The Semantics of Metadata: Avalon Media System and the Move to RDFPublic Deposited
The Avalon Media System (Avalon) provides access and management for digital audio and video collections in libraries and archives. The open source project is led by the libraries of Indiana University Bloomington and Northwestern University and is funded in part by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Institute of Museum and Library Services. Avalon is based on the Samvera Community (formerly Hydra Project) software stack and uses Fedora as the digital repository back end. The Avalon project team is in the process of migrating digital repositories from Fedora 3 to Fedora 4 and incorporating metadata statements using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) instead of XML files accompanying the digital objects in the repository. The Avalon team has worked on the migration path for technical metadata and is now working on the migration paths for structural metadata (PCDM) and descriptive metadata (from MODS XML to RDF). This paper covers the decisions made to begin using RDF for software development and offers a window into how Semantic Web technology functions in the real world.