This is my first post to the list so I thought I'd share my current dilemma and put it to you all to see what you might do if you were in my place. I've really tried to keep this message as short as possible, but it's still too long. I apologize in advance for that. I can fill in more detail as the discussion progresses.
I'm the new systems and digital collections librarian for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives. I've been in the job for about two months now and have been gathering lots of information on requirements. The Rockhall library will open to the public for the first time at the end of this year and one of the things we're going to need is a digital asset manger. I'll briefly give you a list of some of the requirements that we're looking for, then a list of what possible solutions I've come up with, and close with problems I currently face.
-- DAM requirements --
Currently, we have no digital content, but will be building the infrastructure and workflows necessary to deal with the following:
Video: manage archival JPEG2000 and MPEG4 files created from a variety of analog sources, stream derivatives, handle descriptive metadata as well as text annotations and transcriptions of video segments, and manage new archival and access video objects created from edits of MPEG4 sources.
Audio: manage archival 24/96 broadcast wav files and stream mp3 or equivalent derivatives, handle catalog metadata
Images and Documents: same as audio, but with hi-res tiff images and jpeg/pdf, or similar derivatives
-- Possible solutions (and their drawbacks) --
DSpace: great for images and documents, not so good with video or audio? Also, complexity of video datastreams suggests another solution...
Fedora: flexible enough to handle both JPEG2000 and MPEG4 formats for a single archival video, as well as the text objects and future creation of edited videos from multiple archival sources, similar to WGBH's OpenVault. Downside: Extremely complex and code-intensive to develop and manage.
Proprietary options, ex. ContentDM, DigiTool, and others: I am unaware of their video capabilities at the moment. Image and document data seems to work best. Downside: will likely be cost-prohibitive.
-- Problems --
I need to come up with a realistic goal. I'm a one-person show here... While we probably won't be able to afford a nice vendor solution--assuming one exists that fits all of our needs--it would be just as costly in terms of time for me to learn, code and deploy a complete solution using the open source alternatives I've listed above, and I know I've missed some.
I have a lot of catching-up to do. I'm great with unix systems, databases, PHP and Perl; Java and XSLT, not so much. I'm taking a look at Python and Ruby because I can build and deploy things faster with them than PHP or Perl, they already have some Fedora libraries for them, and they are easier for me to wrap my head around than Java, but it will take a while to get fluent in either of them.
So, what would you do?
The idea I have in mind at the moment goes something like this:
First, we're going to purchase a discovery system that will harvest records from our soon-to-be-created MARC library catalog, and soon-to-be-populated archival manager, Archon. Using that discovery service, we could harvest from one or more DAMs such as DSpace for images and documents, and maybe even audio; and Fedora or some such other system for video. Fedora would be ideal for our video collection, and everything else for that matter, but very, very time consuming to construct. Assuming I could build the back-end of fedora enough to allow some rudimentary ingestion of objects, the discovery interface could at least serve those objects out in some way by letting users know that they exist. Actually streaming the video or audio is another story... but, if the discovery layer is there, I could build a nicer interface for deployment at a later date.
Since we don't open for another 9 months, and have no data to manage yet, that's time to start working on a Fedora backend, or research and create another solution. I've looked at Fedora front-ends like Fez, Islandora, and Active-fedora, but they are limited to which version of Fedora they can use, and I can't get a feel yet for how they would deal with our requirements.
If we can coast by on a discovery-only type solution, that could give me a year (?) to build a nice interface or retool an existing one for our use. So, 9 months for a repository, one year for a full interface. Given my above limitations and desire not to work 80 hours a week, is something like that feasible, slightly ludicrous or completely insane?
If it's not really feasible, then I might be looking at a collaboration with one or more of you fine people, or finding some money from my organization or a grant to help pay one or more of you fine people for help.
So, I close this already way too long email with a final: what would you do?
Rock & Roll: (noun) African American slang dating back to the early 20th Century. In the early 1950s, the term came to be used to describe a new form of music, steeped in the blues, rhythm & blues, country and gospel. Today, it refers to a wide variety of popular music -- frequently music with an edge and attitude, music with a good beat and --- often --- loud guitars.© 2005 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
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