Media Vault Program Update

October 22, 2010

Media Vault Program Update
October 2010

Greetings MVP Stakeholders,

This month brings the completion of the Media Vault Program, as well as the beginning of new initiatives. It also brings a brief extension, through winter break, for the Extensis Portfolio/NetPublish service.

The three-year, grant-funded Media Vault Program comes to a close this fall.  Supported by UC Berkeley’s IT Bank, the MVP has been instrumental in raising issues related to digital asset management and preservation.  Its efforts have addressed fundamental scholarly needs on campus.

The Media Vault Program brought several new services to campus.  Working closely with research and teaching collections, the MVP put in place an innovative digital asset management and archive solution, coupling the notion of long-term preservation with commercially available cataloging and publishing software.  This exploratory offering helped campus collections such as the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and the History of Art Visual Resources Collection manage their images, recordings and other electronic holdings, and make these objects available on the Web.  Over the last year, the MVP team took the lessons learned from this work and applied them to the creation of a sustainable content management and collaboration service appropriate for use by the entire campus.  (See ‘Media Hub becoming ‘Research Hub’’, below.)

Equally as important, the MVP created a unique partnership among campus and UC system-wide programs, bringing together the UC Berkeley Library, the campus’s Educational Technology Services and Information Services & Technology organizations, the California Digital Library and others in discussions and workshops about this vital area of academic technology.  Program partners have spawned new initiatives such as the forth-coming Research Hub service, the California Digital Library’s UC Curation Center (see ‘New Services for the UC Community from the CDL/UC3’, below) and significant updates by the campus Library to its GenDB service.  Through these and other initiatives, MVP partners continue to provide help to scholars, even as funding for the Media Vault Program comes to an end.

Increasingly, digital materials form the heart of scholarship.  For the past three years, the Media Vault Program has focused its attention – and the University’s – on the proper management of these resources.  It is a complex and expensive endeavor; developing the means to support scholars will take the concerted efforts of many parties.  The vision of the MVP, and the spirit of collaboration that guided it, must live on!

The Media Hub, the content management and collaboration service piloted this spring by the Media Vault team, has gained a new name on its way to launch.  Rechristened Research Hub, this new service from Information Services & Technology’s Data Services Department is designed to support the needs of campus researchers.  Its URL will be easy to remember:

The Research Hub team is developing terms of service and pricing models in preparation for a limited release this fall.  Look for an announcement soon.

While the final decisions are being made, the underlying hardware and software have been installed, localized, tested and prepared for campus use.  Authentication has been tied to the campus’s CalNet identity management service, so users won’t need a separate password.  Research Hub is in the queue of services awaiting integration with the CalNet Guest Access program; by the end of the semester, partners and colleagues from outside the campus community should be able to work collaboratively with campus scholars, students and staff.

Meanwhile, the Research Hub has been selected as one of the workspace engines behind the Project Bamboo technology proposal.  Over the next 18 months, the Research Hub will be used to prototype workspace features and to test the online workspace requirements of scholars in the Humanities, Arts and interpretive Social Sciences.

The Media Vault Program’s Extensis Portfolio/NetPublish-based service, originally slated to close in October of 2010, has been extended through the end of January 2011, giving MVP pilot participants time to move their collections and catalogs to other platforms.  Thanks to closeout funding from the campus’s IT Bank and the continued generosity of the Library, collection owners will now have until the beginning of spring semester to retrieve their materials.

The Media Vault team will contact participants in the upcoming weeks to help define migration plans.  If you have questions in the meantime, please contact the Media Vault team by email at

The California Digital Library (CDL) has announced two new services for the UC community.  Merritt, the next generation repository service from CDL’s UC Curation Center (UC3) will allow UC3 to extend the reach of its services to new constituencies such as museums, archives, research groups, academic departments and data centers.

Significant features include:
• permanent storage
• access via persistent URLs
• tools for long-term management
• an easy-to-use interface for deposit and updates

EZID (ee-zee-eye-dee) enables persistent identification of and access to a scholar’s research, which is critical to the long-term distribution and availability of the work.  Currently, EZID allows users to acquire DataCite Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) or Archival Resource Keys (ARKs).  CDL plans to add other identifier schemes going forward.  EZID is available via a machine-to-machine programming interface (an API) and as a web user interface.

The Research Hub team is already working with the UC3 team to automate the transfer of content from UC Berkeley to the UC3 Merritt platform.  For more information about Merritt or EZID, please contact UC3 (see contact link, below).

So, the program ends, but the effort continues. It has been a pleasure working with each of you – and will continue to be, in new and different forms of endeavor.
The Media Vault team

Useful Links:
Research Hub (UC Berkeley): (coming)
About: (coming)
Contact: (coming)
Project Bamboo:

Media Vault Team email address:

California Digital Library / University of California Curation Center (UC3):
UC3 contact page:
Merritt webinar:


Spotlight – May 2010

May 28, 2010

News relating to digital scholarship, access and preservation at Berkeley and around the world. To contribute, email Rick Jaffe

On Campus

Raymond Yee, Eric Kansa present on opening federal budget data
iSchool News, posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On May 20, iSchool faculty members Eric Kansa and Raymond Yee presented recommendations for making federal budget data “intelligible and available for public review and debate” to the Federal Spending Transparency Conference in Washington, DC. Drawing upon lessons from the web site, the authors called for budget information to be made available via web services, and archived and curated in a manner that maintains the public’s access to the data and trust in its validity. The text of their presentation can be found here (pdf).

The Conservator’s Art: Preserving Egypt’s Past
Exhibit, May 12, 2010 – May 11, 2011

From the event listing: “Explore techniques and see results of extensive conservation carried out on pieces including crocodile mummies, statuary, mummy portraits, amulets, and stela collected through the patronage of Phoebe A. Hearst ca. 1900. We hope you will celebrate with us as we work to preserve cultural information for the benefit of future generations. Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

It’s Not Just Black and White: Photographing the Built Environment
Exhibit, May 4 – August 16, 2010

From the event listing: “Drawing on the collections of the Environmental Design Archives, the Environmental Design Library, the CED Visual Resources Center, and private collections, the exhibit stimulates thinking about photographic representation of the built environment and how this representation influences our design, writing, and research activity.” Curated by Jason Miller. 210 Wurster Hall.

Around the World

JISC releases “Keeping Research Data Safe 2” report

The UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee, a body that provides leadership and funding for higher education and research, has just released the final report of a major study on the costs of preservation of research data. From the report: “One of the key findings on the long-term costs of digital preservation for research data was that the cost of archiving activities (archival storage and preservation planning and actions) is consistently a very small proportion of the overall costs and significantly lower than the costs of acquisition/ingest or access activities for all the case studies in KRDS2.”

Media Vault Program Update

May 21, 2010

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.


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.


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!

MV Team

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:


Media Hub links:

Service: (password required)



Spotlight – April 2010

April 30, 2010

News relating to digital scholarship, access and preservation at Berkeley and around the world. To contribute, email Rick Jaffe

On Campus
The Digitization of Science and the Degradation of the Scientific Method
iSchool: Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 4:00 – 5:30pm

Upcoming lecture by Victoria Stodden, postdoctoral associate in law and Kauffman fellow in law and innovation at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Dr. Stodden writes: “In this talk I argue that the scientific method be restored to (1) a focus on error control as central to scientific communication and (2) complete communication of the underlying methodology producing the results, ie. reproducibility.” 202 South Hall.

ECAI project joins the iSchool
iSchool News, posted Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI), founded in 1997, will make its home at the School of Information beginning this month. Formerly part of International and Area Studies, ECAI is working toward the creation of “a distributed virtual library of cultural information with a time and place interface,” according to co-director Michael Buckland, professor emeritus in the School of Information.

Water Resources Center Archive looking for a new academic home
On Water (blog), posted Thursday, April 15, 2010

Water Resources Center Archive Director Linda Vida has posted an update about the status of the WRCA to the On Water blog, in which she explains that, after 52 years, the Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources of the UC Office of the President has “determined that WRCA was no longer an appropriate fit for the Division, due to budget cuts and the adoption of a new strategic vision.” A Request For Application has been distributed to departments at four UC campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Riverside and Merced. ANR hopes to find a new home for the archive by June 30, 2010.

Campus AVC-CIO Shel Waggener on Cloud computing – The future and challenges of IT shared services
UC Berkeley iNews, article posted Friday, April 30, 2010

In the first of four articles, the campus’s Chief Information Officer Shel Waggener discusses the changes that IT organizations must accomplish to take advantage of new forms of delivery that promise financial savings.

See also:
OCIO Presents: Brad Wheeler, VP & CIO of Indiana University, speaking to campus on “Thriving in the Era of Rabid Collaboration” (webcast)
Presentation given April 14, 2010

Around the World

Two announcements from the Internet Archive: 2 millionth digitized text, millions of documents from the US Federal Courts now freely available
Internet Archive Forums, posted by Brewster Kahle, March 31, 2010 and April 6, 2010, respectively

The Internet Archive passed a milestone recently when it digitized the 1,000 year old Homiliary on Gospels from Easter to first Sunday of Advent: it was the 2,000,000th digitized text made available to “researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public for free on since 2005.” Also, the archive announced
a partnership with Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy and numerous volunteers that creates access, through technological and social means, to millions of US Federal Court documents that are currently available to the public – but difficult to obtain – through a program called PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). At present, the archive says, it is adding a document each minute to its holdings of these records.

Wired Campus – Archive Watch: Civil Rights Over There
Chronicle of Higher Education, article by Jennifer Howard (UCB authentication or subscription required)
Posted March 2, 2010

From the article: “Two historians—Maria Höhn, an associate professor at Vassar College, and Martin Klimke, of Heidelberg University and the German Historical Institute in Washington— … have established The Civil Rights Struggle, African-American GI’s, and Germany, an online archive dedicated to gathering and digitizing primary-source material from the (post-war) period.”

News and reaction: US Federal Court denies FCC power to regulate cable internet providers
By Edward Wyatt, New York Times (April 6, 2010) and
Susan Crawford, New York Times (April 10, 2010), respectively

In a decision handed down on April 6, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that “regulators had limited power over Web traffic under current law.” The decision dealt a setback to the FCC’s efforts to impose “net neutrality,” and to its National Broadband Plan to provide internet access to rural areas. The news article continues, “more broadly, the ruling could raise obstacles to the Obama administration’s effort to increase Americans’ access to high-speed Internet networks.”

In response, Susan Crawford, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School and former special advisor to President Obama, argues that the FCC needn’t change its strategy; it only has to “relabel Internet access services as ‘telecommunications services,’ rather than as ‘information services’,” as they’d been considered until August 2005.

DrupalCon SF 2010 session: Enterprise Content Management with Drupal, Alfresco and CMIS
Presentation by Chris Fuller, Optaros, Wednesday, April 21, 2010 (web video)

One of the last sessions of the recent Drupal conference in San Francisco provided a look at the new CMIS standard (for interoperability among content management systems) in action. Using CMIS, Drupal developers might be able to extend the Alfresco-based Media Hub to fit the needs of their unit.

Spotlight – March 2010

March 31, 2010

News relating to digital scholarship, access and preservation at Berkeley and around the world. To contribute, email Rick Jaffe

On Campus
Portugese Republic Turns 100
Bancroft Library: March 5 – May 21 (library hours)
Townsend Humanities Lab: on-line, ongoing

Exhibit at the Bancroft Library (March 5-May 21), with a “digital mirror” online at the Townsend Humanities Lab. Bancroft Library Corridor.

Big Ideas at CITRIS Poster and Judging Session
Thursday, April 22, 2010: 3pm – 5pm

The top 10 finalists in this year’s Big Ideas competition will present posters, and the winners will be announced. Kvamme Atrium, 3rd floor, Sutardja Dai Hall.

CalDay 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010, 9am-4pm

Annual campus open house – take in all that Berkeley has to offer. See the Cal Day web page for activities and schedules. Many locations across the UC Berkeley campus.

Around the World

Draft specification for media annotation announced
Posted by Brian Sletten, InfoQ

The W3C Media Annotations Working Group has recently posted drafts of its Ontology for Media Resource 1.0 and API for Media Resource 1.0 efforts. They have also updated the Use Cases document to reflect some of the intentions of these projects.

The proposed standard aims to, among other goals:
• make it easier for people to access media resources across the collections of different cultural heritage institutions (libraries, museums, archives, etc.) on the Web.
• allow descriptors of media resources to apply to versions of the same media in various formats
• enable developers to handle user-created annotations – comments, tags, rankings, even viewing history – created in various applications, allowing applications to make recommendations to its users and viewers to add or link to the annotations of other users.

Effort to Widen U.S. Internet Access Sets Up Battle
By Brian Stelter and Jenna Wortham, New York Times (March 12, 2010)

Lead: “The Federal Communications Commission is proposing an ambitious 10-year plan that will reimagine the nation’s media and technology priorities by establishing high-speed Internet as the country’s dominant communication network.”

DrupalCon SF
April 19-21, 2010

A gathering of Drupal-ers from around the world, right in our backyard. Keynote speakers include Dries Buytaert, Drupal Project Lead; Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media; and David H. Cole, Executive Office of the President (The White House). Individual sessions are aimed at audiences ranging from developers, designers and system administrators to Drupal beginners and businesses using (or wishing to use) Drupal in their web effort. Events on the two days prior to the start of the conference include a core developer summit, Drupal trainings, an unconference and a pre-conference sprint.

Spotlight – February 2010

February 28, 2010

News relating to digital scholarship, access and preservation at Berkeley and around the world. To contribute, email Rick Jaffe

On Campus
Information Visualization for Knowledge Discovery
Wednesday, March 3, 2010 12-1 pm

Ben Shneiderman, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland, speaks at CITRIS about successful new interactive information visualization tools and current research progress in the field. “By combining powerful data mining methods with user-controlled interfaces, users are beginning to benefit from these potent telescopes for high-dimensional data.” Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall.

One-day InfoCamp 2010 Berkeley
Saturday, March 6, 2010 9am-5pm

An “uncamp” for people interested in “user experience, information architecture, interaction design, information management, information design, librarianship, online search, informatics, and related fields.” South Hall.

Emerging Law & Policy Issues In Cloud Computing
Friday, March 12, 2010 8:30am-5:30pm

A one-day conference sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, the Berkeley School of Law, and the School of Information. Even as third-party services and storage offer new, affordable opportunities for scholars (and all of us!) to manage digital materials, many of the legal issues surrounding activity on the cloud remain unresolved. UC Berkeley International House.

Around the World
Avoiding a Digital Dark Age: Data longevity depends on both the storage medium and the ability to decipher the information
Kurt D. Bollacker
American Scientist (subscription required)

A nice introduction to the problems and techniques of archiving and data preservation

TechCrunch: Memeo Connect Launches, Brings Desktop Sync to Google Apps
Jason Kincaid

Tech blog discusses a new Google-based option for managing documents and syncing your desktop

Spotlight – January 2010

January 26, 2010

News relating to digital scholarship, access and preservation at Berkeley and around the world. To contribute, email Rick Jaffe

On Campus
Opencast Matterhorn webinar to feature ETS staff
Monday, February 1, 2010 10:00 am (PST)

The upcoming EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Web seminar on the Opencast Matterhorn project will feature:

  • Mara Hancock, Director for Educational Technologies, UC Berkeley
  • Adam Hochman, Opencast Matterhorn Project Manager (ETS)
  • Ben Hubbard, Manager of webcast.berkeley
  • Olaf A. Schulte, Opencast Matterhorn Product Manager (ETH Zurich)

Project Bamboo joins Mellon’s Scholarly Communications Program

Project Bamboo has been accepted into the portfolio of the Scholarly Communications Program of the Andrew Mellon Foundation in the aftermath of the recent closure of the Foundation’s Research in Information Technology (RIT) program. (See Spotlight article in “Around the World,” below.) RIT funded the Project Bamboo planning project, which is led by UC Berkeley and the University of Chicago.

E-Learning Librarian: In 2009, social Web advanced data visualization (excerpt) (full post) (Library notice)

Char Booth, UC Berkeley E-Learning Librarian, notes in her blog:

The rising popularity of visualization affects how people engage with our stock and trade: information. When data becomes prettier to look at, not only does it become more comprehensible, it also becomes more interesting.

Around the World
The Wired Campus: In Potential Blow to Open-Source Software, Mellon Foundation Closes Grant Program
Chronicle of Higher Education, article by Marc Parry (UCB authentication or subscription required)

The Andrew Mellon Foundation has announced that it is closing its Research in Information Technology (RIT) program and merging that effort into its Scholarly Communications program. Established in 2000, RIT “helped bankroll a catalog of freely available software” that includes Sakai (known as bSpace at UC Berkeley), Kuali and Zotero.

Uncovering California’s environmental collections

From the press release: “The University of California’s California Digital Library (CDL), in partnership with nine California institutions, has been awarded a competitive grant to catalog thirty-three collections of documents, photographs, and other rich archival materials related to California’s environmental history. ”