Washington University Libraries Becomes Hydra Partner

Following a series of milestones in connection with the Hydra project, Washington University Libraries has become a Hydra partner. The announcement can be found on the Hydra website: https://projecthydra.org/2016/08/04/wustl-becomes-a-hydra-partner/.

With a number of digital resources on unsupported platforms and others not on any local platform at all, library staff had been monitoring the growth of the Hydra project as a possible replacement platform for some time. The decision to pursue adoption of Hydra began in earnest following the Spring 2014 CNI conference held in St. Louis, where the excitement and energy around the Hydra presentation indicated the project clearly had momentum. The libraries were invited by the Mellon Foundation to make a new university librarian’s grant proposal, and the Libraries decided to make the implementation of Hydra its focus. Soon after, library staff began reviewing Hydra solutions, and then engaged Data Curation Experts, first to assist with a scoping process (in the spring of 2015) and then to develop a new version of the “Curation Concerns” Hydra code base, which was completed in late 2015. More work was needed to stand up the application as the coding wound down, but the DCE repository was publicly available in February 2016, and the Avalon streaming media repository was publicly available the following month. Besides the public repositories, there is other work on new uses of tools acquired in the course of the implementation, and on other Hydra solutions, such as the GIS-related applications.

In May 2016 three collections were available in the public repositories and the launch was marked by a day of activities helping people learn—and ask—more about Hydra, on May 13th, beginning with a Skype presentation by Tom Cramer, one of the founders of Hydra, and ending with a “poster session” with laptop presentations, where people could engage in conversations about different possible uses for Hydra.

The Mellon grant especially helped to fund staff attendance at workshops and conferences about Hydra that contributed to the implementation. The two-year grant concluded in July, and appropriately, the following month the Washington University Libraries became Hydra Partners. Though much has been accomplished, work continues on exploring new functionality and adding new collections.

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