FL-Islandora Overview

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The FIG wiki has moved to a LibGuide at http://falsc.libguides.com/FL-Islandora/Guide_home . Please update any links you maintain and link to the new location. If any information is missing from the new guide, or if you have any feedback you would like to share regarding the new FIG LibGuide, please email to help@flvc.org and let us know!
The specific information previously maintained on this page can now be found at http://falsc.libguides.com/FL-Islandora/Guide_home .
FL-Islandora Guides (FIG)
FL-Islandora Overview
User Interface
Permissions and users
Collection Creation and Management
Content models
Creating Content Objects
Suppressing Objects From View
PALMM guidelines
Fl-Islandora and Mango
Site Administration
Workflow: From Spreadsheet to Islandora
Using Google Analytics with FL-Islandora
Collection Information Menu
A-I. FL-Islandora Glossary
A-II. Field Inventory


What FL-Islandora is

FL-Islandora is an instance of Islandora run by the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) for the benefit of the libraries of the State University System and the Florida College System.

Islandora is an open source digital library system that builds on other open source systems to provide a repository, ingest mechanisms, display interface and other features for exposing and managing digital content. Some of the applications used by Islandora include Drupal (a content management system used for many websites), Fedora (a general purpose digital repository system), SOLR/Lucene (a search server), Mulgara (an RDF triple store manager) and MySQL (a relational database manager).

FL-Islandora architecture

In FL-Islandora production there is one instance of the Fedora repository, one instance of Drupal, and one instance of Islandora. FL-Islandora makes use of Drupal’s multi-site capability to provide individual websites to each participating institution.


Each site has its own URL in the pattern:

  • [institution-code].digital.flvc.org


  • fsu.digital.flvc.org
  • fau.digital.fvc.org

There is also a PALMM site that serves as a union portal to the content on the institutional sites: palmm.digital.flvc.org. (See PALMM.)

Site properties and policy


Each site has its own name (e.g. “Florida State University Digital Library”) and customization of the Drupal theme used for web display.

User management

Each site has its own user table (database of user accounts). Site administrators can add, modify and cancel user accounts. User roles, however, are the same system-wide; e.g. the role fsu_submitter has the same permissions as the role fau_submitter. (See Permissions and User Management.)

Namespaces and PIDs

Each institutional site has one and only one namespace, which is the institution code assigned by FLVC at the time of the site setup -- e.g., the FSU Digital Library has the namespace “fsu”. Objects ingested into a site must have the namespace prefix assigned to the site. The namespace is used as a prefix to the Fedora PID (system identifier) which has the format [namespace-prefix]:[name]

The [name] portion of the PID for content objects is assigned by the system and is always a sequentially assigned number. By FLVC policy, names for collection objects should be assigned by the operator creating the collection, and should always begin with an alphabetic character.

Ownership of objects

You can identify the owner of an object by the namespace prefix in the Fedora PID. Objects owned by the FSU Digital Library will have PIDs in the form “fsu:[name]” where [name] is an alphanumeric string, e.g.”fsu:123”, “fsu:18276”, “fsu:football50”. Objects owned by the FAU Digital Library will have PIDS beginning “fau:”.

Each institutional site has a set of objects that it owns. Objects owned by a site are automatically indexed and searchable in that site, and display in the site (unless intentionally suppressed -- see Workflow Management). By policy, every object in FL-Islandora must be owned by a single institutional site, which is the only site from which the object can be updated. An object owned by one site, however, can be shared with other sites such as PALMM, where it can be viewed but not updated. (See Sharing objects with another collection.)

An object owned by FSU when viewed on the FSU site will have the URL:

https://fsu.digital.flvc.org/islandora/object/[pid]   e.g.

An object owned by FSU when shared with PALMM and viewed on the PALMM site will have the URL:

https://palmm.digital.flvc.org/islandora/object/[pid]   e.g.

The PID of the object, demarking the owning institution, does not change, although the access URL does change from site to site.


All institutional sites have the same set of metadata forms available to them for use. However, each site can create its own templates to set site-specific default values in these forms. (For more information see Metadata.)

Queues and controls

Each FL-Islandora site has its own lists of allowed IP ranges and its own Embargo policies (what to show when an unauthorized user tries to display an embargoed item, whether to receive notification of pending embargo releases).

Content objects and collection objects

There are two types of objects in Islandora: content objects and collection objects. People often use the term “object” to refer to content objects, but it is important to remember that collections are objects too.

Content objects

Content objects are documents, images, music and video files, and other digital content. Content objects always include at least four datastreams: MODS metadata, Dublin Core metadata, a text file called “RELS-EXT”, and a filestream like a PDF or JPG. Some content objects include two, three or even more filestreams. The RELS-EXT is a file required by Islandora that records important information about the object, like what its name is and which collection(s) it belongs to.

Collection objects

Collection objects are just a way to aggregate content objects of other collection objects. Collection objects must have two datastreams: Dublin Core metadata and a RELS-EXT. Optionally, they can also include a thumbnail image that will display for the collection in the browse list, and a file of descriptive text that displays on the home page or “landing page” for the collection.

There are a lot of similarities in the way that content objects and collection objects are managed in the system. For example, both will display a "Manage" tab to users who are authorized to perform management functions on the object. There are also some differences, some enforced technically and some by policy.

An important policy concerning objects is their PID conventions. Remember the PID has a [namespace] portion and [name] portion, likeso [namespace]:[name]. As noted above, a [name] for a content object is assigned by the system and these automatically assigned [name]s are always sequentially assigned numbers. The [name] portion of a PID for collection objects should be created by the operator creating the collection, and should always begin with an alphabetic character. “chw50” and “football” are both valid collection names, but “123” is not.

Test instance and test users

FL-Islandora has a test server that can be used for testing and training. It consists of a general test/training FL-Islandora site, available at http://islandora-test.digital.flvc.org, as well as test instances for each institution. (The URLs for the institutional test instances use the following pattern: http://your institution code-test.digital.flvc.org .) The test sites can be used by library staff for training and for test purposes, such as trying out new features.

The general test/training instance at http://islandora-test.digital.flvc.org is also used by FLVC staff as a “staging area” for changes to Islandora code or configurations before they are moved to the production instance.

There are four user accounts set up in the general test/training instance that anyone can use to logon. These are:

  • Susan Submitter (with submitter privileges)
  • Eddie Editor (with editor privileges)
  • Sal Supervisor (with supervisor privileges)
  • Connie Colladmin (with collection manager privileges)
  • Annie Admin (with site administrator privileges)

To get the passwords to these accounts, contact FLVC support. For more information about user roles and privileges, see Permissions and User Management.

Onboarding Video

Onboarding video: Goes over the community aspects of FLVC/FALSC hosted Islandora, including how to be in touch with other institutions using Islandora and with FALSC, standard settings and training for FLVC/FALSC hosted Islandora, and how to find training materials for the Islandora software and community training materials from the wider digital library community: https://uwf.webex.com/uwf/lsr.php?RCID=16e39c75ae7e4b0faabd50f0d12d0685

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