Fedora 4 and the Knowledge Grid at U Michigan Medical School

Deploying Fedora 4, or Migrating from Fedora 3 to Fedora 4 is a challenge with built-in rewards. This series of articles, “Fedora 4 in Production” looks into why and how community members are working with Fedora 4 to enhance both collections and workflow at their institutions.

In this article Allen Flynn, Research Analyst and Technology Lead at the University of Michigan Medical School, describes Fedora 4 development of the Knowledge Grid, an open repository of digital knowledge objects aimed at keeping health information accessible and safe at the University of Michigan Medical School and beyond.

• Why Fedora 4?

We need a digital repository to store, protect, curate, and manage encoded digital knowledge artifacts for health at scale. In addition, each artifact in the repository needs to be described with a rich and growing set of metadata.  Fedora 4 offered us the combination of digital storage and linked data support that we needed to meet our objectives at scale.

• What are the strategic priorities that Fedora 4 helped to support?

There are two strategic priorities of the highest order. First, the platform we are building is to support global sharing of computer-processable knowledge artifacts about health. The Fedora 4 API supports this by allowing us build applications that provide end users with global access to these resources automatically and on-demand. Second, the platform we are building needs to preserve the knowledge artifacts it contains for a very long time.  Fedora 4 offers mechanisms and capabilities to address the priority of digital preservation.

• How is Fedora 4 working in production?

For the Knowledge Grid program, Fedora 4, and its built-in integrations with Fuseki and SOLR, allow us to focus on developing the digital library application that is of interest to us while relying on the support of Fedora 4 and associated systems for search and discovery, reporting, and content management. 

• What deployment advice would you give others in the community?

The number one piece of advice we have is to engage the community.  We have and continue to receive outstanding help and guidance, and we’ve had the opportunity to learn and shape the future of Fedora.