About Sufia

Questions and answers

What is Hydra?
Hydra is an open-source repository solution built collaboratively to address a broad range of repository needs. Rather than being one-size-fits-all, Hydra 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. Hydra’s platform is built atop the Fedora Commons repository for digital asset management and utilizes Apache Solr for search indexing. The Hydra 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 Sufia, a full-featured institutional repository with self-deposit and proxy deposit workflows.
What is Sufia, and what’s the relationship between Sufia and Hydra?
Hydra provides a framework for building web applications on top of a repository back-end and a search index. Sufia uses the full power of Hydra and extends it to provide a user interface around common repository features and social features (see the answer to question 3 for more). Sufia offers self-deposit and proxy deposit workflows with plans to develop one or more mediated deposit workflows in 2016. Sufia delivers its rich and growing set of features via a modern, responsive user interface.

Sufia was originally developed at Penn State University as a shareable generalization of their Hydra-based research repository application, ScholarSphere. Since Sufia was contributed to the Hydra community in 2012, Penn State and Data Curation Experts — along with a growing number of Hydra community developers (from over 30 institutions as of Jan. 2016) — have helped Sufia mature and thrive. Sufia is exemplary of Hydra development that has had wide implementation and code contributions to become a truly community-driven, -supported, and -maintained solution bundle.
What does Sufia do?
Sufia 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
  • Integration with Zotero for automatic population of user content
  • Proxy deposit and transfer of file ownership
  • Forms for batch-editing metadata
  • Google-Scholar specific metadata embedding
  • Google Analytics for usage statistics
  • Full-text indexing and searching
  • Faceted search and browse
  • Generation and validation of identifiers
  • Digital preservation functionalities:
    1. Fixity checking
    2. Version control
    3. Characterization of uploaded files
Who’s using Sufia, and for what purposes?
There are approximately 30 organizations (as of Nov. 2015) that we know are running instances of Sufia for a range of purposes including institutional repositories, data repositories, digital collections management, and digital archives. As Sufia is open-source software that anyone can use freely, there’s no way to tell exactly how many Sufia users there are. We’ve seen Sufia 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 Sufia different from e.g. DSpace, Bepress, etc.?
If pressed, one might suggest that Sufia is more akin to a DSpace-style repository solution than a Bepress-style solution in that it is a locally hosted open repository framework. Sufia is a repository solution that allows deposit of content and metadata and user-level control over that content (upload, modify, delete content). Sufia does not yet support multi-step approval workflow for deposit like DSpace and Bepress do, though these functionalities have been identified by the Hydra community as a priority for 2016.
What will it cost?
While it is difficult to put a dollar amount on a particular implementation of Sufia, we know from the experiences of our community members that Sufia repository solutions have been implemented with resources ranging from one part-time developer through much larger development environments. As Sufia and Hydra are open source products, it would be useful for potential users to connect with the community (Hydra-Tech and/or Hydra-Community) about resourcing concerns for a particular implementation scenario.

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