RIRI Rocks: Notes from the Red Island Repository Institute
Ithaca, NY The Fedora framework for building digital repositories along with some of the community initiatives that have helped to fuel its success were the focus of the Red Island Repository Institute (RIRI) 2011 held at the historic Dalvay By The Sea hotel on Prince Edward Island, Canada Sept. 17-22, 2011. Brad McLean, DuraSpace CTO and Chris Wilper, DuraSpace technical lead and developer were on hand to give presentations and meet with this small group of about 25 attendees who were there to get a deep understanding of Fedora details and related Islandora and Hydra projects. RIRI featured a blend of presentations, workshops, and networking sessions, with some attendees also acting as instructors. While attendees were mostly from North America, there were also representatives from as far away as China.
Sessions included basic introductions to Fedora, Islandora and Hydra, technology roadmap presentations for Fedora, Islandora, DuraCloud and Hydra, a substantial tutorial on creating content models, and breakouts featuring featuring robust discussions about using Fedora-based repositories to help preserve digital humanities and scientific data. Experts from the University of Alberta digital humanities department suggested that using a Fedora repository to keep a personal reading history, down to which pages were accessed at particular times of day, will point the way towards the use of repositories as rich, interactive knowledge spaces.
Future Fedora development is already focused on whittling down the core to the most valuable kernel of abstraction around digital objects so that users and developers can access a Fedora repository to serve digital objects with even more flexibility in how they integrate any kind of service. Preliminary discussions on how Islandora and Hydra might better interoperate via content models, access policies, and search sync nicely with the idea of microservices being part of Fedora without being "in it."
Other conversations during the event covered common technology tools and trends; Apache Solr use continues to be universal, and there is increased use of event-driven approaches via JMS solutions.
RIRI video recordings will be made available on the Islandora web site: http://islandora.ca/.
With thanks to Brad McLean and Chris Wilper for help in preparing this report.