Outside The Box: Building a Digital Curation Ecosystem for Preservation and Access




Weidner, Andrew
Watkins, Sean
Scott, Bethany
Krewer, Drew
Washington, Anne
Richardson, Matt
Wu, Annie
Thompson, Santi

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This presentation covers the tools and workflows that the University of Houston (UH) Libraries have developed to facilitate digital curation activities for our new repository architecture based on Hydra-in-a-Box, Archivematica, and ArchivesSpace, collectively known as the Bayou City Digital Asset Management System (BCDAMS). BCDAMS development work began in early 2015 as an extension of a one and a half year process to evaluate and test DAMS. As a whole, these workflows and tools create an ecosystem that supports the long term preservation and access of the digitized cultural heritage materials in the UH Libraries unique collections.

The project team, consisting of members from Digitization, Metadata, Special Collections, and Web Services, employed an agile development methodology to lay the foundation for the UH Libraries migration from our current system to the BCDAMS. Over nine development cycles, each lasting approximately one month, the BCDAMS team created five applications (named for bayous in the Houston metropolitan area) that address key issues in digital curation:

  • Persistent identification of digital resources (Greens)
  • Local management of linked data vocabularies (Cedar)
  • Preparation of files and metadata for Archivematica ingest (Carpenters)
  • Metadata editing for Hydra-in-a-Box ingest (Brays)
  • Representation of archival collections in ArchivesSpace (Halls)

In addition, the project team began the complex process of descriptive metadata analysis and remediation to prepare for collection migration, resulting in a Ruby gem for downloading metadata through the CONTENTdm API and an online metadata application profile that is shared by all systems. Each development cycle ended with an internal report documenting the project’s progress.


Presentation slides for the 2017 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL).