Together, we are developing an affordable, open-source, and collaborative institutional repository solution based on the Hyku software.
- Improving Bulk Import and Export in Hyku
(Feature photo by Pixabay.)
Back in 2020, we wrote a duo of blog posts about bulk upload: part one examining the background of batch operations and why they are challenging, and part two talking about our specific work selecting and installing the Bulkrax importer tool into the shared Hyku for Consortia repository Hyku Commons. Today, we are writing about the wrap-up of a recent development sprint to improve Bulkrax importing and exporting.
In the user satisfaction survey performed at the kickoff of the Reducing Barriers to Hyku Adoption IMLS grant, we found that “Uploading and creating works in batches” was one of the areas that users were least satisfied with. The recent UX report on Hyku Commons administrative functionality similarly highlighted batch workflows as an area requiring attention.
In order to respond to user feedback about batch/bulk import, and to further add functionality for users to be able to export data, Hyku for Consortia worked with SoftServ (formerly known as Notch8) to complete a development sprint around import and export.
Over the spring and summer of 2022, SoftServ upgraded Hyku Commons’ Bulkrax utility to introduce several functional improvements and bug fixes. They also improved the ingest data display, particularly resolving inaccuracies around the number of entries processed, entry failure, and the total number of entries. The import status message was also corrected to indicate when imports are successful and to provide a link to the imported work.
SoftServ also introduced improvements to Bulkrax’s export functionality and user interface. According to Hyku for Consortia’s specifications, the ability was added to export all descriptive metadata, available provenance, administrative data, and structural and technical metadata needed to reconstruct works if available. Also added was functionality to export digital objects and their thumbnails, as well as a complete manifest of downloaded materials using a bagit integration.
In summary, this sprint resulted in the following for Hyku Commons:
- Upgraded Bulkrax functionality and bug fixes
- Fixes to the display of inaccurate import data and status messages
- Ability to export data necessary to reconstruct works
- Metadata export for works, items, and collections
- Export of digital objects and their thumbnails
- Bagit integration for export
We will continue to support our users’ utilization of import/export, and note any problems and suggested improvements. Soon, we will re-survey Hyku Commons users regarding their satisfaction, and we hope to see improvements in the area of “Uploading and creating works in batches” based on the completed work. We also invite other Samvera users to take advantage of the Bulkrax improvements sponsored by Hyku for Consortia.
Further next steps for our project are to continue working on the development sprint currently underway — an upgrade of our instance from Hyku 2.1 to 5. This sprint will bring forth many desired improvements, including improved reporting analytics, which was another where users expressed dissatisfaction. We look forward to providing Hyku Commons users with improvements in this area.
Continuing data collection is taking place in order to identify and assign priority to other gaps in functionality, especially those that present a barrier to Hyku adoption. We expect metadata flexibility to be the next area for development post-upgrade, as suggested by the first satisfaction survey and UX report.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, LG-36-19-0108.
- Hyku Commons User Experience Report
Early in 2022, the Hyku for Consortia team started working with Samhaeng, a UX (user experience) firm out of Denmark. As part of the Reducing Barriers to Hyku Adoption 2021-2023 IMLS grant, we commenced the first official phase of user research with this partnership. This phase focused on Hyku administrative functions in PALNI and PALCI’s shared multi-tenant installation of Hyku, which we refer to as Hyku Commons. Samhaeng produced a UX report for the purposes of:
- Identifying issues with existing Hyku Commons repository interfaces and workflows
- Identifying needs for library/end-user metadata customization
- Creating specific suggestions for improvement and enhancements
After meeting team members to get a scope of the project and introduction to our setup, the consultant, Filip Jakobsen (CEO and founder of Samhaeng), held four in-depth interviews with Hyku Commons users to see how Hyku is used in their environment, listen to ideas for improvement, and even to co-design some solutions.
The report starts with an acknowledgement that users are generally happy with using the software.
“…even though this report focuses on the many points of constructive criticism given by users, the overarching message from users was that the data input workflows in the software work quite well for them already.”
The report provides helpful contextual overviews of the software ecosystem and worker setups. Several points of feedback are presented in the areas of Public UI (user interface), Staff data input UI, Settings and configuration UIs, and Non-UI aspects of the system.
Candidates for further research suggested are:
- “Work type” templates workflow
- “Work” public page layout
- Multi-Value input workflow
- Workflow for adding of additional data for items
- Batch workflows
It ends with a suggestion to continuously involve users in development decisions:
“I encourage you to continue running a process that gives users a central role in defining, reviewing and approving the features that are prioritized and developed.”
The next step for the Hyku for Consortia team is to synthesize the feedback provided in this report into a gap assessment. This gap assessment will also include satisfaction survey data, comments from the user community Basecamp forum and meetings, as well as legacy suggestions from earlier phases of the project. This is currently taking the form of a spreadsheet sorting enhancement requests into the following buckets: Metadata, Workflow, and Front-end User Interface.
Following the completion and sharing of the gap assessment, we will gather additional quantitative (via surveys) and qualitative data (via focus groups) about needs and priorities in each of these areas from the Hyku Commons User Group, as well as ascertaining which gaps are true barriers to adoption. Our team will then create user-informed decisions about upcoming development sprints based on this research, and we encourage others working in this space to advance the defined priorities as well.
- What Do Hyku Users Think? Hyku Commons Satisfaction Survey Results
You can download this report here.
In the fall of 2021, as part of our 2021-2023 IMLS grant, the Hyku for Consortia team surveyed users of the collaborative Hyku Commons Repository. The survey gathered baseline data about satisfaction with the Hyku Commons platform and service overall, administrative functions, front end user interface, and support/training provided.
We provided a PDF preview of the questions, and used Google Forms as our data collection instrument. The survey had 16 questions, which were a combination of Likert scale and open ended response. A total of 15 responses from PALNI, PALCI, LOUIS, and VIVA users were recorded, and the anonymous survey results are provided below. We very much appreciated this feedback to help us determine future directions for Hyku. We plan to check back periodically with users to gauge improvement. Hopefully, we’ll be able to report an increase in satisfaction as a result of the developments made throughout the IMLS-supported grant project.
The vast majority of users reported that they are either Satisfied or Very Satisfied (80% combined) with Hyku Commons overall.
Hyku Administrative Functions
Most users report that they are either Satisfied or Very Satisfied (48% combined) with Hyku’s administrative functions.
There are many Haven’t evaluated this or Not Sure responses (42% combined), likely due to the fact that several of our users are new to piloting Hyku and/or haven’t taken a deep dive into all the administrative functions.
Users were most satisfied with Uploading/creating single works, Uploading/creating works in batches, and Adding works to collections, as seen by the number of Very Satisfied responses below.
When looking at Very Unsatisfied, Unsatisfied, and open-ended responses together, we find that users are least satisfied with Existing metadata templates (worktypes), Uploading/creating works in batches, and Repository statistics.
The three Very Unsatisfied responses recorded were for Describing/editing works in batches, Availability of repository activity statistics, and Availability of other repository statistics. The number of Unsatisfied responses are presented below.
The bulk of the open-ended responses called for improvement to administrative functions, and specifically called out the need to customize both metadata and administrative tools.
Open-ended response category Number of responses Metadata customization 8 Repository statistics 6 Uploading/creating works in batches 3 Admin customization 3
Most users report that they are either Satisfied or Very Satisfied (63% combined) with Hyku’s end-user interface.
There were also several Haven’t evaluated this or Not Sure (23% combined) responses in this category.
Users were most satisfied with Usability, Digital object presentation, and Customization options for site design, as seen by the number of Very Satisfied responses below.
When looking at the Very Unsatisfied, Unsatisfied, and open-ended responses together, users were least satisfied with Searching and search results, Metadata display, and Customization options for site design.
The two Very Unsatisfied responses recorded were for Metadata display and Customization options for site design. The number of Unsatisfied responses are presented below.
Some open-ended responses called for improvement to the user interface, especially Customization options for site design.
Open-ended response category Number of responses Customization options for site design 3 Digital object presentation 1 Searching and search results 1 Metadata display 1 Usability 1
Support and Training
Slightly more than half of users report that they are either Satisfied or Very Satisfied (51% combined) with Hyku Commons support and training. A little less than half reported Haven’t evaluated this or Not Sure (49% combined) responses in this category.
Users were most satisfied with Documentation and Help with troubleshooting, as seen by the number of Very Satisfied responses below.
There were no Unsatisfied responses in this category, although there was one open-ended response requesting screenshots/visuals to be added to the documentation.
It’s interesting to note that users expressed both satisfaction and dissatisfaction with some features, for example: Uploading/creating works in batches and Customization options for site design. This will require more investigation to understand fully, but we suspect that users may be happy that a feature exists, but unsatisfied with quirks with its workflow; and/or users might be satisfied with the usability of a feature, but wish it were more customizable.
The data provided by this survey has directly influenced our plans for the next phase of development. We are currently in discussion with developers at Notch8 to implement the following:
- Allinson Flex (a gem providing the building blocks for customizable metadata in Hyku)
- Analytics work from the Oregon Digital project
- Improvements to the Bulkrax bulk import tool. We are also planning to add export functionality.
The Hyku for Consortia team will continue to collect and evaluate both informal and formal feedback on Hyku, and we’ll prioritize future development cycles based on user priorities. We have also started working with Samhaeng, a UX firm out of Denmark, to start our first official phase of user research. This phase will focus on Hyku administrative functions and will produce a report of recommendations for improvements in this area. Stay tuned for more updates!
- Hyku Accessibility audit published on the Hyku for Consortia Shared Repository
The completed accessibility audit for Hyku that Notch8 undertook in preparation for work with The University of Tennessee Knoxville has been released. The audit was conducted on Hyku 3.0 via the PALNI and PALCI Hyku for Consortia application.
For more information and a link to the full report, visit the full write-up at the Hyku blog.
- Seeking UX Consultant
User Experience (UX) Consultant
10-20 hours per week, Short-term contract-based role
Hyku for Consortia seeks a UX Consultant to work with project staff to develop and implement a series of user research activities determining the most useful updates for the Samvera-based Hyku digital repository software.
The UX Consultant will determine the best activities for the project goals, develop resources and plans for activities, carry them out with selected candidates, and assist in the analysis of results. Research activities may include surveys, interviews, focus groups, usability tests or other related feedback mechanisms. The Consultant will work closely with and have the support of the project team to accomplish their goals. Prior experience with user research, excellent communication skills, and attention to detail will be essential in this role.
This is a grant-funded part-time remote-working independent contractor role, with an estimated average of 10-15 hours per week needed to complete contracted deliverables between November 2021 and June 2022 subject to limitations described below. The position will report to the PALNI Executive Director. Flexible scheduling is available for many tasks, but the Consultant must have some availability to attend meetings during Monday-Friday, 11am-5pm EST.
Hyku for Consortia (see https://www.hykuforconsortia.org/) is a partnership of the PALNI and PALCI consortia to increase the flexibility, accessibility, and usability of the multi-tenant repository platform system, Hyku. This project will extend our previous work and improve the national digital repository infrastructure by enhancing Hyku, an open-source platform suitable for access to a broad range of types of materials, addressing needs articulated by diverse stakeholders and consortia and reducing barriers to adoption.
Responsibility and Requirements:
- Demonstrated experience with gathering and analysing user research
- Understanding of user experience and accessibility best practices
- Familiarity with library/archives environments and digital repositories
- Knowledge of the academic library and scholarly research landscape
- Experience leading and facilitating group projects and meetings
- Experience with Samvera repository software a plus
- Detail-oriented, with demonstrated organizational and project management skills
- Demonstrated strength in writing, editing, and other communication skills
- Evidence of ability to work independently and as part of a team in remote work settings
- Proficiency and comfort with using modern collaboration technologies and productivity tools necessary for distributed, remote-work teams, including but not limited to Google’s suite of business tools (Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms), project management software, such as Trello, online survey software, and web conferencing technologies, such as Zoom
- Commitment to a high level of productivity, and excellent communication
Compensation will be based upon delivery of contracted services. Hyku for Consortia anticipates an average of 10-20 hours per week required across the term of the contract, with payment delivered on a monthly schedule based upon successful completion of contracted deliverables. We anticipate a total of 200-245 hours for the set of deliverables we need, and we expect to pay an hourly rate of $45-$55, depending on demonstrated level of experience and expertise. Candidates will be selected based on availability and listed qualifications.
This is an independent contractor position. The contracted party will be responsible for all insurance or other business/employment related expenses, including taxes, benefits, licenses, and other expenses. Alternatively, this role may be filled by an individual employed at a PALNI or PALCI member institution, through an agreement with that institution that contracts to supply services on a time-release basis.
Please send your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact information for three professional references will be required from all applicants invited to interview.
The position is open until filled, with first consideration given to applications received by November 5th.
Equal Opportunity Employer/Diversity and Culture
The most productive and satisfying work environment is one in which work is accomplished in a spirit of mutual trust and respect. That trust and respect should be shown by the manner of interaction between our employees, contractors, participants (those participating in PALNI activities), and people with whom we collaborate. We value positive communication and conversations. We expect people to have different opinions – we all come from different backgrounds and have had different experiences. Those differences allow us to see things from different angles so that our organization can grow and thrive in a constantly changing culture. We do not and will not treat someone differently on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of our activities or operations. See our Respect in the Workplace policy.