New Member: Amherst College

The Islandora Foundation is very pleased to welcome our newest member: Amherst College. Currently the owners of a custom Fedora 3 digital collection (ACDC), the team at Amherst College are explorers on the bleeding edge of Islandora, working with Islandora CLAW and Fedora 4. They have played an active role in development and discussions for the future of Islandora and we look forward to working more closely with them as members of the Islandora Foundation.

Islandora CLAW modules on

I've taken the liberty of putting CLAW's Drupal modules on as sandbox projects.  It is my intention to promote these to full projects once CLAW is released so that our modules can be distributed through and made available under the 'drupal' namespace on Packagist.  We've always been on the sidelines of the Drupal community, and this feels like a step in the right direction.  Not only will our modules be available somewhere other than just Github, but Islandora will also get exposure to the wider Drupal community.

This does not mean that we're adopting Drupal's workflow, as CLAW encompasses more than just Drupal modules.  As of now, there will be no impact on day to day development, which will continue as-is on Github.  However, the subtleties of its inclusion in the release process will need to get discussed and ironed out as we work through our initial release.

They're not much to look at, but here are the links if you're interested:

Islandora Show & Tell: Story City by Vancouver Public Library

This week we have a special two-part Show & Tell, looking at the remarkable Story City from Vancouver Public Library from the point of view of both the library behind it and the service company that helped with development.

Story City tells the stories of cultural life of the citizens of Vancouver and surrounding areas, through an extensive collection of audio recordings, photographs, videos, and scanned historical documents. Because these stories are built around the places where they happened, VPL decided to use a map interface as the point of entry for browsing these repository objects.

A map, plus a whole lot more. Story City allows visitors to filter stories on the map by neighbourhood, community, time period, and format, with visual markers for different kinds of content. Grouping pins keeps the interface neat in the face of multiple objects, and the power of Solr lets visitors share a ‘canned search’ with terms built into the url, such as showing just audio files featuring Chinese Canadians from 1971 - 2020.

The interface is sleek and intuitive, with viewers available for digital objects right on the map, so you can view an image or play a story about growing up in the West End just by clicking on a pin.

I spoke with Kay Cahill, Acting Director of Collections & Technology at VPL, about their Islandora Site This Vancouver, and the new Story City feature that prompted this Show & Tell:

Why did you choose Islandora?

We chose Islandora for our repository, This Vancouver, following a comprehensive evaluation of a variety of commercial and open source products. Islandora offered all of the features and flexibility that we were looking for, and we felt there was real value in choosing an open source product that would allow us to develop in-house expertise in configuration and development. Additionally, the concept of open source supports the value of resource sharing which is core to our mission as a public library. Undoubtedly there was a bit of an up-front staffing cost in the time it took to install and learn the software, but it has proven to be a robust tool that has served us well as we have developed our community collections.

We chose to develop the Story City site as an Islandora module for a number of reasons. Firstly, we wanted to build on the internal expertise we had developed over three years of working with Islandora for This Vancouver. Secondly, we wanted the map – which was developed through a Canada 150+ grant to showcase stories of journeys to and interactions with Vancouver - to serve as a discovery tool for the content in the broader repository. And thirdly, we wanted to develop something that could be released back to the open source community so that other organizations and individuals would be able to make use of it in the future.

What feature in your repository are you most proud of?

We are particularly proud of the Story City map. Digital Echidna did fantastic work bringing to life our vision of a map that would be fast, responsive, visually appealing, and provide a compelling discovery tool for the amazing content that we gathered from community members over the course of the project. We particularly like the way that pin clusters break into a spiral when a number of stories are linked to the same location on the map; this is a really user-friendly and effective presentation of something that could have been very confusing.

Do you have plans to expand your site in the future?

Absolutely. Providing venues for community stories to be shared, discovered and explored is a core part of VPL’s current strategic plan. The stories that we’ve gathered and shared through This Vancouver and Story City are a testament to how technology, which so often leads to an increased sense of isolation, can spark new dialogues and help build connections and understanding between community members. Our Community Digital Initiatives team continues to work on identifying new content for the repository,  and on sharing the stories and experiences of Vancouverites through this platform. Because we collect and curate new content for each project, there’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes: developing community relationships, interviewing community members, and then editing the resulting files prior to adding them to the collection. To date we have mainly focused on audio recordings, but we are hoping to introduce our first video collection later this year.

What is your favourite object in the collection to show off?

I think I’d like to reframe this question slightly, and speak to the item that I think is the most important and impactful in the collection – the Women’s Memorial March Quilt. This, to me, is the perfect example of why we put the work into building our repository and developing tools like the map to make the content easier to discover and explore. The quilt was created to commemorate the murdered and missing women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Made by friends and family of the women, it’s carried through the streets once a year at the annual Women’s Memorial March. It is incredibly important to the community as one of the few places where the women, who are so often objectified by the press as drug addicts or sex workers, are remembered as their loved ones knew them: mothers, sisters, daughters, friends. By capturing the panels of the quilt in high-quality digital images and sharing them through the repository, they are not only preserved for the future but are available for anyone with access to the internet to view online.

Digital Echidna the company that worked with VPL to create the site,  shared further details about developing Story City and the Islandora Story Map module, which is available on GitHub:

Because this collection centres around places and the movement of people as it shapes a city over time, a map was decided upon to serve as the interface for the Islandora repository. This is where discovery is centered and is the landing page of the website. Pins and other visual identifiers on the map indicate the presence of objects -- audio recordings, photographs, video clips and scanned images -- that are in the digital asset collection.

The website has social sharing functionality and operates as an attractive and responsive online experience that is branded with Vancouver Public Library’s existing web presence. Users of the site can navigate both visually using pins on the map and with search facets, such as neighbourhood, background, and era filters. The site’s administrators can manage these assets and add new objects. Training, knowledge-sharing, and open communication were key components to this successful project.

Digital Echidna’s Role

In order for the mapping feature to work, we developed a new Islandora module (story_map). This module takes Islandora Content Objects and pins them to a map using the data from the Location fields within said Objects. Content Objects need to be geotagged with the

appropropriate latitude and longitude coordinates, as well as with the associated metadata and tags for search facets. The interface handles aggregation of multiple pins into clusters, which drills down to a more detailed view when the user clicks.

This is a very visual-dependent module. The pins for different types of content are visually distinct; when the user clicks on an individual pin, a high level description will be offered. Another click will open the media for the object in the appropriate viewer/player, lead to a more in-depth description, and easily return to the map to explore other pins or to explore another search facet.

Key Factors of Success

  • Taking Solr data and displaying it on a map
  • Map solution done with IP Geolocation Views & Maps and Leaflet. The IP Geolocation (a.k.a the mapping engine) takes the data from Islandora Solr Views and displays it on a Leaflet map (a.k.a the map renderer)
  • Displaying media specific pins that lead to pop ups that show the media in the appropriate viewer/player
  • Customizing Views plugins
  • Custom JS social sharing
    • Filter sharing using the Views AJAX History module
    • Popup sharing

Has your institution built an Islandora site or tool that you want to share with our community? Contact us to set up a Show & Tell of your own!

Islandora Camp in San Diego, CA

The last Islandora Camp of 2018 will be in sunny San Diego, CA from November 7 to 9, hosted by San Diego State University. Islandora Camp features:

  • Day One: General and introductory sessions about the softare and the community that uses and supports it
  • Day Two: Hand-on workshop training with tracks for Developers and front-end Admintrative users, featuring both Islandora 7.x and Islandora CLAW
  • Day Three: Sessions on specific sites, tools, and topics of interest to Islandora users

Registration will open soon at our usual USD rates of $450 Early Bird and $495 Regular, so stay tuned and save the date. #iCampCA


Looking back at Islandora Camp Halifax

The Islandora community wrapped up our first Nova Scotian iCamp last week, having spent three days learning and sharing with this amazing Mount Saint Vincent University view as a backdrop:

We opened bit with an update about the state of Islandora CLAW and all of the features it already has in place as it races towards a first release:

Followed by a day of hands-on workshop training. The Admin Track spent most of their day building an Islandora 7.x site from scratch, and we ended the track by debuting the first Islandora CLAW workshop and switching to build mode in the latest software, making objects and collections with CLAW's more Drupal-y interface. The Developer Track did their workshop Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style, building the lesson through questions and requests from the group.

The last day of camp was turned over to session from attendees, including gems like:

You can see slides from all of the iCampHRM sessions in the camp schedule.

Many thanks to our instrutors, our attendees, and to Mount Saint Vincent University for hosting us on their beautiful campus. Stay tuned for news about where Islandora Camp will go next...

Islandora Bibliography is now a GitHub Repo

Have you published a paper about how you use Islandora? Given a public presentation? Had an Islandora-related poster accepted at a conference? We'd like to put it in our bibliography.

Once a static page tucked away in our Resources section, Islandora Bibliography has moved to GitHub to make it easier for the entire community to contribute to the list and keep it relevant. If you know of a good entry that we're missing, please check out and send us a pull request.

Islandora Foundation: Individual Members

Did you know you can be a member of the Islandora Foundation as an individual?

The Islandora Foundation is a federally incorporated, community-driven soliciting non-profit incorporated in Canada. Basically, our funding comes from our members. That funding pays for things like the salaries of our two employees, Islandora events such as Camps and Islandoracon, and other efforts to support development of Islandora and the Islandora community. Most of our revenue comes from our institutional members, who participate in the Islandora Foundation as Partners ($10,000CAD/year), Collaborators ($4000CAD/year), or Members ($2000CAD/year), but we are also very proud to have the support of several Individual Members, who have joined with their own money to show their personal support for the project. Altogether, this group fund the Foundation for more than $2000, making them the equivalent of a Member.

We offer some small perks, like hats and discounts on events, and leave it to the individual to decide the amount that they would like to donate. If you're interested in joining our list of Individual Members, you can check out the details and make a donation here. List of Service Companies

We've recently made some improvements to our Service Companies page, cleaning the the layout a bit and giving some space for text to elaborate on their services and history.

The companies on this list serve multiple roles in our open source community: they are members of the Islandora Foundation and provide financial support for us to do our work stewarding development. They are a source of direct support for institutions that can't or don't want to go it alone, providing installation, customization, hosting, and more. They are also members of this community; employees of these organizations are Committers, Interest Group convenors, Release Team members, and presenters at Islandora events.

7.x to CLAW Migration Sprint - Call for Volunteers

Have you ever been interested in Islandora CLAW, but thought to yourself "How the heck am I going to get my data into this thing?" We at the Islandora Foundation want to provide an answer to that question, but we're gonna need your help to pull it off. We're seeking community contributions as we scope, design, and implement a basic migration from Islandora 7.x to CLAW using Drupal's Migrate ecosystem. And yes, with the help of the Metadata Interest Group, we're going to do what was previously unthinkable... Migrate. MODS. (cue dramatic music)

We're looking to start planning and scoping in late July, with the work to take place on the weeks of August 20th and 27th. If you or your organization is interested in helping us provide a migration path from 7.x and get some valuable hands on experience with CLAW, please add yourself to our signup sheet. We need developers, end users to test and run migrations, as well as example files and metadata to work on. And if you are considering moving to CLAW and want to learn more about how we model content, map RDF, or use Drupal Migrate, you should definitely drop into the meetings and check things out. As always, lurkers welcome.