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Dear Variations on Video Community:

As most of you know, Indiana University and Northwestern University received funding last October from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support the implementation phase of the Variations on Video project. This e-mail is the first of a regular series of updates that we plan to send to our advisors, partners, and others interested in the project in order to share our progress and invite feedback.


The Variations on Video (VoV) project is a collaboration of educational and cultural institutions and open source software communities. The project is led by the libraries of Indiana University and Northwestern University and is funded in part by a three-year IMLS National Leadership Grant that runs October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2014. The product (to be named) created by the VoV project will be a free, open-source system that enables libraries and archives to manage and provide online access to their video and audio collections. Project goals are as follows:

  • Develop a complete, open, interactive system, enabling quick and easy ingest, discovery, and use of video and audio assets in teaching, learning and research, with a focus on the needs of academic libraries and archives.
  • Support robust, standards-based metadata for description, management, and annotation of time-based media.
  • Support flexible authentication and authorization.
  • Accommodate special requirements for preserving and archiving digital media assets.
  • Enable the efficient management of workflows for managing audio and video content.
  • Follow an agile, open source, community development approach.
  • Leverage Fedora/Hydra, Opencast Matterhorn, and other existing open source technologies where appropriate.

The VoV open source community invites institutions and developers to participate in defining and creating system capabilities to meet current and future requirements.

First Release Planned for December 2012

The first release of the VoV system is planned for December 2012, with the intent of supporting partner pilots during Spring 2013. The development team is working to include the following features in Release 1:

  • The audio and video player will work in the main browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, and Safari – and on mobile devices (iOS and Android).
  • Users will be able to create, store, and share audio and video clips and playlists.
  • Integration with a variety of authentication systems will be supported, along with management of group-based authorization.
  • In addition to a basic manual ingest tool, the system will provide a batch import facility.
  • For fast and easy discovery, VoV will include a search interface based on the Blacklight discovery tool.
  • Administrators will be able to monitor their installation of VoV to quickly detect and troubleshoot problems.
  • Ingest, management, and search functionality will be built as a Hydra head.

VoV community members will have access to a test environment to try out the first release. Development will be taking place in Github at Instructions for download and installation of intermediate versions of the system will be available on the VoV community website when the site is launched in May.

Our project wiki is open for public viewing at, and current work on user stories may be viewed at

Upcoming Events

Variations on Video team members from Indiana and Northwestern plan to be at the following conferences over the next several months:

We look forward to having the opportunity to chat directly with many of you about the project at these events.


The VoV team welcomes questions and input from community members. Feel free to reply to this email on the list or to contact one or both of us directly. For more information or to discover ways of connecting, visit

Please look for communication in the near future regarding regular open online meetings to provide review and feedback on project progress. In the meantime, if there is anyone else from your institution who should be added to our mailing list, please let us know.


Jon Dunn
Project Director

Stu Baker
Co-Project Director

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