August 11, 2003

Mellon Grant lets libraries and computer scientists join forces to create new solution for digital i

Charlottesville, VA-Thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation, the University of Virginia Library announces the release of an
open-source digital object repository management system. The Fedora
Project, a joint effort of the University of Virginia and Cornell
University, has now made available the first version of a system based on
the Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture, originally
developed at Cornell.

Fedora repositories can provide the foundation for a variety of information
management schemes, not least among them digital library systems. At the
University of Virginia, Fedora is being used to build a large-scale digital
library that will soon have millions of digital resources of all media and
content types. It is also currently being tested by a consortium of
institutions that include the Library of Congress, Northwestern University,
Tufts University, and others. They are building testbeds drawn from their
own digital collections that they will use to evaluate the software and
give feedback to the project.

This first version of the software is designed to support a repository
containing one million objects using freely available software. It fully
implements the Fedora architecture, provides the first version of a
graphical user interface to manage the repository, and provides facilities
to create and ingest batches of objects. The software has the following key
features:

  • Management API (API-M) - defines an interface for administering the
    repository. It includes operations necessary for clients to create and
    maintain digital objects and their components. API-M is implemented as a
    SOAP-enabled web service.

  • Access API (API-A) - defines an interface for accessing digital objects
    stored in the repository. It includes operations necessary for clients to
    perform disseminations on objects in the repository and to discover
    information about an object using object reflection. API-A is implemented
    as a SOAP-enabled web service.

  • Access-Lite API (API-A-Lite) - defines a streamlined version of the Fedora
    Access Service that is implemented as an HTTP-enabled web service.

  • Datastreams - Objects in a repository may contain content and metadata
    (i.e. datastreams) that physically reside inside the repository or outside
    the repository. The Fedora repository system supports content of any MIME
    type.

  • XML Submission and Storage - Fedora digital objects conform to an extension
    of the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS), described at
    http://www.loc.gov/standards/mets/. Objects can be submitted to the
    repository in XML format. Also, digital objects are persistently stored in
    the repository as XML files. The Fedora extension of the METS schema can be
    found at http://www.fedora.info/definitions/1/0/mets-fedora-ext.xsd.

  • Versioning - The Fedora repository system includes the infrastructure to
    support versioning of digital objects and their components. This feature
    will be available in Release 1.2, projected for Fall 2003.

  • Access Control and Authentication - Release 1.0 includes a simple form of
    access control to provide access restrictions based on IP address. IP range
    restriction is supported in both the Management and Access APIs. In
    addition, the Management API is protected by HTTP Basic Authentication.
    Release 2.0 will provide Shibboleth-based authentication and authorization,
    XML-based policy expression, and enforcement of fine-grained access control
    policies.

  • Disseminators - Digital objects can be associated with a set of behaviors
    and a service that runs those behaviors. This provides an extensible
    mechanism for transforming or presenting the object's digital content.

  • Default Disseminator - The Default Disseminator is a built-in internal
    disseminator on every object that provides a system-defined behavior
    mechanism for disseminating the basic contents of an object.

  • Searching - Selected system metadata fields are indexed along with the
    primary Dublin Core record for each object. The Fedora repository system
    provides a search interface for both full text and field-specific queries
    across these metadata fields.

  • OAI Metadata Harvesting Provider - The OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting
    is a standard for sharing metadata across repositories. Every Fedora
    digital object has a primary Dublin Core record that conforms to the schema
    at: http://www.openarchives.org/OAI/2.0/oai_dc.xsd. This metadata is
    accessible using the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, v2.0.

  • Batch Utility - The Fedora repository system includes a Batch Utility as
    part of the Management client that enables the mass creation and loading of
    data objects.

Fedora is being made available as an open-source product under a Mozilla
Public License. For more information and to download the software, visit
http://www.fedora.info/.

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