Avalon Media System: Integrating audiovisual collections with research, digital preservation, and a sustainable developer community

Project: Research project

Project Details


Northwestern University Libraries, in partnership with subcontractor Indiana University Libraries, and working with contractors/consultants Lyrasis and Artefactual Systems, propose a National Digital Platform project to bolster sustainability of the Avalon Media System open source audio and video access repository system while increasing its value to current and future library adopters. This two- year project would run from July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2019. Avalon is an open source software package for managing and providing access to large collections of audio and video materials, currently fully implemented at five institutions. Planned, designed, and built with support from prior grants from IMLS and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Avalon provides to library, archives, and cultural heritage institutions what existing commercial, open source media systems, and digital repository platforms do not adequately address: an affordable, community driven, preservation ready audio and video (AV) delivery system. However, we have seen that many institutions have needs for media access but lack the resources to locally stand up an instance of a media-focused repository system such as Avalon. In addition, institutions want to be able to integrate more sophisticated AV functionality into existing repository systems such as institutional and research data repositories alongside other content formats. The aim of this project is to increase adoption of Avalon within the library and archives community by enhancing the value proposition of Avalon and carrying out work to help ensure sustainability: 1. Integrate Avalon within the Hydra community. We will adapt Avalon to make use of the current Hydra open source repository software stack and will engage members of the Hydra community in development through community sprints. We will also increase the modularity of Avalon so that its components can be more easily integrated into other Hydra-based repository systems, including Hydra-in-a-Box, to provide time-based media access. 2. Implement a cloud-hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) version of Avalon. We will work with Lyrasis and DuraSpace on the establishment of a hosted SaaS offering by conducting pilots to help provide cost modeling for Avalon as a cloud based service. If successful, revenues from the service are anticipated to help to sustain future Avalon development and maintenance. 3. Connect Avalon to media preservation systems and workflows. We will connect Avalon to long-term digital preservation solutions and improve interoperability with workflow and management tools in order to provide a complete AV preservation and access platform, by working with Artefactual Systems to integrate Avalon with the Archivematica platform. 4. Enable interoperability with scholarly tools. The Avalon technical team will take a leadership role with the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) by contributing to the creation of an AV interoperability spec and providing a demonstration implementation. The functional enhancements to Avalon in the areas of preservation and interoperability with scholarly tools and the support for sustainability generated through SaaS implementation and greater development engagement within the Hydra community will improve the ability of libraries and archives to integrate robust AV media delivery into their digital collections practices and increase the AV collections available as part of the national digital library platform.
Effective start/end date7/1/176/30/20


  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (LG-70-17-0042-17)


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