Outgrowing our Shell: Islandora 8

Lobster looking in a mirror and seeing an 8 reflected backThe name "Islandora CLAW" was always intended as a working name, to give us a quick (and fun) way to refer to the project as a distinct entity from Islandora 7.x. As we approach a first full release of the newest version of Islandora, we're ready to move beyond the nicknames of development and embrace Islandora "CLAW" as a full version of Islandora. In keeping with our Drupal-driven numbering structure from previous versions, the first release of the project-formerly-known-as-CLAW will be Islandora 8.

In a departure from previous versions, this naming convention will not carry into the actual version numbering. Islandora 8's Committers have committed to semantic versioning, which means that the software will come out as Islandora 8, v. 1.0.0, not Islandora 8.x-1.0.

If you would like to be a part of the process that completes this first release of islandora 8, we're looking for volunteers for a documentation sprint in march. Please sign up!

Islandora Foundation Mission Statement

Following a mandate from the Islandora Foundation 2018/2019 Strategic Goals, the Board of Directors has drafted a mission statement for the Islandora Foundation. We welcome public comment from the Islandora community and Foundation members for the next month, after which the Board will review comments, adjust the mission statement as necessary, and bring it to the 2019 AGM for approval by all voting members. The proposed mission statement is as follows:

“The Islandora Foundation’s mission is to ensure the long-term sustainability and development of the Islandora community and its supported open source, standards-based digital repository software.”

You can comment on this Google doc.

Migrating from Islandora 7.x to Islandora CLAW

Are you looking ahead to a migration from Islandora 7 to Islandora 8 (CLAW)? The tools to get you there are further along than you might think. In a new video, Islandora's Technical Lead, Danny Lamb, walks through a migration using the migrate_7x_claw module.

Some useful links to learn more or try the tools out for yourself:

Release the Kraken!

For years it has stirred in the depths of Github, just under the surface in the vast ocean of digital repositories. It has been growing, patiently collecting feature after feature. Now, as we speak, contributions flow from its powerful team of committers. Feeding it. Strengthening it. Integrating with ever more software, nothing is safe from its might. And now, the time of its release is nigh!


"Dracula vs. the giant squid" by massdistraction is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It's been a long time in the making. From humble beginnings back with Drupal 7 and Fedora 4, its development been a true community effort that has spanned major version changes in both underlying technologies. Now with Drupal 8 and Fedora 5, we're ready to shed the code name of CLAW and officially become Islandora 8. And we need your help to do it.

Releasing Islandora has always had three components to it:

  • Auditing
  • Documentation
  • Testing
And we need volunteers for all three. We'll be doing things a bit differently this time around, though. This release will be run as two consecutive sprints: one for auditing/documentation and another for testing.

As with most projects under heavy development, our feature set has outgrown our documentation. And if we want it to be testable, we need to have up to date and accurate documentation to give our end users. We've compiled a list of what we feel is required for documentation for a 1.0 release, and we're asking everybody out there to give this document a review. Feel free to comment, leave suggestions, or ask questions if you feel there's anything that we've missed.

The auditing/documentation sprint will be held for two weeks, from March 4th to the 15th, and we'll try to knock out everything on our wish list. If you or your organization are interested in helping us show the world all the things they can do with the new Islandora, please add your names to the sprint signup sheet. All you need to know is how to write in markdown and a Github account, so even if you don't have any experience with Islandora 8, it's a great chance to get some experience with the software and provide us with your thoughts and feedback while documenting. In fact, the more fresh eyes we can get on it, the better. Also, the committers are encouraged to join in and make themselves available to answer questions, lend a hand, and merge those documentation PRs.

After we're done, the committers will be given time to address any issues found that are deemed critical. And if all is well, we'll freeze the code, make our release branches, and slice a release candidate for our testing sprint, which will be held on April 8th to 19th. During this time, we'll try our best to do our worst to the software. We'll be entering garbage data, throwing funny characters into text fields, uploading horrendous tiffs, and much, much more. There will be more details to follow after our documentation/auditing sprint.

It's an exciting time for Islandora, and we hope that you'll take part in it. This is the culmination of several years of community effort, and we'd like to thank everyone that's had a role in the process. Every commit, code review, and bit of testing adds up to a world class repository software that can meet the needs of small and large institutions alike. It really proves how strong and sustainable the Islandora community is. It's been a long and exciting ride, and we sincerely hope you'll join us for the home stretch!

News from NYAM: Newly Digitized William S. Ladd Collection of Prints

Some great news from our friends at the New York Academy of Medicine:

Announcing the Newly Digitized William S. Ladd Collection of Prints

The New York Academy of Medicine is pleased to announce the newly digitized William S. Ladd Collection of Prints. This collection consists of 671 prints, primarily portraits, dating from the 17th century through the early 19th century, showcasing many of the formative authors and thinkers of these years. The digitization of this collection also provides an opportunity for researchers, conservators, artists, and the general public to explore early print technology from any web-enabled device. This project was completed with the help of funds from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program.
 
To learn more, check out this blog post by our Head of Digital, Dr. Robin Naughton, explaining the process and providing examples of the material in the collection.

Islandoracon Workshops: We want your ideas

Islandoracon is coming!

Following the pattern we established with the first two Islandoracons, we're going to have one day during the main conference that's comprised of 90-minute workshops running in multiple tracks. Also following the first two, we're looking to you, the Islandora community and potential Islandoracon attendees, to tell us what kinds of workshops you want to see.
 
We have a table here where you can add your suggestions. A few weeks into 2019, we'll take these suggestions and turn them into a survey so the community can vote on some favorites. The Islandoracon Planning Committee will then to their level best to find the best possible instructors for the topics you choose.
 
Please give us a topic, a rough description of what you think the workshop would cover, and if you can, the level it should aim for and the platform (Islandora 7.x or Islandora CLAW) that you think should be covered.
 
Thanks!
 

New Islandora CLAW Committers: Rosie Le Faive and Mark Jordan

In recognition of their many contributions to the community and to the development of Islandora CLAW, the Islandora CLAW committers have asked Rosie Le Faive (UPEI) and Mark Jordan (SFU) to become a committers and we are pleased to announce that they have accepted!

Rosie has brought her dedication to user experience and documentation from the 7.x stack to Islandora CLAW, providing guidance on how to improve the front end and working as the convenor of the UI Interest Group (currently on hiatus) to develop a welcoming first experience for the Islandora CLAW sandbox environment. As co-convenor of the Metadata Interest Group, Rosie has also been integral to the process of plotting out our MODS to RDF mapping so that users of Islandora 7.x can make the move to Islandora CLAW with their MODS in tow.

Mark has joined the Islandora CLAW party more recently, but hit the ground running, developing tools such as RipRap, a fixity-auditing microservice that acts as a successor to Islandora Checksum Checker. Mark's focus on preservation tools fills an important gap in the CLAW ecosystem.

Both Rosie and Mark are also Committers on Islandora 7.x, and now join the short list of dual Committers.

Further details of the rights and responsibilities of being a Islandora committer can be found here:

https://github.com/Islandora/islandora/wiki/Islandora-Committers

Our campaign is over! The 7.x-1.12 Release is ready; time to level up

Congratulations, adventurers! Our campaign has drawn to a close. Great battles were waged and won against a swarm of bugs. Intrepid documentors have bravely explored and mapped our realm updated our READMEs. Powerful magics were wielded to indelibly alter the landscape in the form of new features. It was a great adventure, and our party has emerged victorious from the deep dungeons of code review, with the Release of Islandora 7.x-1.12!

Thanks to our heroic party of Auditors, Component Managers, Documenters, and Testers, our campaign has ended successfully and we may all retire to carouse in our local taverns, comfortable and safe - at least until the next Release arises. Your grateful Release Managers thank you for your tireless efforts toward fulfilling our quest. You have earned your hard-won XP.

Read the Release Notes, and then choose your path to upgrade or test the new release:

  • Check out the 7.x-1.12 branches of each Islandora Git repo (and Tuque branch 1.12) -- and do not mix and match branches, lest ye be cursed with errors;
  • Download a virtual machine; or
  • Download individual release packages as linked in the Release Notes

The new release boasts five new features, 14 improvements, and 16 bug fixes. Seal off your treasures with a new Drush utility for XACML, or expose them to the world with a new QDC metadata option for OAI-PMH! Use Solr to retrieve compound parts, as the gods intended, and forego the accursed triplestore! And our community’s scholarly sorcerers will marvel at a MASSIVE update to Islandora Scholar, which converts all of its hard-coded XPATHs to configurable variables!

We had one major blocker (Islandora XML Forms, Form builder schema update hook breaks deployment), which was discovered, discussed, reviewed, and fixed within a single day by the intrepid Jonathan Green and Diego Pino - a critical hit, and some of the fastest Islandoraing I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness.

There are some 40 known issues remaining - some very old, some rather new, but none forgotten. Each will be warily watched until some brave Islandoran is ready to engage and strike it down.

If you get a chance, please take a moment to thank the volunteers that make up our heroic release team for their dedication and hard work:

  • Adam Vessey
  • Alan Stanley
  • Andrija Sagic
  • Bayard Miller
  • Benjamin Rosner
  • Brandon Weigel
  • Brian Harrington
  • Bridger Dyson-Smith
  • Bryan Brown
  • Caleb Derven
  • Carolyn Moritz
  • Cricket Deane
  • Daniel Aitken
  • Diego Pino
  • Don Richards
  • Janice Banser
  • Jared Whiklo
  • Jonathan Green
  • Jordan Dukart
  • Julia Yu
  • Keila Zayas Ruiz
  • Mark Jordan
  • Matthew Miguez
  • Melissa Anez
  • Michael Mohkamkar
  • Nat Kanthan
  • Nelson Hart
  • Paul Cummins
  • Peter MacDonald
  • Rachel Smart
  • Robin Dean
  • Rosie Le Faive
  • Scott Ziegler
  • Wilhelmina Randtke
  • William Panting

An extra-special thank you goes out to Janice Banser (Auditing Manager), Caroyln Moritz (Testing Manager) and Don Richards (Documentation Manager) for heeding the call to adventure and making our quest proceed more smoothly than any of us expected. We’d also like to thank those who trod the path before us, Rosie Le Faive and Diego Pino Navarro, for being bright lights to guide us through this dark dungeon.

Lastly, thank you to everyone in our ever-growing open source community for building, rebuilding, fixing, and using this wonderful, messy, and beautiful software that offers so many possibilities for so many of us. Please accept this new release, and use it, abuse it, and critique it well so that it might continue to grow ever better.

The adventure continues. Roll initiative!

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Islandora Camp Switzerland - Registration Now Open!

Islandora Camp will be in Dübendorf, near Zürich, Switzerland from June 17 - 19, 2019. 
 
Registration is now open for for this three-day event, packed with Islandora content: two days of conference-style sessions and presentations, and one day of hands-on workshop training with tracks for developers and front-end users and managers. We will also have plenty of content dealing with the next major version of Islandora, which pairs Drupal 8 with Fedora 4. 
 
We hope you can join us!

Looking Back at Islandora CampCA

We held our first Islandora Camp in San Diego last week, with many thanks to our hosts at San Diego State University. The overall structure followed our now tried-and-true pattern for camps: one day of general sessions introducing Islandora and community that builds it, one day of hands-on workshops with tracks for front-end administrators or developers, and one day with sessions taking a closer look at individual sites and tools. The near-release maturity of Islandora CLAW added some excitement to our workshops, as we did our level best to fit a couple of days worth of learning into eight hours. We'll be tuning the balance between the two stacks as camp continue forward, but thankfully next year's Islandoracon will allow plenty of time for both stacks to shine.

Day three is always a favorite for camp instructors, as we get a chance to join the audience and see what people are doing with Islandora out in the world. We saw some great use of Diego Pino's Islandora Multi Importer as an integral part of SDSU's Islandora workflow in Katie Romibiles session Islandora at San Diego State University. This was followed by Islandora Batch Uploader, a tool from Western Washington University that dropped jaws as David Bass fed it random images from a collection and it handed back accurate tags and a suggested abstract, using some pretty slick AI tools. Seriously, check this out:

Continuing the theme of using AI with Islandora, Tommy Keswick from Caltech showed us how they're using AI tools to hep OCR make sense of handwritten documents in his session Analyzing bulk OCR Results Among Mixed Typed and Handwritten Documents. We followed with a couple of sessions more focussed on the technical side, looking at ways to tweak Islandora's speed with Apache Camel in Islandora, Fedora, Camel: Getting Over the Hump, or to set up for a migration with the Move to Islandora Kit. Finally, a close look at the University of Tenessee Knoxville's experiences with moving to Islandora-as-IR in UTK’s IR Submission Workflow: Students submit directly into the repository? Sure, why not?.

What's next for Islandora events? We'll be holding a single Camp next June in Dübendorf, just outside of Zürich, Switzerland, and then doing a whole week of Islandora at Islandoracon in Vancouver, BC. Our Camp roster for 2020 is wide open, so if your institution is interested in being a host, please drop us a line!