August 14, 2020

Samvera Partners Call
Friday, August 14th, 2020
11:30 am  |  Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-05:00)  |  1 hr 

Meeting number: 737 192 431 
Meeting password:h9cwrT45

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Code of Conduct

We want Samvera Community to be a fun, informative, engaging event for all our partners and participants. We've got a few strategies to help make this happen:

    1. We encourage everyone to apply the Samvera community principles of openness, inquiry, and respect in their interactions at the event.

    2. We have officially adopted an Anti-Harassment Policy.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to community helpers 


Facilitator: Richard Green

Note Taker:  Esmé Cowles


Richard Green

Esmé Cowles

Karen Cariani

Mike Korcynski

Nabeela Jaffer

Margaret Mellinger

Rosalyn Metz

Brian McBride

Daniel Kerchner

Jon Dunn

Harriett Green

Stuart Kenny

Rick Johnson

John Weise

Robin Lindley Ruggaber

Maria Whitaker

Regrets: Simeon Warner


Agenda and notes

  1. Notetaker for next call (September 11th)
    1. Nabeela volunteered
  2. Any other items for the agenda?
    1. No other items added, but feel free to add things as we go
  3. Presentation from George Washington University on their ISIS files repository - Dan Kerchner, GWU
    1. Background: experience with Samvera
      1. Build GW Scholarsapce IR on Sufia 6/7 in 2015, rebuilt on Hyrax in 2017
      2. Built a batch loader, now have 10K+ works (Hyrax 2.8.0)
    2. ISIS files
      1. ISIS was the governing entity in the area they controlled, so basic government functions
      2. NY Times reporter embedded with Iraqi army that liberated Mosul, discovered huge trove of documents spanning the whole range of government activities, and got permission to digitize, curate, translate, and make them public
      3. NY Times reached out to Program on Extremism at GWU, got grant from Mellon Foundation to support this work
      4. The project involved staff in many roles, including project management, metadata, translation, etc. and some development time.
      5. Part of the goal was figuring out how to work with such sensitive documents in a repository in a responsible way
    3. Repository content and workflow
      1. 15K pages, ~1500 files, initial batch was 62 documents
        1. Ingesting both original documents, plus analysts' reports
      2. Workflow: digitize, sort/review, translate, describe, redact, convert to accessible PDFs, then ingest
        1. Accessibility is key both for the website and for the files that are ingested
    4. Technology evaluation
      1. Evaluated Hyrax, Drupal, Wordpress, and Murkutu
      2. Chose Hyrax because: out-of-the-box feature set, accessibility, design, preservation, security
      3. Other factors: existing (positive) skills/experience, pretty low effort to get the features they needed, community support
      4. Had to decide between Hyrax 2.x or 3.0-rc (hoped that 3.0 would be released by now, but it hasn't been a problem)
    5. Features and customizations built for the app
      1. Click-through consent to cookies, becoming very common with GDPR
      2. Customized menus, building static pages with TinyMCE
      3. Multi-lingual/multi-script metadata: Arabic original, Roman-script transliteration, and translation to English
        1. Original documents and translated into English appear side-by-side
      4. PDF handoff to browser instead of download or embedded viewer, though that was a better experience
      5. Hid technical metadata, other display simplifications
      6. Added Captcha for login/signup/comment forms — still some spam, but helps a lot
    6. Release event in June with speakers
      1. Considerable amount of press coverage, global interest
      2. Did not notice any malicious attacks
    7. Deployment
      1. AWS instead of GWU infrastructure, helpful to isolate from local apps, and also allows auto-scaling
      2. Full security review, including some remediations (not much for Hyrax other than upgrading jQuery), making source code private
    8. What's next?
      1. More content
      2. More features: IIIF, etc.
      3. Metadata values i18n 
      4. Adding UI languages like Arabic
      5. Technical debt, and contributing local features back where it makes sense
      6. Some modeling changes to differentiate original vs. translations
    9. Things that make ISIS Files different
      1. Sensitive documents with unusual provenance
      2. High profile content
    10. Critical success factors
      1. Community support
      2. Hyrax is a solid platform to build from: "Hyrax was the easy part"
  4. Status check on Community Manager appointment
    1. Position posted several weeks ago through Emory, have had many applicants
    2. Have done preliminary phone screenings, and narrowed down to shortlist to interview
    3. Interviews will happen in the next couple of weeks
  5. Status check on Code of Conduct work
    1. Work is going ahead, but don't expect to be complete by Connect because of scheduling
  6. Connect 2020 Calls for proposals
    1.  Update: Call for workshops closes this week (may extend, but please put in proposals), call for presentations closes at the end of the month
    2. Sanity check on proposed mechanism for posters
      1. Have an approach we think is workable: ask for poster submissions, accompanied by a short video or notes
      2. Presenter also signs up for 30-minute block to have a chat session with any interested parties (scheduled on
  7. Anything to raise with the Steering Group (standing item)
    1. No issues raised
  8. Date of next call
    1. Friday 11th September, usual time slot