We asked for your input on features for the next release, and we got an impressive number of responses. A total of 76 individuals and organizations responded to our poll, which is a new record for us! It's the best view into the actual needs of our community members we've ever gotten, and we're excited to share the results with you. This spreadsheet has some charts for each of the three questions on the survey, and the raw data is tucked away in some shrunken columns to the left if you're curious.
As a summary, here are the top 10 results for each question, with the number of votes received in parentheses after each feature. Keep in mind that participants were allowed to vote for more than one feature, and there's a different number of responses for each question. There's a couple of ties in there too, so don't let the visual order of things sway you when there's the same number of votes for multiple features.
What features do you need before you could move to Islandora 8?
- Paged Content (66)
- Access Restrictions and Embargoes (44)
- OAI-PMH Endpoint (36)
- OCR Derivatives (33)
- Web Accessibility (30)
- Search and Discovery Improvements (20)
- IR Support (17)
- MODS Metadata Display (17)
- Versioning (15)
- Dockerization (13)
What features are "nice to have" but not critical?
- Citation Generation (28)
- Versioning (24)
- SEO (24)
- RDF Mapping UI (22)
- FITS Derivaties (20)
- MODS Metadata Display (20)
- Oxford Common Filesystem Layout (20)
- Search and Discovery Improvements (16)
- Web Accessibility (14)
- Dockerization (14)
What features are not necessary for your organization?
- Integration with Alternate Fedora Implementations (25)
- Fedora Multi-Tenancy (Multisites) (17)
- RDF Mapping UI (11)
- Oxford Common Filesystem Layout (10)
- Dockerization (10)
- MODS Metadata Display (7)
- IR Support (6)
- Citation Generation (5)
- SEO (4)
- OAI-PMH (2)
When interpreting the results, we're putting more emphasis on the features folks feel they must have before adopting Islandora 8. The features people responding as being "not necessary" or "nice to have" balance the picture a little bit, but we're not giving a ton of negative weight to them. We view them more of a reminder that, simply put, not everyone wants every feature.
Awesomely, many of the "must have" features already have a solution in the works at some stage of development within the community. This really adds gravity to their placement in the top ten, and speaks to our incredible developer community who are already ahead of the curve! And for the rest of the "must have" features, we've already identified our starting points using core or contributed modules from Drupal.org. It's possible to do a lot in Islandora 8 by enabling modules and exporting configuration, and we're confident we can help guide community activity towards getting these features in with the least amount of code possible. Here's the current lay of the land on all these "must have" features.
Paged content was the clear winner of the survey, with a whopping 66 out of 76 favorable responses. When initially developing Islandora 8, we purposefully chose to focus on "single" objects first and tackle books/newspapers/serials/compounds later. It's a major use case we're not meeting yet, and the survey results are strongly indicating that it's what we should tackle next. To that effect, I'm proposing we schedule a community sprint in early September. There's a couple of pilot projects working out the kinks of paged content (UT Austin, UNLV) whom we'd love to have involved, and hopefully we can synthesize this work and come up with a solution that will work for everybody.
Access Restrictions and Embargoes
A combination of core workflow and content_moderation modules with a handful of custom plugins can cover most of this. It won't be a zero code solution, but a couple of custom conditions and actions should do the trick.
UPEI has developed OCR derivatives for Islandora 8. It currently lives in their Github repo, but soon will make its way as into core islandora as a submodule.
Accessibility is something that must be kept in mind throughout all stages of development, and individual institutions must take care to ensure they do not introduce inaccessible portions of their site in their custom code. As a starting point for project that require accessibility (that's you if you work for university in the U.S. or Canada), we're looking to install our modules on top of the Web Experience Toolkit distribution.
Search and Discovery Improvements
Improvements to search and discovery can be contributed in the form of extra configuration. Tweaks to indexing and faceting can all be set up throught the UI and then exported.
Replicating all of islandora_scholar from 7.x at first seems like a daunting task, but we've already made headway. We have entities for people, places, organizations, etc... in our controlled_access_terms module. UPEI has already developed citation generation using Twig templates as part of their RDM project. We've already outlined how we'll handle embargoes and access restrictions above, and we're planning on shipping with configuration to make Google Scholar indexing happen by default!
We have a lot of tools to get data out of MODS and into Islandora 8, but to generate MODS on the fly (or every time metadata is updated) we're going to use Twig templates like UPEI is doing for citations, Kent State is doing for OAI-PMH, and Diego Pino and Marcus Barnes are doing in their IMI and MIK tools for Islandora 7.
Eli Zoller from Arizona State University has already contributed making versions with Chullo, our Fedora client. Further work to integrate that with the rest of Islandora is underway.
The ICG has plans for Islandora 8! The ISLE project for Islandora 7 has an upcoming phase III, which will provide docker containers for Islandora 8. Although not every organization uses Docker, Islandora 8's microservice based architecture goes hand in hand with Docker and Kubernetes. We can't wait to see the results!
We're always striving to give the community what they want, and surveys like this give us the data we need to do so. In the spirit of openness and transparency, we're releasing the results so you can draw your own conclusions. We hope you take the the time to view these results and let us know what you think. It's always easier to make decisions when you have data in front of you, and we're really grateful for all the people who took the time to fill out the survey. As our community continues to grow, we're hoping that surveys like these can help us guide development priorities (and more) in the future.