Recap: Islandora/Fedora Camp, Arizona State University, February 24-26, 2020

At the end of February, I was thrilled to be able to travel to Tempe, Arizona to attend the Islandora and Fedora Camp hosted by Arizona State University. At the Tri-College Consortium, we’re currently working on a migration from ContentDM and DSpace to Islandora 7, with a planned additional migration to Islandora 8 in 1-2 years. With the current state of the world and limited access to on-site resources, understanding and improving our digital collections platforms has become more important than ever.

Notably, this was the first Islandora/Fedora camp that presented a single combined track for both developers and collection managers. Personally, I felt that this new format was a major strength of the camp; it was valuable to be able to interface with developers and committers of the Islandora software as well as colleagues from other implementing institutions who manage digital collections. It was also great to hear stories about how someone got involved as an Islandora committer, which provided some inspirations for viable paths to contributing to the community, and successes and failures from other users’ migrations and installations.

Camp sessions were split between educational overviews, presentations from users, and hands-on tutorials. Tutorials included basic content management in Drupal 8, core functions of Fedora, and bulk ingest processes, among others. Tutorial-givers included Melissa Anez (Islandora Foundation) and David Wilcox (Lyrasis), Bethany Seeger (Johns Hopkins), Daniel Lamb (Islandora Foundation), and Seth Shaw (UNLV). 

Punctuating our full days of learning were discussions amongst implementers from many different types of institutions. I felt amongst the general attendees of the camp that the dominating concern for implementers is migrating from Islandora 7 to Islandora 8. While a number of institutions have forged ahead with this migration, many institutions are waiting and watching for the tools and documentation to smooth out the process.

Another topic of conversation warranting further reflection is how institutions are integrating Islandora and Fedora into larger digital preservation strategies and practices. I learned from Islandora staff that there used to be a working group for digital preservation, but this has mostly fallen by the wayside. If you’re interested in starting that back up, feel free to contact the Islandora staff to learn more about the process!

Emily Higgs is the Digital Archivist for the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College. She is the Assistant Team Leader for bloggERS, the blog for SAA’S Electronic Records Section.

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