This guide is for Avalon 1.0.
The Collection Manager's Guide for Avalon Media System explains Avalon features, functionality, and how to navigate the system. It is designed for the Collection Manager, whomever is responsible for uploading content, editing content, or providing content for playback through Avalon. See your system administrator for issues that relate to configuring Avalon "under the hood."
Avalon object - A single item (media object) accessible through one Avalon page; consists of one or more content files and metadata describing the content file(s).
Content or file - A single media file (i.e., sound recording, moving image) that is part of an Avalon object; one or more content files can exist for a single Avalon object (for example, 3 .mp4 files combined to form an entire movie, 6 .wav files together make up the recording of an entire orchestra concert, or a sound file and a moving image file together represent a video with accompanying lecture commentary).
On the Avalon home page, click "Sign In>>" (upper right)
At the Login page, enter your username and password, click Login/Sign In Button.
If you log in and do not have editing rights, you will need to be added to the "collection_manager" group. Contact a system admin to be added to the group. You may also be able to use the "Contact Us" form linked in the footer of the Avalon site to request access.
Browsing and searching is powered by Blacklight and Solr indexing. Flexible search features include Unicode support; Advanced Full-Text Search Capabilities; faceted searching to help end users and collection managers refine their search results. Avalon also auto-generates search suggestions. Avalon provides multiple sorting options for search results, including relevancy sorting or sorting by number of results shown per page. Once items are added to Avalon, Near Real-time indexing occurs. No additional steps are needed to index newly added or changed objects.
Labels for sections are not searchable.
Boolean Commands and Truncation are not supported by Avalon at this time.
Two workflow facets are available viewable only to Collection Managers:
By default, Avalon uses Solr's DisMax Query Parser (or dismax), which is designed to process simple phrases without a need for any complex syntax. There is support for + (required) and - (excluded) words, as well as the use of quotes for phrase searching.
Solr also comes with an Extended DisMax Query Parser (edismax), which supports everything dismax does, with the addition of:
Contact your system administrator to make changes in the Solr configuration.
Avalon uses the Matterhorn Engage Player for playback of both audio and video files.
Player controls - When viewing the Avalon player in the browser window, player controls can be found below the video. When in fullscreen mode, hover your mouse over the bottom area of the picture and you will see player controls appear.
Full screen button - When trying to go to fullscreen mode for video playback, hover the mouse over the top right corner of the player. A fullscreen button will appear, click it to enter into fullscreen mode. To exit fullscreen mode, press the Escape button on your keyboard or hover over the bottom of the video picture to see a Fullscreen button that can be clicked to exit fullscreen mode.
To view a specific section, click the desired item for playback under the Section heading below the player.
To switch between playback quality tiers, select the desired quality in the dropdown menu below the player.
Mobile viewing: Avalon works on IOS mobile devices. Currently, other devices are not supported.
Control + Alt + P = Toggle the video between pause or play.
Control + Alt + S = Stop the video.
Control + Alt + M = Toggle between mute or unmute the video.
Control + Alt + U = Volume up
Control + Alt + D = Volume down
Control + Alt 0 - 9 = Seek the time slider
Control + Alt + C = Toggle between captions on or off.
Control + Alt + F = Forward the video.
Control + Alt + R = Rewind the video.
Control + Alt + T = Reads the current time aloud when using a screen reader
cmd + = Zoom into the player
cmd - = Zoom out of the player
Clicking the Edit button allows users with Collection Manager control to manage files by assigning labels and uploading additional bitstreams, add or change metadata bout the item in the Resource Description page, reorder multiple bitstreams in the Structure page, edit who can access the item in the Access Control page, and Preview how the item will appear.
Types of files, size of files, etc
For a list of source file formats and codecs that are supported in Avalon, see the Avalon Media System Supported Source Formats and Codecs documentation on our wiki
There is an individual file size limit of 250MB when uploading files manually through the Avalon Web interface.
There is no practical limit on the maximum file size of a source file uploaded to the system through the Avalon Dropbox or through the Batch Upload feature.
Thumbnails are captured by Opencast Matterhorn at the 2 second mark of the video. This setting is customizable by your system administrator. If the item audio, the thumbnail is an illustration of headphones. If the item contains audio and video, the thumbnail is headphones and a screen.
To correct errors with one or more content files within an Avalon object:
Place corrected content files for that object in the top level of the dropbox directory (contact your system administrator for dropbox location and connection information). Once processed, the corrected content files will be available in Edit mode for the Avalon object from the Manage file(s) > Import from a dropbox feature. Delete the incorrect content files from the object in the Manage file(s) step of the Avalon object Edit mode, add the corrected files, click Update in the Associated file(s) section, then Save at the bottom of the Manage file(s) form.
To correct errors with the information about an Avalon object:
Web ingest is used for manual upload of one or more media objects.
There is an individual file size limit of 250MB when uploading a file manually through the Avalon Web interface.
The Avalon Web interface allows for labels to be added to individual sections of a multipart Avalon object.
Avalon Objects can be created without associating media. Metadata and access control information can be created first which allows for collection managers to come back to that Avalon Object and associate the correct media at a later time. You must click "save and continue" to progress through the steps even if no changes are made.
Deleting files -
Deleting a Single Avalon Object deletes the record from the database and the derivatives created for each media file.
Deleting a content file of an Avalon object does not automatically delete that content file and its derivatives. If you would like those items deleted, follow the prompt “Several clean up jobs have been sent out. Their statuses can be viewed by your sysadmin at /var/www/avalon/shared/log/matterhorn_cleanup.log”
An Avalon object is created every time you choose the Create menu even if you do not associate any media or metadata with the object. Avalon object will only be viewable by Collection Managers. Avalon objects can be deleted individually.
Save and Save & Continue to do not save Labels added to individual sections. The Upload button must be clicked before proceeding to Save or Save & Continue.
Avalon’s dropbox is used to import large files over 250MB.
Uploading files - Large media files are placed in a dedicated Avalon dropbox (a file server usually connected via SFTP or a mapped network drive). Contact your system administrator for dropbox location and connection information.
Once files are mounted into the dropbox, Collection Managers can go to the Create menu to open the dropbox and attach selected files to an Avalon Object. File processing begins once media is attached from the Dropbox.
Deleting files from the Avalon Dropbox - You can delete files from the Avalon Dropbox through the web interface or directly on the server the Dropbox is located:
Avalon's Batch Ingest feature provides a method of building one or more media objects at a time from uploaded content and metadata outside the user interface. A batch ingest is started by uploading an Ingest Package (the combination of content and metadata) consisting of one Manifest File and zero or more Content Files to the Avalon dropbox.
Handling errors for Avalon objects within a batch
Sometimes a batch ingest will result in an exception, with one or more content files failing to ingest. You will receive this information through an email message after your batch ingest processes. If a content file failure occurs, the following steps can be tried to ingest the content again:
Avalon form: To re-ingest a single Avalon object (one row of the batch ingest spreadsheet), place all content files for that object in the top level of the dropbox directory. Once processed, the content files will be available from the Manage file(s) > Import from a dropbox feature in Avalon and the object can be created using Avalon’s form.
Reload spreadsheet: Another option to re-ingest a single Avalon object or set of objects is to reduce the batch spreadsheet to only those failed objects and reload the spreadsheet to the same location as before. This will run the batch again but only for the failed content files.
If a single Avalon object with multiple content files has one or some of those files fail (but not all), either delete that object from Avalon and use the Reload spreadsheet method to load the entire object again or use the Avalon form method to add those failed content files to the dropbox and append them to the appropriate object in Avalon.
Avalon Web Interface and Batch Ingest Metadata Creation
Click the Create menu. After uploading a file, the user cannot advance before clicking the Save button. The user will then advance to the Resource Description menu. The fields Title, Main Contributor(s), and Publication Date must be populated in order to create a resource in the system.
Suggestions for controlled vocabulary use
Some fields in Avalon have recommended controlled vocabularies. Genre, all types of Subjects (Location, Time Period) and, if possible, names of creators and contributors. The contextual help accompanying the fields in the Resource Description form contains links to the recommended vocabularies. Additionally, the Batch Ingest Package Format specifies controlled vocabularies for those same fields.
If a single Avalon object is made up of multiple content files, those content files can be uploaded separately to the object, labeled individually, and reordered at any time. If there is more than one content file, each content file will be listed on the Avalon object’s page and can be selected for individual playback. Labels specific to these content files can be helpful for users to better understand the content of the object. If no label is provided for a content file, the filename will be listed. You must click Update in the labeling section for labels to persist.
System groups roles and policies
Collection Managers can view, edit and delete all aspects of Avalon objects and files.
Creating new groups
Group Managers can create new groups for the purpose of sharing specific resources with groups of users. These groups will have view access only. No ability exists in the interface to edit policies for groups. To add users to a group, enter their Avalon username as displayed in the upper right corner upon logging in. This is usually an email address.