Each Greater than the Sum of its Parts: Custom Aggregations of Fedora Digital Objects
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Search and browse tools in digital repository applications provide a simple, intuitive interface for locating objects housed in a repository. Once found, however, the applications offer little native support for users to organize the objects into custom views of repository content. This project seeks to offer personalized views of repository content with a service for users to select, annotate, combine, and re-distribute objects housed in a Fedora digital repository. We offer repository users the ability to combine objects in a personally meaningful way. Our service, combined with a content management system (CMS), provides an interface layer for selecting and ordering Fedora objects into a custom aggregation. Users may choose to add context to their selections with supplemental information for individual objects or the entire grouping. This service is intended to support short-term aggregations useful enough to warrant persistent storage, but insufficiently so to require preservation in the repository as a separate object. For example, an instructor may want to assemble from the repository a series of readings for use in the classroom, repackaged for distribution in a convenient format. Persistent storage is supported with personal web spaces in the CMS. Fedora 3 local services (e.g., the Saxon XSLT processor, Apache FOP formatter, etc.) are used to distill the aggregation into a single digital object, in common file formats, that can then be distributed from public views of CMS web spaces.