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Project Update, September 10, 2021

The final analysis report from discoverygarden was approved by the CTDA in the first week of September. This report is now available.  The report is filled with technical language and jargon. We will produce an executive summary of the report written in non technical language in the coming days. 

The Ultra-condensed version is that we are focusing on "feature parity" as a first step for the new system. That means that we are going to ensure that everything you can do now in the CTDA you will be able to do in the new system. This is more difficult than it may seem since the underlying method of data management is much different from how the system currently manages data internally. 

Because of the amount of work we did developing the assessment report and roadmap. We can move directly to implementation, saving months of analysis and planning time. 

The plain language feature parity report will be available shortly. 

The Project

The CTDA is embarking on a major upgrade to its infrastructure to bring you better service and more features. Our current Islandora 7 system was originally installed in 2011 and runs on three core open-source tools: Islandora version 7, Drupal version 7, and FedoraCommons version 3.6. All three of these systems will be discontinued in 2022. We started planning last Summer to migrate to more up-to-date versions of these software applications and wanted to report our progress to date and solicit feedback in some areas.

Current Technology

First, we will be expanding the technology architecture of the CTDA system. The current system, implemented in 2018, was scaled for approximately 50TB and 1.5 million objects. The current CTDA has over two million objects, and we have all been aware of slowdowns in the system, especially in derivative generation on the back end. The new infrastructure will be scaled for a Petabyte-sized system with millions of objects and will have the ability to automatically balance the load of system resources based on demand. We should see significant improvements in system performance and continued good performance as the system grows. We will be working with UConn ITS to implement the new technology infrastructure.

Migration Roadmap

Next, we worked with our software support vendor discoverygarden (dgi) to analyze the current system and create roadmap for migration to the new system that preserves a “one to one” feature set between the two. That is, all current features available in the CTDA will be available in the new system. Some of these features may work a bit differently behind the scenes, and there will be some changes in how certain things are done in the new system. We will develop training programs and documentation in the Resource Center to smooth the transition. Islandora 8 (as it is called) also comes with a host of new features already built-in. 

A few of the new features that are standard in Islandora 8 include:

  • A Taxonomy feature that will make metadata management easier, faster, and more responsive.
  • A redesigned management interface which will make content management easier to understand. This new interface uses a “common sense” approach to content management without the need to understand obscure things like “RelsExt” datastream terminology and syntax.
  • A new “universal media viewer” that supports all types of multi-object content, including books, newspapers, and compound objects in a streamlined interface
  • A browser-based, user friendly “batch update” tool, that will allow you to make metadata updates to multiple files at once.

New CTDA Features

Finally, we want to take this opportunity to implement new features in the system to enhance the user and content manager experience. While we have many ideas of our own, we want to hear from you. We’ve created a Islandora 8 wishlist channel in CTDA Slack for you to contribute your wishes. And since this is a “wish” list, don’t worry about how we might do what you are asking, or what it would cost. We just want to hear about it. We hope that this wish list will spark conversation among the membership about what you want to CTDA to become.


Project Timeline
(As of

June 14

September 10, 2021)

These dates MAY change as the planning process continues:

July September 2021

  • Final System Analysis report received from dgi
  • Minimum Viable Product (Phase I) implementation Scope of Work approved by University Purchasing.

September - November 2021

  • Developing Final feature set and enhancements (Phase II)
  • Phase I implementation planning begins
  • Phase I roadmap , and accepted by the CTDA
  • Implementation Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) sent to Contracts Administration for the next phase of approvals

October 1, 2021

  • Implementation begins according to WBS
  • Roadmap and task lists finalized

December 2021 - July 2022

  • Dgi and CTDA work out the details/crosswalks and other aspects of the new system and the migration.
  • Look for updates and questions for the community about different solutions during this time.Presentation (Public) Layer configuration work begins

November 2021

  • Infrastructure installation
  • Test system installed-- volunteer members test system functionality
  • Management system configuration begins
  • Migration crosswalks finished and testing begins
  • CTDA and member institutions review Institutional pages, schemes, and logos
  • Begin CTDA begins creating content manager training material

August 2022

Ingest freeze. No new content added to Islandora 7

January 2022

  • Migration testing and refinement continues
  • Content migration to Islandora 8 begins
  • Content manager training in Islandora 8 begins

September 2022July 2022

  • Ingest freeze–no new content added to Islandora 7
  • Content migration to Islandora 8 completed
  • Islandora 8 accepts new content
  • Content manager training complete

September -October 2022

  • Islandora 7 continues to run without updates or new content
  • Islandora 8 testing and final configurations

November 2022

  • Islandora 8 complete
  • Islandora 7 system retired