Virginia Commonwealth University

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Digital Collections moves to a new software platform

VCU Libraries’ Digital Collections are now housed on a new platfom. After nearly 15 years using one software, the libraries is now using Islandora. Check it out at digital.library.vcu.edu.

After: digital collections in Islandora screenshot

After: digital collections in Islandora

Why Islandora?

Islandora is emerging as an industry standard for digital library repositories. It is open-source software that supports modern library technologies and new and emerging metadata standards. The nonprofit membership organization LYRASIS hosts the software and sets best practices. The libraries are reaping savings of about $10,000 per year compared to the previous software. Islandora offers capabilities to connect with other digital tools and future digital preservation tools. “Islandora is opening doors for future growth in  digital collections capabilities,” says Erin White, head of digital engagement.

Impacts for users

The biggest impact for a lot of users will be broken links. Links that pointed directly to collection pages or specific items on the old site will break. Since VCU Libraries had used the old platform for so many years, it will take time to identify and repair all the bad links.

Users will, however, have a much easier time viewing and zooming in on images. They’ll see a much improved mobile browsing experience. Search is also way, way faster.

Previous digital collections site screenshot

Before: digital collections in Content DM platform

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