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Here in the Repository Services group at USQ we have been working on a project funded by ARROW and in partnership with the National Library of Australia. It’s a bit of repository software originally designed to explore the Apache Solrsearch application.

We looked at Solr last year at USQ, and I blogged about it as part of a consulting job to compare VTLS Vital, Fez and Muradora. Since then, Muradora and Fez have both started using Solr, there is a plugin for Fedora’s standard text search package to use Solr. As far as I know VTLS have not announced anything to do with Solr apart from their Visualizer product.

The goal of the current project is to create a simple interface to Fedora that uses a single technology that’s Solr to handle all browsing, searching and security. This contrasts with solutions that use RDF for browsing by ‘collection’, XACML for security and a text indexer for fulltext search, and in some cases relational database tables as well. We want to see if taking out some of these layers makes for a fast application which is easy to configure. So far so good.

This is not a replacement for VTLS Vital, and is not intended to replace the NLA’s ARROW Discovery service which is also based on Solr.

We now have a working demonstration with content pulled from a number of repositories, and are able to show the main things we set out to achieve. Administrators can set up a new portal which shows a subset of the main index with a few clicks, and we have a security model which can restrict access to metadata and data based on group roles.

I will post some more information about the emerging architecture of the application soon, but for now Tim McCallum has put together a demo screencast, which had him slaving over a hot video editor over the weekend (forgive any glitches, it’s his first time). Or you can try it out for yourself (Demo URL may not work after October 2008). If you want to log in contact me for a password.

Thanks to Oliver Lucido who did most of the development, building on work he did for the FRED project last year with David Levy. Tim has also been assisting, with project coordination from Bron Chandler and stake-holding from Neil Dickson at ARROW and Alison Dellit at the NLA.


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