About Hyrax

Questions and answers

What is Samvera?
Samvera is an open-source repository solution built collaboratively to address a broad range of repository needs. Rather than being one-size-fits-all, Samvera leverages an ecosystem of components that lets institutions assemble and deploy robust and durable repository applications that are tailored to their users' needs and workflows. Samvera's platform is built atop the Fedora repository for digital asset management and utilizes Apache Solr for searching & indexing. The Samvera community has worked together to develop and sustain a number of “solution bundles” — applications designed to solve a common need in a generalized yet customizable way with minimal development effort required — including the Avalon Media System, for managing and providing access to large collections of digital audio and video, and Hyrax, a front-end enabling common digital collections management and institutional repository features including creation of repository object types on demand, deposit of content via multiple configurable workflows, and description of content with flexible metadata.
What is Hyrax, and what's the relationship between Hyrax and Samvera?
Samvera provides a framework for building web applications on top of a repository back-end and a search index. Hyrax uses the full power of Samvera and extends it to provide a user interface around common repository features and social features (see the answer to question 3 for more). Hyrax offers self-deposit, proxy deposit, and mediated deposit workflows. Hyrax delivers its rich and growing set of features via a modern, responsive user interface.

Hyrax was created through the consolidation of the Sufia and CurationConcerns gems. (Sufia was originally developed at Penn State University as a shareable generalization of their Samvera-based research repository application, ScholarSphere.) Hyrax, and Sufia and CurationConcerns before it, has been maintained by a growing number of Samvera community developers (with over 80 contributors as of March of 2017. Hyrax is exemplary of Samvera development that has had wide implementation and code contributions to become a truly community-driven, -supported, and -maintained solution bundle.
What does Hyrax do?
Hyrax provides a rich set of features, including:
  • Multiple file, or folder, upload
  • Flexible user- and group-based access controls, including sharing with groups and individuals:
    1. Example: A file can be shared with a User Managed Group for viewing and downloading, or access can be at the editing level (i.e., anyone in the group would have editing rights to the metadata).
    2. Example: Permissions for visibility are, by default, open access. They can be changed to "Private," or to the institution level (i.e., Penn State only)
  • Admin user privileges:
    1. Editing rights to pages where content can be dynamic
    2. Ability to configure featured works and featured researcher on home page
    3. Access to range of use and usage statistics
  • User profiles, where users can also select files to feature in the profile
  • User dashboard for managing files, including creation of collections
  • Proxy deposit and transfer of file ownership
  • Configurable, flexible workflows
  • Forms for batch-editing metadata
  • Google Analytics for usage statistics
  • Full-text indexing and searching
  • Faceted search and browse
  • Digital preservation functionalities:
    1. Fixity checking
    2. Version control
    3. Characterization of uploaded files
Who's using Hyrax, and for what purposes?
There are approximately 45 organizations (as of March of 2017) that we know are running instances of Hyrax (and its progenitors, Sufia and CurationConcerns) for a range of purposes including institutional repositories, data repositories, digital collections management, and digital archives. As Hyrax is open-source software that anyone can use freely, there's no way to tell exactly how many Hyrax users there are. We've seen Hyrax used by a diverse group of organizations including research libraries & archives, public media, art museums, academic consortia, scientific foundations, and a repertory theater.
How is Hyrax different from DSpace, Bepress, CONTENTdm, etc.?
Hyrax is a repository solution that allows deposit of content via configurable workflows; description with customizable metadata; and user-level control over that content (upload, modify, delete content). Hyrax supports many of the same features provided by each of these systems (see the feature matrix).
What does Hyrax cost?
While it is difficult to put a dollar amount on a particular implementation of Hyrax, we know from the experiences of our community members that Hyrax repository solutions have been implemented with resources ranging from one part-time developer through much larger development shops. As Hyrax and Samvera are open-source products, it would be useful for potential users to connect with the community (Samvera-Tech or Samvera-Community groups) about resourcing concerns for a particular implementation scenario.

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