Winter 2013 enhancements

We deployed a new version of the Carolina Digital Repository software yesterday that includes many enhancements we’ve been working on for the past several months.  Here is a list of the highlights.

Access control

  • A completely redesigned access control scheme is the centerpiece of this release.  We call our new access control scheme FRACAS (Fedora Role-based Access Control and Security).  It takes advantage of Fedora’s Enhanced Security Layer (FeSL) to apply role-based access controls to individual datastreams in the repository.  With FRACAS we can consistently enforce sophisticated permissions at the Fedora API level, making it possible to expand access to administrative functionalities to collection managers, and to open up repository data to third-party applications.

User Interface

  • Enhancements to the public interface include the ability to display collection-level metadata for restricted collections.  Along with this we have created a form that enables users to request access to these collections from collection owners.
  • We  improved UI support for aggregate objects.  The interface now rolls up a default object and its child objects into a unified display.
  • We added the ability to support custom forms for user-initiated deposit of materials into the repository.  We piloted this service with UNC’s School of Information and Library Science in the fall, and are opening up this feature to the Art department and the Undergraduate Honors Program this spring.

Admin interface

This release marks the beginning of a transformed administrative interface that is much more stable, intuitive, and functional than our early administrative application.

  • To support the creation and updating of descriptive MODS metadata, we built an XML editor that is capable of supporting any schema-based XML format.  We will release this tool to the community as a standalone open-source application.  Look for more information about the jQuery MODS editor in the coming weeks.
  • We created a review and publication tool to facilitate the review of user-initiated deposit by collection managers.
  • We built a set of status monitors to allow collection managers to track the progress of large batch ingest processes, from initial acceptance through technical metadata extraction and indexing.
  • The new administrative interface takes advantage of our Solr index, enabling more efficient searching and navigation for administrative users.

Solr index improvements

  • We updated our Solr schema to support future interface enhancements, including scoped views into the CDR, and custom data elements for specific collections.
  • We modified our Solr schema to support rollup for aggregate objects.
  • Our Solr ingest pipeline is more efficient and modular.  It now offers support for partial index updates, when only some of the information about an object must change.
  • The index has enhanced support for access control.  It is aware of the current user’s authorizations and displays only what the user is authorized to see.
  • We have refined our reindexing process and are now able to complete reindexes with very little downtime.

Software updates

  • Upgraded to Fedora 3.6.2
  • Upgraded to Solr  4
  • iRODS now uses PAM authentication to interact with UNC’s LDAP service.

General improvements to code base

  • We created code libraries for common components to support reuse of software components between the public and administrative applications.


Posted in CDR Updates


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