Why Fedora? More Answers to the Fedora Users Survey

I noticed this response to the Fedora users survey on Peter Murray’s blog, and figured I’d post a response. Since my previous employer did not use Fedora, and I haven’t begun my new job yet, I’ll be posting about our use of Fedora at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

How did you hear about Fedora? I heard about Fedora through Ron Jantz, Rutgers’ Digital Library Architect, in the summer of 2002. I was working at Rutgers then, actively seeking and tinkering with digital repository software. I installed the 0.9 version of Fedora in December of 2002, if memory serves.

Why did you choose Fedora? I’d already installed DSpace, Greenstone, and DLXS, and none of them seemed to suit our needs very well. Fedora was an easy choice to make for us since it seemed to be the only repository system that supported any metadata schemas we threw at it, which was a hard requirement, and also its ability to support behavior preservation via disseminators set it apart from the others. Additional advantages were that it exposed its methods through well-documented APIs, which other major repository systems still do not seem to do. In short, it was a clear decision.

The only drawback was the lack of an out-of-the-box interface, but we saw that as more of an opportunity to keep our back-end system separated from its interfaces, and our development team was eager for the chance to develop a customized set of interfaces.

Also, it’s free.

Were there economic advantages to your project/org. in selecting Fedora? I mentioned that Fedora is free, right? I know of no other economic advantages though perhaps one could argue that its inclusion in certain grants was beneficial.

What is Fedora’s unique role in your production system? Fedora serves as the back-end of RUcore: the digital institutional repository of Rutgers University, statewide digital initiatives such as the New Jersey Digital Highway, and electronic journals such as Pragmatic Case Studies in Psychotherapy. It is being used to preserve and provide access to metadata and data objects.

Is there one specific Fedora attribute that enables your project/organization to accomplish your overall goals. Flexibility with regard to metadata; extensibility of Fedora via its service framework; support for custom disseminators and behavior preservation; usage of the filesystem rather than complete dependence upon RDBMS; separation of repository methods and interfaces; and exposure of methods via web services APIs.

Do you see yourself as an active member of the Fedora community? And why? I see myself as an active consumer in the Fedora community. I haven’t worked with Fedora in over a year due to a job change, so I haven’t contributed anything in a while. I hope to remedy this in my new position, though I’m not yet convinced that Fedora is the right solution for them.

What would inspire you to become more involved? An employer that has committed to Fedora.

What should be the mission of an ongoing Fedora organization? Continuing support and upgrades, outreach to Fedora users, and advocacy to ensure that folks know what the benefits of Fedora are.

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