals: (1) to provide a repository application that reduces barriers to adopting the Samvera repository framework for effective asset management and preservation for collections and content types of many kinds; and (2) to offer a cloud-based version of the application and to take steps toward a hosted service. We call it HykuDirect.

The HykuDirect pilot was enormously useful to the project team. Feedback from the participants validated our understanding of the needs of the cultural heritage and research communities, and the direction we must continue to pursue: an open-source, community-based repository that supports a variety of content types and simplifies the process of implementing and managing the system for a variety of users and workflows.

We have documented the gaps revealed through the pilots – gaps in user-facing features as well as the cloud-hosted infrastructure – and the Hyku development backlog has been updated accordingly. To help address these gaps, Stanford and DuraSpace are seeking a bridge grant for growing and sustaining Hyku through three primary activities:

  • Extend development of repository features in line with the gap analysis above
  • Strengthen and validate deployment and support by a diverse network of service providers
  • Work with the Samvera community on governance strategies and stewardship models that can sustain the Hyku product and related services into the future.

If the bridge grant application is successful, we plan to combine grant funds with resources pledged by community members interested in using and providing Hyku services. This mix of participation and ownership of the program aligns with the popular proposal published by David W. Lewis, Dean of the IUPUI University Library, that suggests libraries contribute a percentage of their total budgets to support the infrastructure needed to create the open scholarly commons.

The project partners are heartened by the momentum building around the Hyku project, and we are grateful for the community support received so far. DuraSpace will continue to champion Hyku and is looking forward to working with the community to enhance the product in ways which will make a hosted service, like HykuDirect, possible.

The future of Hyku and HykuDirect is extremely promising, as the interest – and the clear need for this solution – has only grown over the past 30 months. If you’re interested in Hyku and its mission of lowering the barrier of entry to open-source digital repository services, please contact [] to discuss an investment of staff time or funds to the project. We look forward to working together with you!

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