What we’ve been up to

This has been a busy year for us and we have taken a multi-pronged approach to meet our programmatic goals. 


1. Digital library platforms

One of the first tasks assigned to our new architect and curator was an assessment of our currently digital library platforms (contentDM, Olive, ETD system, and DPubs). This analysis highlighted gaps in our application suite and also enabled the architect and curator to quickly gain understanding of what that suite looked like. Following the assessment, recommendations were made to decommission one of these applications (DPubs), migrate another to a new platform (ETDs), and improve functionality of the two remaining (contentDM and Olive).


The results of the platform review reinforced our determination to develop a new architecture and platform to support needs not currently being met  – foremost amongst these being the deposit of scholarly content, research data, and electronic business records from the University Archive. We initiated the Curation Architecture Prototype Service (CAPS) project this month with a projected four-month period for the prototype phase. The platform is based on a service-oriented architecture model, and entails the development of “microservices” – atomistic services to support functionalities such as “ingest,” “store,” “replicate,” or “annotate,” for example. The curation microservices approach was developed by the California Digital Library, national leaders in the digital library domain, and is gaining adoption at a steady pace.


2. Research Data

The UL and ITS are currently creating a Data Curation Services Working Group to develop data management services to support our research enterprise and ensure compliance with federal mandates. This effort will initially target pilot projects in three areas: NSF data management requirements; curation services consultation; and research data demonstration projects. We envision using the CAPS platform for the latter.


3. National engagement

In addition to our work at home, we have taken deliberate steps to develop strategic partnerships in our domain at the national level. This fall, with the California Digital Library, we co-sponsored a two-day workshop at UC-Berkeley on microservice development. We had participants from over 30 institutions, and invitations to repeat the workshop at other conferences. We will be co-leading the same workshop at the upcoming International Digital Curation Conference in Chicago in December. These events have successfully put Penn State’s name on the map for curation architecture and technology development, and relationships formed will be very useful as we move forward with the implementation of curation services.


4. Governance

Two new groups have been formed within in the UL to deal respectively with governance (the Content Stewardship Council) and operations (Digital Operations Team) of our projects. A new group is in the process of being formed which will have an advisory and consultative role – more to follow on that. 

And there’s been a lot more happening but I’ll leave it to other team members to take it from here (you know who you are).