May 21, 2010
Greetings MVP Stakeholders,
Much of our effort since the New Year has been put towards the development of the Media Hub, a content management service that we propose to offer to campus by the start of fall semester. The Media Hub makes it easy to store, manage and share documents. It provides a workspace for files and media related to research and other types of collaborative projects, one that is hosted on secure campus servers and available from anywhere with a network connection.
Plans for the Media Hub service were outlined in a proposal submitted to the Campus Technology Council in March. Under the proposal, the Media Vault Program — as a set of use cases centered around research content, keenly intent on support for museum and departmental collections — would be refocused on the broader collaboration and document management needs of the larger campus community. We asked for funding to develop this effort in alignment with the campus’s Operational Excellence (OE) initiative. Though it represents a change in emphasis, this focus is still, we believe, consistent with the original aims of the MVP.
From its inception, the Media Vault Program was developed with the core principles of organizational effectiveness in mind. Starting from an understanding that individual researchers, research units and collections were underutilizing their digital scholarship — or even putting it at risk — because they couldn’t afford the cost of purchasing and maintaining technology systems, MVP’s vision was to align existing services, and, where appropriate, to provide new services centrally, to support the management and sharing of scholarly digital media. Doing so would enhance “research excellence,” reduce the risk to valuable, often one-of-a-kind content and increase the potential of fundraising with newly exposed collections.
The broader focus on content management can help us reach these goals. For one, it allows IST to address the most common campus needs — easy-to-use document management, web publication and web-based collaboration tools — TODAY, through a standard, financially-sustainable delivery model. Two, it gives us license to bring together the many campus experts across the entire range of content-related areas. By connecting the technical community with communities of practice for specific content technologies and providers, we can address the specialized concerns of sophisticated users.
Centrally, we will also make relevant policies accessible. We will help qualify vendors and negotiate content-oriented services from external service providers. We will smooth the path to adoption of popular new technologies, such as Drupal, that have already attracted campus- and system-wide investment. We will provide architectural support so that content and platforms move towards the goal of efficiency and interoperability and reuse.
We hope to hear the outcomes of the budget process by the end of the fiscal year. The proposal will become available for viewing in the next few weeks on the Campus Technology Council Campus IT Funding Request Process web site.
ENGAGEMENT AND BETA TESTING
The Media Hub team has spent March and April demonstrating the proposed service to campus units, labs and groups, showing off its strengths and gathering feedback on its features and its value. We have reached out to people working in a range of areas: collections, print and web publications, research, instruction and engaged scholarship. Several of these engagements have deepened into short-term “beta projects,” closer examinations of the fit between the service and the users’ needs. Media Hub staff are learning from these interactions about feature, performance and support requirements of the service. The beta program is scheduled to run through the end of May, after which the team will focus on “hardening” the platform, that is, getting it ready for prime time.
WORKING TOWARDS AUGUST LAUNCH
IST’s Data Services department has requested funding to launch Media Hub and to support the service for a year. While we await approval, we’re nailing down the details of the service offering. We’ll be sending around information on costs, terms of service, etc., in the upcoming months. Meanwhile, we’re familiarizing ourselves with version 3.3 of the platform, which offers a number of improvements to the service and should be available to us later in May. Then, while we configure, tweak and lock down the hardware and software during the summer, we will also be hard at work preparing support and training materials and procedures.
Finally, the Media Vault team bids farewell to Michael Ashley. Michael’s vision and style have given shape to the MVP since the program’s inception. As a fierce advocate for the needs of researchers, Michael has also reminded us – constantly – that we’re here to solve problems, but that we’re not alone in the effort: there’s an entire world of researchers, collection managers, cultural heritage institutions and vendors chipping away at solutions. Michael, we miss you already. Don’t go far!
ps. Read the MVP Spotlight for recent news relating to digital scholarship, access and preservation at Berkeley and around the world.
Media Vault Program Links:
Web site: http://mvp.berkeley.edu
Media Hub links:
Service: http://mediahub.berkeley.edu (password required)