Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
TF02: Open Source Code Sustainability
Wednesday, 06/Jun/2018:
9:00am - 10:30am

Session Chair: Karen Estlund, Pennsylvania State University
Session Chair: Rosalyn Metz, Emory University
Location: Ballroom C
Sustainability of open source software systems Notes

Session Abstract

24x7 presentations that focus on the sustainability of open source software developed for scholarly communications and open access collections. The sustainability of open access requires sustainable source code.

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Sustainability Through Simplification: Implementing Jupiter, a Lightweight Rails-Based IR at the University of Alberta

Leah Vanderjagt, Weiwei Shi, Sharon Farnel

University of Alberta Libraries, Canada

In 2017 a major shift in our open source community resulted in a very difficult local decision to redevelop our own Ruby on Rails IR from selected stack components in a 7-month timeframe. To anchor ourselves through this difficult work and its aggressive schedule, we committed to key project principles defining the way we would carry out this work, including strict code management and the use of widely used components from the broader Rails community. We also adopted a user-driven, design-centered iterative development process. We’ve learned critical lessons about our need to continually interrogate our stack and the maintenance burden it carries, and we have shed many features that are not used by our service community. By resisting customization of standard Rails and using design features common to the web outside of the cultural heritage sector - married to solid models that enable us to structure our data in an interoperable way and implement Linked Open Data - we are in a stronger position to maintain our code for the long term. We will explain how rebuilding our repository with a commitment to standard Rails, user evidence, and strict code management is the most locally sustainable development decision we could make.

Fractional agile: how to do iterative development when it’s only part of your job

Robin Dean

Michigan State University, United States of America

Agile development methods such as scrum strongly recommend a dedicated team for software development, meaning that all team members work solely on one project at a time. This is not feasible in many of the academic and open-source community environments where open repositories are developed. This presentation will encourage developers, managers, and open-source contributors to find sustainable ways to participate in agile development even if they can’t dedicate themselves full time to a project. Drawing from my experience as a scrum master on a digital repository team, I will share practical advice on setting expectations, communicating about availability, and maintaining a sustainable pace on a scrum team composed entirely of part-time members.

A Python Library for the Fedora API

Joshua A. Westgard

University of Maryland Libraries, United States of America

A significant advantage of having a well defined and stable Fedora API ( is that it should facilitate the growth of an ecosystem of software tools that will in turn make working with the repository easier. While Samvera and Islandora are well established frameworks for developing applications on top of Fedora, there has not yet been a community effort facilitating development against the Fedora API in Python. At the University of Maryland Libraries, our initial work with Fedora 4 has been focused on a Blacklight- and IIIF/Mirador-based application, with data loaded through a Python-based batchload client. While it remains likely that we will eventually adopt the Samvera framework for developing our digital collections administrative interface, the Python client has in the meantime proven to be highly useful for scripting a wide variety of small interactions with repository resources. As a result, we have decided to abstract out the main classes of the client into their own repository for more general use. In this 24x7 presentation, I will introduce the client library, describe some of its main features, and provide very brief instructions for audience members interested in using the library to do lightweight Fedora scripting.

Scripting in support of repository management: the experience of a non-developer librarian learning and using XQuery to this end

Edward Warga

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, United States of America

As a professional librarian, learning to program has opened up many possibilities for me regarding repository management - from transforming data to creating ad hoc reports and running quality control checks. Facility with a programming language has increased my self-reliance and decreased my dependence on technologist and developer colleagues. During this presentation I will share the story of how I learned the XQuery programming language through professional development activities. I will also share examples of code that I created for repository management activities. Code examples can be found at:

Swamplr: Integrative Web Application for Fedora Commons Collections

Devin Higgins

Michigan State University, United States of America

Forged in the likeness of our libraries’ mythical fountain-dwelling swamp monster, we present Swamplr: a Python- and Django-based web application for working with digital objects both before and after their ingest into a Fedora Commons repository. Our goal was to build a workflow flexible enough to handle materials diverse in content and format, and sturdy enough to do so without requiring overly frequent modifications. Swamplr employs a simple configuration-based protocol for defining collections that allows us to nimbly build new collections while iteratively updating existing ones, without code changes.

Our scrum-based digital repository team has developed this suite of tools based on the needs of our own team, but also in the hope of producing functionality not limited to them. A particularly salient feature: SwamPy allows for batch replace of object datastreams by collection, which has aided in a repository-wide metadata normalization project, the deployment of JSON-LD for search engine optimization, and the addition of supplementary data files to our ETD collection. Aside from ingest functionality, the tool supports the creation of derivatives, automated update of Solr index by namespace, DOI creation, and a job queuing system including a dashboard to monitor progress.

Jekyll and Institutional Repositories

Chris Diaz

Northwestern University, United States of America

Jekyll is an open source publishing system that relies on plain text files to produce websites. Because it was created as a simple blogging platform, Jekyll can be extended to support the journal publishing needs of any library with a scholarly communication or digital scholarship program. Better yet, Jekyll’s lack of an underlying database to organize and store content, in addition to its focus on plain text inputs using standard markup, reduces the amount of overhead needed for preservation. The demand for easy to use, open source scholarly publishing platforms has never been greater. I will present a model for leveraging Jekyll as a scholarly publishing extension to an institutional repository service for academic libraries.

Open Digital Distribution: Becoming Software Agnostic

Patricia Lee Boulie

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, United States of America

In 2016 the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize content from its quarter-inch open-reel audio tape collection and provide public access to that content. By engaging a hybrid model for digital distribution infrastructures, the museum has been able to ensure broader community engagement with digital content, and with more diverse audiences by hosting grant outputs in the Digital Public Library of America, as well as our locally hosted digital archive and other third party digital distribution providers, such as Google Cultural Institute and Getty Images. With this hybrid model, we’re able to ensure open access to the content and metadata records and contribute to a unified national open access repository, while maintaining a local infrastructure that our institution can support—a software with a third-party maintenance support model.

This session will discuss local digitization workflows and preparation of metadata and files for broader digital content distribution, the inter-institutional collaborations that make this possible, use metrics & analytics, and strategy for ongoing support.

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