Islandora CLAW (formerly known as Islandora 7.x-2.x) is the next generation of Islandora. Still in development, this major upgrade will be compatible with Drupal 8 and Fedora 4. For more details, please check out the following resources:
Latest CLAW News
Next week the Open Repositories conference in Brisbane, Australia will begin. Islandora will be there, with an exhibit table where you can stop by to chat and pick up the latest and greatest in laptop stickers, an electronic poster in the Cube, and several sessions that may be of interest to our community:
- Repository Rodeo Redux
- Working Together: Varied needs coalesce in the Import-Export community effort (Fedora 4)
- Islandora Update: Unveiling the CLAW
- Islandora CLAW: What’s Under the Shell
- Ingestion Workflow for CUHK Digital Repository on Islandora: Bringing to light the Chinese Rare Books and ETDs metadata in MARC
For the full schedule and more information about the conference, check out the Open Repositories 2017 website.
Have you ever installed Islandora yourself? Do you think it could be a better experience? Would you like to spare yourself, the community, and all the potential adopters out there the difficulties of installing an entire repository solution from scratch? Then the Islandora Foundation is calling on you to help make that possible.
Now that the core of CLAW is shaping up, we plan on holding a series of sprints to implement and document a modular installation process that will benefit everyone. We know that there is a deep well of knowledge and experience out there in the community, and we're hoping motivated individuals and organizations will step forward and commit to being part of this process. Identifying as a stakeholder will give you influence over the direction that this effort takes if you're willing to put in the time to make it happen.
Work will commence in July, but it will be in a different format than before. Before any programming or documenting gets started, we're asking for stakeholders to be involved in a series of planning meetings to identify the scope of work to do be done for each sprint.
So if you're interested in being involved with the creation of what will be one of the greatest features of CLAW, please respond to this doodle poll for an initial informative meeting about being a stakeholder. At the meeting, we will be discussing the new sprint format in detail, what it means to be a stakeholder, as well as prior efforts to give people the context they need to decide if they want to be involved. So if you're curious, please feel free to stop by. And if you don't feel like participating in conversation but just want to listen in, that's okay. As always, lurkers are welcome.
Our second Islandoracon is complete! From May 15th to 19th, 105 members of the Islandora community came together to spend their time sharing experiences, tools, knowledge, and their hopes and fears for the future of Islandora.
We kicked off the week with a Hack/Doc at McMaster University. A Hack/Doc is a variation on the traditional hackfest or hackathon model that puts an up-front emphasis on making use of a variety of skills and experience beyond programming, such as documentation, research, and testing. This model debuted in the Islandora community amongst the members of the Islandora Collaboration Group, and they provided excellent advice to adapt and adopt for Islandoracon. We also wanted to really promote collaboration by gathering bigger teams around just a few topics. Finally, we wanted the Islandoracon Hack/Doc to be an opportunity for the Islandora community to work with and contribute to Islandora CLAW, while building tools and documentation that will genuinely move the project forward and help the broader community, so we picked three projects based on Islandora CLAW (shown here with their filled-up whiteboards):
1. Writing Islandora Claw basic user documentation like the "How To" pages for Islandora 7.x
2. A Demo module in the style of the 7.x Porcus module model, made with Drupal 8.
3. Specifications or MVP needs for the Islandora Scholar module for CLAW.
How did it go? After a few hiccups with technology (and an Islandora CLAW MVP sandbox that only came into existence the night before), these three teams did some amazing work with lasting impact. The documentation team wrote a remarkable amount of introductory user documentation explaining the parts of Islandora CLAW, and work is underway to move it into the main documentation. The porcus team built the basics of a demo module with Drupal 8, which is open for continued work. The scholar MVP team has a great start on a document and is looking for more feedback to finalize it.
After the Hack/Doc, Islandoracon moved to beautiful Liuna Station, a converted train station.
May 16th and 17th were filled with regular sessions and May 18th was given over to 90-minute workshops on specifics topics in Islandora. We've put up links to as many slide decks as possible in our conference schedule so that you can review. Some highlights:
- An update on the Islandora CLAW project as the MVP gets an alpha release
- Islandora Multi-Importer: A Better Tool for Massive, Complex and Diverse Object Ingesting into Islandora
- A look at the Oral Histories Solution Pack
- Pushing Islandora's limits at the Hamburg Centre for Language Corpora
- Tips and Tricks to better understand and use your Solr
- Using Islandora as a data repository
We ended the week at the Hamilton Public Library with two half-day workshops: one on the Move to Islandora Kit and the other on Fedora 4. That afternoon held a meeting of the IR Interest Group and a free-form group discussion about the future of Islandora CLAW and how the Islandora community can become more engaged in development, which helped to inform our new Islandora CLAW FAQ and some changes to how we communicate about the project in general.
Last week was Islandoracon, our community's biggest gathering. We had a great week (and there will be more on that in another post), and a chance to unveil an early alpha version of the Islandora CLAW Minimum Viable Product. This first look at the product also kicked off a lot of questions, so we decided to gather them together with some answers:
When will Islandora CLAW be done?
Islandora CLAW won’t be done until it is deprecated in favor of whatever comes after it in the distant future. Islandora is an active community that constantly builds new tools and improves existing ones.
The Islandora CLAW MVP is scheduled for beta release at the end of June, 2017. The timeline for a full release will depend on community engagement and what features we map out together as necessary for the next phase.
The Islandora CLAW MVP does not do [thing that we really really need]. Are we going to be left behind?
The Islandora CLAW Minimum Viable Product is just a jumping-off point. Since we recognize that it can be challenging to review and comment meaningfully on a concept or a technical spec, the MVP version of CLAW is intended to give the Islandora community a tangible product to work with so that you can engage with the project and help to make sure your use cases are a part of the software as development continues.
Completing the MVP is a beginning for more community-driven development, with a very basic start on a product that the community can now test out and respond to.
How do I join in?
A good place to start is the CONTRIBUTING.md file included on all Islandora CLAW modules. It outlines how to submit a use case, feature request, improvement, or bug report. It also has details about our weekly meetings (‘CLAW Calls’), which are open for anyone to join.
While the meetings may seem very technical, we really mean it when we say anyone is welcome add items to the agenda. If we seem to spend most of our calls discussing very technical issues, that’s because we fall back on tickets and issues when no one has given us something more general to dig into. If you have questions or concerns, putting it on the agenda ensures that there is time and attention reserved for what you need to discuss.
You are also welcome to join the call and not say a thing. We take attendance, but that’s all the participation that’s required. If you would like to just listen to the discussion and get a feel for how things are going, lurking is a popular option, and a way that some very active contributors got their start.
You can also learn more about Islandora CLAW from these introductory pages:
- What's Different Between Islandora 7.x and Islandora CLAW
- Intro to CLAW
- Intro to Linked Data for CLAW
Details of the MVP are here.
What is the MODSPOLCALYPSE? Are we losing MODS in CLAW?
The term “MODSPOCALYPSE” is an exaggeration made in jest about the fact that Islandora CLAW will have to deal with legacy MODS XML in a linked data/RDF world. While CLAW handles RDF as its native language (like Fedora 4), MODS is doable if we put in the work. The challenge is in mapping MODS to RDF, and that’s something we need to do as a community. If we can come together and agree on a standard mapping, the technical implementation will be relatively easy
Because this is not just an issue for Islandora, lot of work has already been done by the MODS and RDF Descriptive Metadata Subgroup in the Hydra community. To help achieve this vital mapping, please join as the Islandora Metadata Interest Group takes the lead on community discussions for Islandora.
Instead of a MODSPOCALYPSE, let’s consider this our “RDFnaissance.”
Will we have XML Form Builder in Islandora CLAW?
XML Form Builder is an amazing tool that plays an important role in Islandora 7.x. It is also an extremely complex tool that carries a significant maintenance burden that is challenging to meet even in the 7.x stack. Reproducing it in Islandora CLAW is unlikely to happen unless an institution or group in the community adopts it as a project and donates the work to the Islandora Foundation.
Editable metadata forms are definitely going to continue to be a part of Islandora CLAW. They are being handled in Drupal, which should be a more sustainable and accessible approach for both developers and end-users.
How long will Islandora 7.x be supported?
Islandora 7.x will be supported as long as the Islandora community needs for it to be supported. The goal of developing CLAW is not to push adoption, but to prepare for it when the majority of the Islandora community wants to move. As with other major upgrades we’ve been through, we will likely see a few institutions lead the way with early adoption, with a gradual migration of other sites as more tools are built and the path to migrate is mapped out by those trailblazers. The time to officially end support for Islandora 7.x will be when most of the Islandora community is done with it, just as we did with 6.x.
It’s also important to note that “ending support” does not mean it cannot still be used. We will (eventually, well down the road) end active development of new features and improvements, and then bug fixes on longer timeline, but there are still many Islandora 6.x sites out in the world more than three years after we officially ended its support. Fedora 3 is itself no longer supported by its community, but it remains a stable platform that hasn’t become less stable for no longer being actively improved.
The Minimum Viable Product document that I have been working on with the CLAW committers over the past few weeks has been made public, and is available for review. It defines the scope of the project, what we think is required for a stable release, proposed content modeling, and the overall design of the various subsystems of the software. We will be using this as a starting point for detailed scoping before attempting future sprints.
Please feel free to review and make comments. All feedback is appreciated.