Impressions from Open Repositories 2010

One minor concern I brought to the conference, which has roots in my attendance at the 2007 conference, was whether it would be too system-oriented to be relevant, since Penn State doesn’t plan to use Fedora, DSpace, or ePrints.  I was pleased to see the increased attention to alternative approaches to preservation and to repositories as a set of services rather than (necessarily) as a system.

Penn State’s institutional digital stewardship program is investigating curation microservices, such as those developed by the University of California Curation Center, as an architecture for digital curation. So I came to OR2010 with an eye towards development in this space.  I wasn’t the only one; both the PASIG session and the DuraSpace strategic overview identified microservices as a trend, and a number of microservices seem likely to be built into the 1.7 release of DSpace.

I attended the curation microservices BOF, which was well-attended taking into account it was up against a developer challenge event – institutions represented include Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Harvard, U. of Hull, California Digital Library, MIT, UNC-Chapel Hill, San Diego Supercomputer Center, Penn State, Northwestern, U. of Pennsylvania, and Princeton.

We discussed our interests in the topic, experiences w/ the microservices approach, development of a community around microservices, the California Digital Library’s role in sustaining said community, and governance of collaborative software development and of the community.

The BOF covered a lot of ground in a short period of time, and we agreed to start having periodic open teleconferences to share information about microservices development.  We’ll also utilize the digital-curation Google Group for virtual communication, and use events such as Open Repositories, IDCC, and iPRES – in addition to Curation Technology Camp (CURATEcamp) events – for microservices get-togethers.