FEDORA Commons Awarded $4.9M Development Grant

29th August 2007, by

Fedora Commons announced the award of a four year, $4.9M grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to develop the organizational and technical frameworks necessary to effect revolutionary change in how scientists, scholars, museums, libraries, and educators collaborate to produce, share, and preserve their digital intellectual creations. Fedora Commons is a new non-profit organization that will continue the mission of the Fedora Project, the successful open-source software collaboration between Cornell University and the University of Virginia. The Fedora Project evolved from the Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture (Fedora) developed by researchers at Cornell Computing and Information Science.

With this funding, Fedora Commons will foster an open community to support the development and deployment of open source software, which facilitates open collaboration and open access to scholarly, scientific, cultural, and educational materials in digital form. The software platform developed by Fedora Commons with Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation funding will support a networked model of intellectual activity, whereby scientists, scholars, teachers, and students will use the Internet to collaboratively create new ideas, and build on, annotate, and refine the ideas of their colleagues worldwide. With its roots in the Fedora open-source repository system, developed since 2001 with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the new software will continue to focus on the integrity and longevity of the intellectual products that underlie this new form of knowledge work. The result will be an open source software platform that both enables collaborative models of information creation and sharing, and provides sustainable repositories to secure the digital materials that constitute our intellectual, scientific, and cultural history.

Recognizing the importance of multiple participants in the development of new technologies to support this vision, the Moore Foundation funding will also support the growth and diversification of the Fedora Community, a global set of partners who will cooperate in software development, application deployment, and community outreach for Fedora Commons. This network of partners will be instrumental for making Fedora Commons a self-sustainable non-profit organization that will support and incubate open-source software projects that focus on new mechanisms for information formation, access, collaboration, and preservation.

According to Sandy Payette, Executive Director of Fedora Commons, "the new Fedora Commons can foster technologies and partnerships that make it possible for academic and scientific communities to publish, share, and archive the results of their own work in a free, open fashion, and make it possible to analyze and use content in novel ways."

"Establishing a sustainable open-source software system that provides the basic infrastructure for on-line communities of scholars will have enduring impact. The unanticipated cross-disciplinary uses of this open platform are the hallmark of this revolutionary infrastructure," said Jim Omura, technology strategist with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Payette also noted, "The open-source software that is developed and distributed by Fedora Commons can impact the entire lifecycle of what is often referred to as "e-Research" and "e-Science," including storage of experimental data, analysis of experimental results, peer review, publication of findings, and the reuse of published material for the next generation of scholarly works. We will also continue our work with libraries and museums to facilitate the sharing of digitized collections, making previously locked away material available to wide audiences. Also, building on our attention to digital preservation in the Fedora open-source repository system, Fedora Commons will continue to stress the importance of the sustainability of digital information in applications of our work."

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