Beneficial Ohio Technology Moves to the OARnet Shared Infrastructure

Apr 13, 2011

Columbus, OH (April 13, 2011) - The peace of mind that comes with digital preservation technology is crucial to Ohio, a state abundant with universities, researchers and creative minds. With this necessity in mind, OhioLINK and the Ohio Academic Resources Network partnered to consolidate and strengthen Ohio's Digital Resources Commons.

The American Library Association named the DRC a 2011 Cutting Edge Service Award winner for foregoing hardware and temporarily operating in a cloud environment to speed expansion and development. Later, it moved from the cloud to OARnet's shared infrastructure. These solutions made it efficient and affordable for institutions, while giving the end-user flexibility and easy access to an institution's personal repository. It also was recognized as a readily adoptable and scalable project model.

“The DRC model demonstrates that libraries and consortia can create cloud-computing environments that meet their needs and expand their services,” said John Magill, executive director of OhioLINK.

OhioLINK, OARnet and the Digital Resources Management Committee, which is composed of various university technology liaisons, jointly guide the direction of the DRC. Using DSpace 1.6 open source software, the DRC stores collections of art, research, writing and other materials that may otherwise be lost due to the ever-changing nature of digital technology.

Thus far, it hosts more than 250,000 items from 30 Ohio institutions, with more coming online as the benefits continue to grow. Ohio's DRC is unique in nature because of its multi-institution accessibility.

“The DRC is one of the few digital commons or repositories that is built on a federated model. It's a completely digital way to share unique materials from Ohio academic institutions not only between institutions but with the world,” explained Gwen Evans, chair of the DRMC and coordinator of library information and emerging technologies at Bowling Green State University.

This federated model made the DRC the perfect project for OARnet, the network and shared service provider for Ohio education, public broadcasting, health care and government communities. The DRC is now one of many programs actively running on OARnet's shared infrastructure, a centralized system that consolidates the processing and storage requirements of OARnet partners.

“The benefit of shared infrastructure, especially for the DRC, is immense. The space available gives the DRC the ability to grow in capacity. The shared infrastructure also offers enterprise level backup,” explained James Jacob, director of infrastructure systems, OARnet.

Jacob and his team went into this project with a very ambitious timeline that would not be possible without complete cooperation and collaboration between all members.

“At the beginning of the year, James Jacob promised that we would all be on the shared infrastructure by the fall, and we were very skeptical. But he delivered what he said he would, when he said he would,” said Evans.

The team continues to work on a multilevel initiative to run the DRC as a top-notch resource.

“The DRMC works closely with both OhioLINK and OARnet staff to develop priorities, propose and implement DRC services, and collaboratively develop promotional materials, support documents, run training sessions and workshops, code hacks, helper applications, and more,” Evans elaborated. “It's truly an open source project where everyone pitches in and gives what they can to the effort.”

About OARnet

The Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) provides technology solutions for Ohio's education, public broadcasting, health care and government communities. For more than 20 years, OARnet has identified and deployed shared services that reduce costs, deliver quality programs, increase productivity and improve customer service. Our communities voluntarily participate in the OARnet consortium because they value these benefits and services. Ultimately, OARnet promotes community and economic development by expanding access to affordable technology.