Islandora 8

Latest Islandora 8 News

Islandora CLAW FAQ

manez's picture
Submitted by manez on

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 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:

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.

Islandora CLAW MVP

dlamb's picture
Submitted by dlamb on

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.

Cross-Community Collaboration at Hydra Dev Sprint

manez's picture
Submitted by manez on

From September 19 - 23, a group of 16 developers from various institutions, with users of Hydra, Islandora, and Fedora, got together in State College, PA, to work on Fedora 4 features for the community. They worked in three teams:

  1. Workflow
  2. Fedora Import/Export
  3. Admin Dashboard

Dan Coughlin has provided a summary of their accomplishments:


The workflow team extracted the database-backed workflow implementation from Notre Dame’s Sipity application into CurationConcerns, using Princeton’s Plum workflow as an initial target for modeling multiple configurable workflows. Once completed, this work will enable workflows that will support mediated deposit approval workflows, digitization & metadata augmentation/review workflows, and takedown/revocation workflows. There are tickets for the remaining work in the CurationConcerns github repository, and there is a call being set up next week between some of the folks from the workflow team and the team that is working on the community sprint focused on mediated deposit. You can find more about the work in the workflow branch of CurationConcerns. Members of this team were Justin Coyne (Stanford), Jeremy Friesen (Notre Dame), Kyle Lawhorn (Cincinnati), and Michael Tribone (Penn State).

Fedora Import/Export

The import/export team started working on a BagIt implementation design including Bag Profile support for APTrust and MetaArchive. Their work included reviewing and updating documentation, and squashing bugs related to importing Fedora resources from the filesystem to prepare for an initial round of stakeholder feedback. The team finalized the tickets assigned to Phase 1 for import/export — more on the requirements and phases for this work. In December, some members of this team will begin Phase 2 of the sprint. There will be stakeholder calls in October and November to finalize the BagIt implementation design. In addition to work at the Fedora layer, support was added to CurationConcerns for running the Fedora import/export utility so that the tool can be called from the user interface. Members of this team were Esmé Cowles (Princeton), Karen Estlund (Penn State), Nick Ruest (York), Jon Stroop (Princeton), Andrew Woods (DuraSpace), and Adam Wead (Penn State).

Admin Dashboard

The administrative dashboard team added a configurable, extensible admin dashboard to CurationConcerns. The dashboard design allows flexible control over what appears in the dashboard menu, and in what order, in addition to what views are rendered and what data sources are used. The current implementation of the dashboard includes a pie chart widget displaying information about visibility of deposited works and also about embargoes and leases, allowing multiple levels of drill-down for more granular information. This early work has been merged into the master branch of CurationConcerns. To test how configurable and usable the new admin dashboard configuration is, the team started working on extending the CurationConcerns dashboard in Sufia and that currently sits in a branch. Remaining work has been ticketed using the 'admin dashboard’ label in both CurationConcerns and Sufia. Members of this team were Carolyn Cole (Penn State), Mike Giarlo (Stanford), Trey Pendragon (Princeton), Lynette Rayle (Cornell), and Thomas Scherz (Cincinnati).

with further details (and a group photo!) here

Islandora CLAW Sprint 10 - Complete!

manez's picture
Submitted by manez on

The 10th Islandora CLAW Community Sprint finished up last week. Running August 22nd to September 5th, this sprint was mostly about learning and design, with "homework" tickets to read up on specifications, and long discussions about how various pieces of CLAW should work. You can do a little homework of your own and follow the discussions about ORE and IIIF

The MVP for this sprint was Everyone. We had some really great discussions, both in GItHub issues and via IRC (#islandora on freenode). 

Danny Lamb (Islandora Fundation)
Nick Ruest (York University)
Jared Whiklo (University of Manitoba)
Diego Pino (
Melissa Anez (Islandora Foundation)
Ed Fugikawa (University of Wyoming)
Nat Kanthan (University of Toronto Scarborough)
Kirsta Stapelfeldt (University of Toronto Scarborough)
Kim Pham (University of Toronto Scarborough)
Bryan Brown (Florida State University)

Next up in CLAW Sprint 11, running September 19th - October 3rd. A few issues are listed here, with more to come. Non-developers may be interested in signing on for Homework Ticket #360, where we will be exploring the Drupal 8 UI. You can sign up for the sprint here

Meet Your New Technical Lead

dlamb's picture
Submitted by dlamb on

Hi, I'm Danny, and I'm the newest hire of the Islandora Foundation. My role within the Foundation is to serve as Technical Lead, and I want to take some time to introduce myself and inform everyone of just exactly what I'll be doing for them.

I guess for starters, I should delve a bit into my background. Since a very young age, I've always considered myself to be pretty nerdy. As soon as I learned how to read, my father had me in front of a 386 and taught me DOS. In high school, I discovered Linux and was pretty well hooked. It was around that time I started working with HTML, and eventually javascript and Flash. I graduated with honors from East Tennessee State University with a B.Sc. in Mathematics and a Physics minor, and was exposed to a lot of C++ and FORTRAN. I specialized in Graph Theory, which I didn't think at the time would lead to a career as a programmer, since I had decided to be an actuary after completing school. Fast forward a few years, and I have a couple actuarial exams under my belt and have become well versed in VBA programming and Microsoft Office. But I didn't really like it, and wanted to do more than spreadsheet automation. So I moved to Canada and went back to school for Computer Science, but quickly found my way into the workforce for pragmatic reasons (read: I had bills to pay). I managed to score a job in the small video game industry that's evolved on PEI. I did more Flash (sadly) but was also exposed to web frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django. A lot of my time was spent writing servers for Facebook games, and tackled everything from game logic to payment systems. But that career eventually burned me out, as it eventually does to most folks, and I applied for a position at a small company named discoverygarden that I heard was a great place to work.

And that's how I first met Islandora. I was still pretty green for the transition from Drupal 6 to 7, but shortly after the port I was able to take on more meaningful tasks. After learning tons about the stack while working with discoverygarden, I was given the opportunity to work on what would eventually become CLAW. And now I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see that work through as an employee of the Islandora Foundation. So before I start explaining my duties as Tech Lead, I'd really like to thank the Islandora Foundation for hiring me, and discoverygarden for helping me gain the skills I needed to grow into this position.

Now, as is tradition in Islandora, I'll describe my roles as hats.  I'm essentially wearing three of them:

  • Hat #1: 7.x-1.x guy 
    1. We have increasingly more defined processes and workflows, and I'm committed to making sure those play out the way they should. But, for whatever reason, If there's a time where a pull request has sat for too long and the community hasn't responded, I will make sure it is addressed. I will either try to facilitate a community member who has time/interest to look at it, and if that's not possible, I will review myself.
    2. I will take part in and help chair committers' calls every other Thursday.
    3. I will attend a handful of Interest Group meetings.  There's too many for me to attend them all, but I'm starting with the IR and Security interest groups.
    4. Lastly, I will be serving as Release Manager for the next release, and will be working towards continuing to document and standardize the process to the best of my abilities, so that it's easier for other community members to take part in and lead that process from here on out.

  • Hat #2: CLAW guy
    1. We're currently in the process of pivoting from a Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 codebase, and I'm going to be sheparding that process as transparently as possible.  This means I will be working with community members to develop a plan for the minimum viable product (or MVP for short).  This will help defend against scope creep, and force ourselves as a community to navigate what all these changes mean.  Between Fedora 4, PCDM, and Drupal 8, there's a lot that's different, and we need to all be on the same page.  For everyone's sake, this work will be conducted as much as possible by conversations through the mailing lists, instead of solely at the tech calls.  In the Apache world, if it doesn't happen on the list, it never happened.  And I think that's a good approach to making sure people can at least track down the rationale for why we're doing certain things in the codebase.
    2. Using the MVP, I will be breaking down the work into the smallest consumable pieces possible.  In the past few years I've learned a lot about working with volunteer developers, and I fully understand that people have day jobs with other priorities.  By making the units of work as small as possible, we have better chance of receiving more contributions from interested community members.  In practice, I think this means I will be writing a lot of project templates to decrease ramp-up time for people, filling in boilerplate, and ideally even providing tests beforehand.
    3. I will be heavily involved in Sprint planning, and will be running community sprints for CLAW.
    4. I will be chairing and running CLAW tech calls, along with Nick Ruest, the CLAW Project Director.

  • Hat #3: UBC project guy
    • As part of a grant, the Foundation is working with the University of British Columbia Library and Press to integrate a Fedora 4 with a front-end called Scalar. They will also be using CLAW as a means of ingesting multi-pathway books. So I will be overseeing contractor work for the integration with Scalar, while also pushing CLAW towards full book support.

I hope that's enough for everyone to understand what I'll be doing for them, and how I can be of help if anyone needs it.  If you need to get in touch with me, I can be found on the lists, in #islandora on IRC as dhlamb, or at  I look forward to working with everyone in the future to help continue all the fantastic work that's been done by everyone out there.



Subscribe to Latest Islandora 8 News