Archive for the ‘User Interface’ Category

Fez Looks: Simple Customizations

Monday, December 15th, 2008

For Members Only…


Take a look at the staging instances of member Fez implementations to see User Interface customizations.


You will need the login information for the development/staging server, as well as the various MARC org codes for the institutions, found on the wiki here:


After logging in to the staging server at your own implementation, change the MARC org code value in the URL to view other institutions’ changes to the banner, footer, and color schemes.


Example: Change to (replacing cod with coccc)


If you are interested in learning more about making a change, contact either the ADR Steering Committee representative from the inspiring institution, or the ADR directly (

The Name Game: Consortial and Institutional Identity-Making in the ADR

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Identity is becoming the major focus of our repository and member interests. Or, I should say, it always has been a major focus, but as we have been building the preservation, management, and discovery and access foundations, it hasn’t had the same resources directed towards it as other components, since internally it has been seen as a bit more “finish” than “foundation.” Both are important (who wants to live in a house with unpainted walls?), but from a functional perspective we’ve been working on getting the repository up and running and stable…

At each step of ADR construction to date, though, we have incorporated features and taken actions that will support institutional branding/skinning, as well as scoped management and preservation activities. Unfortunately, these are mostly about function and have little visible impact on the oh-so-important-to-stakeholders “curb appeal,” but the need for that curb appeal and the programmatic support for has always been on the horizon and speeding straight toward us!

It may not be immediately apparent, but to ultimately get to the “my banner” and “my colors here” level of activity, the Alliance already has reworked Fedora and Fez code to accommodate institutional “buckets” for data deposit, storage, and management under Fedora. We have also made a commitment to providing customizable, best practice driven metadata profiles for a variety of material types, with the hope that one institution’s image object is both interoperable within and beyond the ADR community, while also meeting local needs. This translates to a lot of code, a lot of cloning of XSDs, and a lot of hand-holding of the relationship between Fedora and Fez.

We recently decided to pursue individual Fez instances on top of the consortial Fedora instance, to better support branding as well as security, authentication, and administration. This decision was not made lightly, as it presents a bit of a management challenge, but the gains, we feel, outweigh the costs. Multiple Fezzes has always been seen a s a “Plan B” – which inevitably has become THE plan. Our initial foray into reworking a single Fez to support not just “a look” but large chunks of underlying functionality supporting searching, browsing, administration, and authentication was more than we – or the web interactive firm we contracted out to – could do.

Each of these individual Fezzes will also have its own “name” and identity…along the lines of “DigitalUNC,” “CU Scholarship,” or maybe “BooneDocs?” (The last has been vetoed, I believe, by the powers that be at DU…but I thought it was pretty clever….DU’s recently resurrected mascot is “Denver Boone”). It will also have its own LDAP configuration, if desired, as well as its own material type templates (XSDs), communities, collections, and workflows. Essentially, from the “curb” it will appear as though every institution will have its own repository.

In October 2006, the Board of Directors of the Alliance approved a plan for the ADR that included two related, yet somewhat conflicting, deliverables – a branded interface to the repository for each member library/institution (see above) AND a consortial view that brought together all of the diverse, yet complimentary open access materials that could aid the end-user in their research, whether they be the casual “K to Gray” visitor, or the hard-core researcher… So, we add a consortial interface to the list of institutional interfaces…easy, right? We’ll see…

From a functionality perspective, initially, we thought we’d add another Fez instance and index all open Fedora objects into it, but now we are leaning toward an OAI-like (or maybe OAI with no “like”…) service – the simpler the better…

In the identity building process, it’s also time to start “branding” that consortial repository interface, much like the individual member interfaces. To date, ADR has meant the whole repository service, the Fez Interface, and Fedora repository – and any combination thereof. We tried to call the Fez interface ADRLib – but its gained little traction and we’ve heard that it is confusing. I’ve been bouncing around a couple of ideas internally, looking for traction – my goal is to come up with a name for web presence/user interface for the consortial aggregator of open repository content.

So, name-wise, what do you think of…

…MINeR: Multi-Institution Networked Repository?

This is an obvious play on the Alliance’s love of mining themed products: Prospector, Goldrush…turned into a somewhat sensible acronym



More than once George has described the ADR as being like the existing Union Catalog for “digital stuff” – although the ADR is much more than that, for discovery and redirection for access purposes, it does make sense…

I’m hoping our member library representatives have some additional ideas we can knock around on Friday at our monthly steering committee meetings…

“Branding” the ADR

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

One of the very first components of a digital repository/institutional repository environment identiied as essential by our member libraries was “branding”…the detail – such as exactly what and exactly how – are still being hammered out, but for more than a year development, the need to provided a customizable “look and feel” has never been far from the forefront of the ADR’s collective mind.

Through the summer, we’ve been holding out hope that the new release of Fez would a.) be released, and b.) address our branding needs.  As we move further into Fall, we find that we can’t wait for Fez’s next release and will need to move forward with other solutions.

So, we’ll include branding support in our contracted-out user interface development and design.  If schedules match up, we’ll  be able to direct our vendor to use the latest release of Fez as a base to deploy the “brandable” templates.  If these two activities don’t line up in a way that would be most beneficial, we’ll work to keep the branding strategy as simple and straight-forward as possible – and reusable, we hope, in the Fez release.