Avalon Media System Community Development

Project: Research project

Project Details


Avalon Media System Community Development Project Summary The Indiana University Libraries, in partnership with Northwestern University Library, request $749,750 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support additional software development and community building activities for the Avalon Media System software product. These activities are proposed to take place over a two year period from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016 and will also be supported with a 1:1 matching contribution of staff time from Indiana University (IU) Libraries and Northwestern University (NU) Library. Members of the academic community, and particularly the humanities community, are making increasing use of audio and video collections and resources in research, teaching, and learning. Driven by this demand, as well as by the specter of obsolescence of physical audio visual formats and decreases in costs for storage and network bandwidth, many institutions have embarked on efforts to inventory their audiovisual collections and to digitize them for purposes of preservation and improved access. IU’s $15 million internally-supported Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative is a leading example of such efforts. However, both libraries and academic media consumers are finding that current tools for management and delivery of audio and video on the web, which have primarily been developed with commercial or teaching-focused use cases in mind, are insufficient for both long-term management of and scholarly use of media collections. Based on these needs and this identified solution gap, IU Libraries and NU Library embarked on a collaborative project in 2011 to develop the Avalon Media System, aimed at making it easier for libraries and archives to provide long-term online access to audio and video collections for use by a primarily academic audience. With funding from a three-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and advice and support from ten additional partner institutions, IU and NU have successfully collaborated to release three major versions of Avalon since the development project began in October 2011. The Avalon software, which is based on the Hydra digital repository framework and Fedora digital repository system, has been made available by IU and NU as open source under an Apache license, and interest and uptake by the community has been strong. Avalon software installers have been downloaded over 1900 times since 2013, and in addition to production implementations at NU and IU, at least six other production implementations are currently underway at the libraries of the University of Virginia, Stanford University, University of Toronto, Washington University, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Louisville. In order to build on the momentum of Avalon’s successful development collaboration and strong community interest, IU and NU propose to: 1) develop additional features and functionality for Avalon to better meet needs of collection managers and users; 2) conduct studies of use of audio and video collections by researchers in humanities disciplines to help ensure future support for scholarly use; 3) integrate Stanford University’s Spotlight exhibit tool with Avalon to allow librarians, archivists, and scholars to showcase and provide additional context for media items and collections; 4) develop and implement a community-funded business and governance model to sustain ongoing support and development for Avalon; and 5) deploy Avalon in a hosted software-as-a-service model for use by institutions tha
Effective start/end date1/20/157/31/18


  • Indiana University (BL-4447411-NWU // 41400701)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (BL-4447411-NWU // 41400701)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.