Author Archives: Mike Giarlo

Introducing ArchiveSphere

ArchiveSphere is the given name for a project between Penn State University Libraries and Information Technology Services. “Sphere” brands the project as being part of a set of repository services built using Project Hydra technologies; our first such service was ScholarSphere. “Archive” conveys that the project will create services for preserving, managing, and providing access to digital objects, in a way that is informed by archival thinking and practices.

Just what does this mean? We’ve spent the first few months of the project figuring that out ourselves. Many institutions have tested the utility of repository applications like DSpace or Fedora to store and deliver digital objects acquired as part of larger (and largely analog) archival collections. But what are the characteristics of storage and delivery?

With ArchiveSphere, we will provide a platform that archivists can use to deposit hierarchies of digital material from legacy media. The system will preserve the relational and hierarchical connections between files, while also providing archivists with tools that permit rearrangement and classification. Preservation actions like file characterization and normalization will be automated, as will virus checking and provenance event logging. We will leverage existing collection-level description found in collection management tools in a way that makes explicit the connections between digital and analog materials in hybrid collections. Access mechanisms will be provided that build on some of the great features found in ScholarSphere such as persistent unique identifiers, full-text indexing, integrity checking, and simple deposit, while also leveraging traditional archival discovery mechanisms like finding aids.

We’ve identified four main phases for development: 1) ingest and preservation services for archives staff, 2) administrative tools for managing, arranging, and describing submissions for public access and discovery interfaces, 3) integration with ArchivesSpace for holistic management of archival context around repository materials, and 4) alternative submission tools, including self-deposit options for institutional records.

Requirements for phases 2-4 are still in development, and development on phase 1 will begin this summer. (Note that work on phase 1 is focused on an administrative interface rather than a public interface.)

Posted on behalf of the ArchiveSphere project team.

Registration for HydraCamp 2012 is open

Penn State Digital Library Technologies and MediaShelf are delighted to open registration for HydraCamp 2012! HydraCamp is a full week of training for software developers seeking to learn the habits of agile Rails developers and use the Hydra framework to build interfaces for curating and searching complex content. WHEN: October 8th-12th, 2012 WHERE: The Atherton Hotel, State College, Pennsylvania The registration price is set at $375.00 for early registrations completed by August 17, 2012. The registration price after August 17 is set at $425.00. The registration fee covers five days of training, all breakfasts, afternoon snacks & drinks, three lunches, and one dinner. A hotel block has been arranged at the site of the training, the Atherton Hotel, at a rate of $85.00 per night. There are fifteen spaces available, and we expect them to fill up very quickly. We will provide a waitlist after they fill up. Register at your earliest convenience to be guaranteed a space: For more information about the program, logistics, and traveling to central Pennsylvania, see the registration link above. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you in October!

Launching ScholarSphere

The repository services project to which other posts have alluded now has a name: ScholarSphere.

Penn State ScholarSphere is a new research repository service offered by the University Libraries and Information Technology Services, enabling Penn State faculty, staff, and students to share their scholarly works such as research datasets, working papers, research reports, and image collections, to name a few examples. ScholarSphere will make these works more discoverable, accessible, usable, and thus broadly recognized and known. 

The ScholarSphere service will help researchers actively manage stored versions of their research and preserve it, ensuring its longevity over time for future generations of scholars to find, use, and build on. The preservation functions include scheduled and on-demand verifications of deposited works, characterization of files to  mitigate future format obsolescence, regular file backups, and replication to disaster recovery sites.
The repository renders research works immediately citable via stable, short URLs and metadata about research is immediately exportable to citation managers. ScholarSphere enables documentation and description of research data for optimal discovery and curation of data through their lifecycle of use and reuse. 
Researchers will be able to share works stored in ScholarSphere with the Penn State community either by sharing directly with specified individuals or with established groups. Researchers will also be able to share each of their files at different access levels including read-only and edit modes, allowing full control over who can view and edit deposited works. 
A trusted institutional service, ScholarSphere has safeguards in place for keeping private research secure and unchanged over time, as researchers warrant, as well as for keeping access restricted to the individual researcher. 
ScholarSphere will be undergoing usability and accessibility testing throughout the summer for a beta release in September of 2012.  Stay tuned for more information about the ScholarSphere launch and about the technologies underlying ScholarSphere.