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Library Technology Services: New UFDC

Resources from Library Technology Services, for library employees



A core tenant of agile is that you can be flexible on features or timelines, never both. 

We have a fixed or inflexible timeline – we have to migrate by 2023, when current systems will not be supported.  Below is a story to communicate status and timeline.

Story for UFDC

The story below explains DSS as a book bindery and UFDC as a library built by that bindery. 

Long ago, there was a book bindery. Thanks to technology magic, it could keep a copy of each book it bound. With this magic, the book bindery opened a library in the bindery building. Thus, two things were in 1 building:  

  1. Bindery
  2. Library 

This was fine at first, with only an occasional patron. The library grew and grew, with more and more patrons. Now, the library has millions of patrons. And, no elevators, and other things that are not okay. A new library is needed. And, now there is a hard deadline. The current building will be demolished in 2023. Also, the building is starting to fail because it cannot hold up under so many books and so many patrons and the building could collapse before 2023.

Thus, a plan was developed: 

  1. First, build a new library [MVP for 2021] 
  2. Then, build a new bindery to continue to add books to the library [MVP for 2022]
  3. Then, make improvements from a solid foundation, on a schedule to never be at risk again

For the new library building, many other things are wanted (the new location has space for more, and things wanted include a garden and a colonnade connecting to archives; also, everyone wants improvements in how the books are classified, which requires working with many people in order to develop a plan). [Not MVP] 

There is only 1 building and organization crew. If we spend time talking to them about the garden and other improvements, it takes time away from building the library.  If we work on anything outside of core requirements, we are at risk of not having a new library before our current one ceases to exist. Anything not MVP must be treated as outside (garden/colonnade), and dealt with later, to ensure we have a new library before the old one is demolished. 

Current Goals: 

  1. New library: New patron interface (new UFDC) in operation in 2022; with UFDC Working Group
  2. In 2022, new bindery: focus on the MVP for a full rebuild of DSS production
    1. The DSS team also has many future goals for automation within. Again, we only have the 1 team who can build this, and working on new things means current systems could go dark without a new one in place.
    2. We are working to develop the MVP list now to be shovel ready in 2022, and to ensure delivery of MVP by 2023. 
  3. After new library and bindery buildings (after MVP): 
    1. Once we have the new buildings, for the next phase, we will define and undertake projects that build from the existing MVP.  

In parallel, other work 

While we only have 1 building crew (Digital Development Team), we do have library workers (DSS, SASC, LT&DS, Social Media, Curators, others), who are preparing for the new library (new UFDC), with clean-up projects underway: 

  • PCMI - think of this like records that have no items on the shelves 
  • YouTube - think of this like DVD cases with no way to get the DVDs in them for the users 
  • Aggregations, closing empty/small to go from 1000 to 500 - think of these like reading rooms - we have hundreds that are empty or have less than 100 items; in a physical library, it would be like calling a single shelf a reading room, or a door that opens into a wall a reading room 
  • FAQ in development -  


LTS Digital Development Team & Stakeholders are working on:

  • 2021:
    • New patron interface, MVP to be released in 2022
    • Creating data dictionary, defining & documenting METS/MODs
    • Creating stakeholder testing checklist
    • Updating FAQ
    • New OAI feed
    • Updating partners/collections - removing ~500 inactive aggregations; updating aggregation data model to be consistent
    • Establishing our agile (e.g., project request parameters & team responsibilities)
  • 2022: 
    • Rebuilding production (includes prod. db, internal workflows, external submittal), MVP by Dec. 2022
    • Patron interface, new updates as time allows (planning in process):
  • 2023:
    • Updates to patron and production systems (as prioritized in 2021-2023)
    • Establishing benchmarks for maintenance requirements
    • NewspaperCat?
    • Aerials, 50% without coordinates, correction plan


Agile/Iterative Development

See DDT slides on iterative development.



Items for user FAQ with new UFDC release

  • Bulk file download:
    • Users can download all files listed in downloads with bulk tools like DownloadThemAll 
    • Users can use the API, and documentation on this is forthcoming
  • Saving and Finding Images on the iPad and Similar
    • Sort by recently added to see images downloaded from UFDC (with many images created long ago, and embedded metadata will otherwise show the sort by date with the creation date) 
  • Bookmarks and saved searches
  • Scanning and Other Technology Questions
  • Items over 1,000 pages
    • Items over 1,000 pages are not fully searchable online. For any questions, please see the list of items over 1,000 pages. In the future, it is planned to have these as downloadable PDF for ease of use on local machines.
  • See existing FAQ, most no longer useful/needed

Garden (non-MVP items)

  • API to pull in finding aids (for 2022)

New UFDC Technologies

The new UFDC will use standard technologies and practices in use by other webscale systems as with UNT, Europeana, NARA, Getty, and others. Technologies include: Python, APIs, ElasticSearch, ReactJS, PostgreSQL and more. The new UFDC will have separate production and patron databases and operations.


The new UFDC relies on now mature standards and practices for digital libraries, with extensive information and exemplar systems available (e.g., UNT). Additionally, usability studies are informative from the old system for existing limitations and problems:

2021 on problems with metadata (affects patrons and prod)

2020 report on FDNL

2009 user survey on the aerials

University of Florida Home Page

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