Sobek Digital Hosting & Consulting

Hosting Digital Resources & Integrated Curation Workflows


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Announcing Version 4.10.0

July 27th, 2016

We are very excited to announce the release of Version 4.10.0 of the SobekCM digital library (in-a-box)! As usual, it is available for immediate download at our download center at the community maintained site. In addition, instructions for upgrading to this version can also be found here. Installation of a new instance is quite simple and the MSI will step you through the process.

New version of SobekCM is in the box

Version 4.10.0 of SobekCM includes the most comprehensive collection of changes since SobekCM was first released ten years ago. This version continues preparation for the release of version 5.0 by updating the basic architecture of the system to be more configurable and customizable. In addition, the web application is increasing dependent on the discrete microservice architecture provided by the SobekCM engine. This version also adds a new plug-in architecture for adding extensions which can add new metadata types, modify or add new item viewers, customize item citation display, add new engine endpoints, add new builder modules, and much more. Over thirty new microservice endpoints were also added to the SobekCM engine as well. The sum of all these changes results in a more open-architecture which can easily be modified and customized for any institution.

In addition, this version adds several new administrative screens for users. A new set of many system-wide settings screens exposes all configuration information used by the system currently, even if they cannot be modified directly through the web interface. In addition, interoperability between the SobekCM Builder service and the web has been increased by adding the ability to view and filter the builder log through the user interface. System administrators can also add or remove builder folders, directly through a new builder folder management screen.

The builder was also updated in this new version. The architecture was modified to take advantage of the new configuration microservices offered by the engine and supports enabled plug-ins as well. The automatic usage collection and monthly emails were updated to make the process run more smoothly and significantly quicker. The builder can also be set to use Tesseract to perform automatic OCR on incoming TIFF files.

In total, nearly one hundred thousand lines of code were changed between the previous version and this version, which represents roughly 35% of the total codebase and 66% percent of the files were changed in some way.

A special thanks to Richard Bernardy and the University of South Florida Libraries for their help with extensive testing over the last couple weeks before the release of this version.  Without his assistance and suggestions, this release would not have been nearly as successful.

Click here to view the full release notes

Introducing a New Pricing Tier and Price Matching

June 22nd, 2016

We understand the financial situation of many smaller institutions today and want to ensure you are not left out in the digital cold. And we know that money doesn't grow on trees. In order to better support your institutions, we have introduced a new pricing tier for institutions with less digital resources. The Basic Bundle includes up to 50GB of digital resources which you can use for as many digital objects as you want. The Basic Bundle still has custom theming and custom development hours so we can work with you to migrate your content in from any existing system and help you customize the theming, metadata, and any other portions of the system you like.

Money does not grow on trees

We have previously given many institutions discounts based on institution size, region, or community served. This new tier formalizes the pricing we have been offering smaller institutions in the past. And should your institution's repository grow, it is a seamless upgrade to the Signature Bundle which can continue to grow with your institution for decades.

We have also introduced a new price matching policy. We will match the price and double any size limitations of many major digital library hosting companies if their quote is somehow less than ours. Don't settle for less when you can have far more space, better technology, and better service at a considerable discount.

Click here to view the pricing sheet with the new bundle.

SimpleDL™ Digital Library Platform Acquired

May 15th, 2016

Earlier this year we purchased the SimpleDL Digital Library platform and doubled our client base size overnight. As companies, we shared many of the same ideologies and this seemed like a natural pairing. The digital library platforms were similar in the ease of their use and both shared the goal of a simple, straightforward digital library repository that works easily for users without the burden of learning lots of new jargon.

SimpleDL Digital Library Platform Acquired

We are working to merge the functionalities and ease of the SimpleDL into our flagship open-source SobekCM platform. I think all of our users will be excited by the changes you should see by the end of the year, which includes adding a new web interface to our existing spreadsheet importer and providing a simple drop-box type functionality within the system for doing mass uploads of resource files.

We have had a chance to meet and learn from many of the existing SimpleDL customers over the last several weeks. Looking at each customerís needs, we have worked on an upgrade schedule and we are excited that half of the SimpleDL customers should be migrated to SobekCM over the next couple months.

Click here to view the original press release regarding this acquisition.

Code Camp Florida 2016 : March 31st and April 1st

February 18, 2016

We are excited to announce the second SobekCM Code Camp! This will be a two-day event on March 31st and April 1st and will take place at University of Florida Libraries in Gainesville, Florida.  This camp will be a great time to share information about the system, recent and ongoing changes, and collaborate to help improve the system for all institutions using it!  There will be plenty of opportunity for both hands-on exercises as well as collecting requirements and suggestions from the larger user base.

University of Florida Libraries

SobekCM code camps are an inclusive event. We encourage all stakeholders to attend, whether you are just a user of the system, a collection manager, a system administrator, or a developer. The first day of this event is more general, becoming increasingly technical as the day proceeds. The second day will be much more technical, as we look at ways to utilize the new plug-in architecture and will be mostly a coding party.. Bring your laptops with the community edition of Visual Studio if you want to follow along!

Registration for this event is absolutely free and spots are still available!   Click here to register for the code camp.  We hope to see as many users at the camp as possible, so we can all get the most out of it and the larger community.

The sessions are divided over the two days of the camp. The first day will be of more general interest as we cover technical topics with a wide scope of interest. The second day will be more developer focused, as we work through hands-on customization of the system, mostly employing the new plug-in architecture.

Click here to view the full schedule.

This code camp is co-sponsored and hosted by the University of Florida Libraries and Sobek Digital Hosting & Consulting, LLC.

Digital Library Federation Forum (Vancouver)

October 29, 2015
Digital Library Federation Forum 2015

Another very interesting conference about digital resource management and how we can make our digital resources meaningful for the entire population of possible users and the web crawlers. Sobek Digital sponsored our first Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum in Vancouver, Canada. Thank you all for the great conversation and the excellent conference. We can't wait to see you all again next year.

Version 4.9.0 Announced

September 29, 2015

Version 4.9.0 of the SobekCM digital library (in-a-box) was released today and is available for immediate download. You can download the software and read instructions for installing and upgrading at our download center.

This version includes the addition of a robust web content system, useful for online exhibits, general announcements related to your digital collection, or documentation. This module is the largest single addition to the SobekCM system in the last five years, with more than 10 new administrative screens. In addition, all of the administrative and public pages are supported by the S obekCM Engine REST APIs. This makes this module the first to be supported 100% by the new architecture. As a result of this work, the architecture of the SobekCM Engine continued to evolve.

In addition to the web content work, several changes occurred to searching and browsing material, a new video viewer was added, and the system realize many small improvements. In addition, the efforts towards the cleanest code possible was continued and additional support for PostgreSQL and MySQL continued to be added. The ability to customize several messages, including the 404 missing page and no results pages was added. Finally, many community reported bugs have been corrected.

Click here to view the full release notes (now moved into previous versions)

Code Camp 2015 : Florida

September 18, 2015

We are excited to announce the first SobekCM Code Camp! This will be a two-day event on October 5th and October 6th and will take place at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. This camp will be a great time to share information about the system, recent and ongoing changes, and collaborate to help improve the system for all institutions using it! There will be plenty of opportunity for both hands-on exercises as well as collecting requirements and suggestions from the larger user base.

FIU Green Library

Registration for this event is absolutely free and spots are still available! Click here to register for the code camp. We hope to see as many users at the camp as possible, so we can all get the most out of it and the larger community.

In general, the first day will be a bit more technical but is recommended for all power users. We will cover installation, configuration, the new REST/API-based architecture, and the new builder architecture. This information should be helpful for all power users or those who are looking to extend or modify the default functionality of the system.

The second day focuses on metadata, including ability to customize the experience of online submittals and edits and a discussion of metadata mapping and improvements for documentation. There are a number of open sessions on Tuesday afternoon which will be scheduled as a group late Monday afternoon. This allows some flexibility to ensure the needs of all attendees can be met. Finally, on Tuesday afternoon we will discuss ongoing and upcoming projects in a round table discussion.

Click here to view the full schedule.

This code camp is co-sponsored and hosted by the Florida International University Libraries and Sobek Digital Hosting & Consulting, LLC.

New Training Video Released

April 21, 2015

Summer school is in session!

We have three 15-minute SobekCM training videos available for viewing at your convenience. Topics are as follows:

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Look out for new releases every 1-2 weeks.

Florida Library Association Conference

April 18, 2015

Thank you all who stopped by our booth at the 2015 Florida Library Association Conference in Orlando, FL, last week.

It was great learning about your libraryís upcoming and current projects.

We will be appearing again at the International Conference on Open Repositories in Indianapolis, IN or at the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA. Hope to see you there!

Version 4.8.7 Announced

April 14, 2015

We are proud to announce the release of Version 4.8.7 of the open-source digital repository SobekCM, along with a new MSI installer for simple installation of this version at the Sobek Repository Software Distribution Center.

There were numerous updates released in the first quarter of 2015, culminating in the release of the new installer for version 4.8.7. Development focused on general performance and design improvements, including embracing an international content delivery network for many of the static files used by the system and other changes to result in a large performance gain for real users. Customization support was added for MARC21 generation and OAI-PMH metadata formats, from new system-wide settings to ability to apply a XSLT to the MARC21 after generation. Development focused on improving the ease of online collection management, editing the look and feel of the site, and other administrative options with many new features available to authenticated and permissioned users. And finally, the system underwent continuing architectural revolutions with a completely rewritten modular builder service and with an increasing acceptance of a REST-based microservices approach.

For a complete list of the many changes, please view the list of updates from the first quarter.

We welcome all interested contributors, or any questions you may have about the software or the installation process.

Read more in the Update Notes.

Training Completed: Planning and Management of Your Digital Collections

March 18, 2015

Our initial training on the online collection management and online appearance management completed with our fourth session in the training series today.

Our training covered an introduction to the architecture of collection pages within SobekCM. This showed where each portion of the aggregation home pages are sourced (i.e., the aggregation settings, the web skin, etc.. ).

We followed that with a brief overview of user permissions, and how those permissions related to the basic management steps we would learn in the training.

We covered the online management of the web skins, thus affecting the overall look and feel and headers and footers. This work has the greatest impact on branding your instance as your own.

Online collection management was a major topic as well, with an emphasis on the basics. We emphasized the basic operations that you are most likely to perform when managing your online collections.

Thank you to all the twenty-six participants from the thirteen participating insitutions. I have been happy to see that most of you have been using the practice sites we provided for you.

If you missed it, don't worry! We will begin a video series in late April, which will start with some of the same topics from this training.

ALA Chicago Midwinter 2015

February 3, 2015

Thank you all who attended and took the time to talk with us at the recent ALA Midwinter conference in Chicago.

It was a particularly cold week in Chicago, but we learned a great bit and had some great conversations.

Looking forward to seeing you all again at Open Repositories or ALA in San Francisco in June.

SobekCM Annual Retrospective

December 11, 2014

As this year draws to a close, we look at changes around the SobekCM Digital Repository open-source software over the last twelve months. Changes were many, but the greatest has been a growth in the SobekCM community, with many more instances of SobekCM running. Many code updates also occurred over the last year. Read about them all in the SobekCM Retrospective.

After years of quiet development, SobekCM Digital Repository stopped keeping itself a secret in 2013, and the growth has been tremendous. The number of instances of the software has more than quadrupled over the last eighteen months. These new instances, and new users, have helped make the system more robust with their feedback.

This year also saw the completion of the major refactoring to move towards HTML5 and a corresponding increase in the ability to theme the software for each individual institution. Every piece of the HTML-generating code was examined and refactored, with more reliance on updatable stylesheets and less on static images. As a result, we can see an increase in the different looks and feels of the systems in use.

Many new features were also added or completed over the last year, benefitting users of all types - public users, submitters, and collection managers/curators.

Finally, we began some major architectural changes as we move to a more distributed, microservices-based architecture. This work should complete in this coming year, with the release of SobekCM 2015. Last year saw many improvements and the software is now poised for many more in the years to come!

Read more in the SobekCM Retrospective.

Unveiling our new online presence

November 23, 2014

Welcome to our new online presence. We have completely revamped and redesigned our website to provide more features, add a richer user experience, allow for better communication of our companies values, and provide more clear pricing options.

One of the new features you will find under our Hosting options is the pricing sheet for hosting options, with a simple pricing structure. You can even use the pricing calculator below it to figure out how much hosting your digital project or digital collections with us will cost. Once you enter your individual details, you can even click a button to easily request a formal quote or to see what other discounts may apply for your institution or project.

We have also simplified the Services portion for the consulting wing of our business and provided two pre-packaged options with pricing to assist you with managing your own instances of SobekCM.

If you are reading this post, then you also found our News section. This section allows us to communicate past and upcoming events in one central location, although we will still be posting about them on all of our social media outlets.

As you explore the new website, if you have any suggestions or feedback, please do not hesitate to send it over to us at We hope you will like the new site as much as we do!

USETDA Conference Presentation

September 24-26, 2014

Christ Shorey from the University of Florida and Mark Sullivan from Sobek Digital discussed building integrated curation workflows around (electronic) theses and dissertations at the USETDA 2014 conference on September 26th. This talk detailed the workflow within the University of Florida Libraries throughout the full lifecycle of the theses and dissertations, highlightling the rich IP restrictions available within the system, the auto-unembargo with an email to the curator, and several other existing features utilized by UF and other schools for hosting ETDs on the SobekCM open-source digital repository platform.

We also got a chance to discuss some of the issues surrounding ETD workflows, in particular issues with how to display associated supporting material. We gave a quick demo of the enhanced tabular data representations (both display and online lifecycle management) work we are doing to integrate data sets directly within the institutional repository and offer maintenance of the data to the individual data managers. This system will allow users to build datasets from scratch online, provide entry forms, and allow for archiving of the data throughout the long-running collection of the data. Although 'big data' is on everyone's minds, this initial attempt is more concerned with the many smaller datasets that are lost forever but are still heavily utilized by both the sciences and the humanities throughout a large research university.

Check out the presentation slides from the conference. ( Powerpoint or PDF )

Sobek2015 - Upcoming architectural changes (REST Microservices) technical brief

September 17, 2014

Over the next six months we will be transitioning the SobekCM architecture to a more modular, separated architecture built upon a set of microservices exposed via a REST API. We will generally be building the API on JSON, although some native support for XML and SOAP will be added as well.

The first set of REST APIs should be available for comment within the next 30 days. This will include the APIs for searching and browsing items in an aggregation, retrieving a single item for display, and retrieving information about a single aggregation in the library. These APIís will be made available for discussion and we ask for feedback from all interested parties.

In addition to these fairly obvious APIs, we expect to have a large number of reporting APIs, administrative APIs, and task-oriented APIs also available over the next six months. These will be rolled out on a monthly basis, to allow for feedback.

While the APIs will be made available for comment first, they will ultimately become the backbone of a separated system architecture based on a variety of microservices.

Read the full technical specification in the September technical brief here.

Open Respositories 2014 presentation

June 9-13, 2014

Mark Sullivan spoke about SobekCMís Community Ecosystems & Socio-Technical Practices recently at the always excellent Open Repositories conference in Helsinki Finland.

This talk emphasized the community-focused and user-based development techniques which have highlighted the development of the SobekCM digital repository since the very beginning. This integral support for collaborative digital projects which allow many institutions to contribute to one project, while still maintaining their own unique branding and presence has been the hallmark of many of our projects.

A quick demonstration of some of the excellent online tools provided for curation of materials, management of the online collections, and individual item-level editing and structural metadata creation is provided in the slides.

What a great conference, as usual. Can't wait for us all to meet again in Indianapolis in 2015!

Check out the presentation slides from the conference. ( Powerpoint or PDF )

Sobek staff at TechEd 2014

May 13, 2014

In May 2014, Sobek Digital technical staff attended TechEd 2014 North American, Microsoftís Premier Event for IT Professionals & Enterprise Developers. We attended multiple sessions covering the future of .NET Framework and Windows Server. There were many sessions about both private and public cloud application architectures. We also had the opportunity to meet with numerous product vendors and discuss management solutions and hardware product.

Are you going to be at Tech Ed next year? Let us know!

Libraries are dying? Think again

April 4, 2014 (National Libraries Week)

In honor of National Libraries Week, Jareen Imam from CNN published an excellent article on the centrality of libraries to our culture and research.

Check out the full article here: Libraries are dying? Think again.