Batch MODS Update Requirements

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DRAFT 9/27/2016

Requirements for Batch MODS update

1 Introduction

 Our affiliates wish to be able to modify and replace metadata for
 previously ingested digital objects (roughly, documents) on their
 Islandora sites with the least possible effort.  Islandora uses MODS
 files to store metadata about digital objects.  MODS is a standard
 XML format for describing document metadata.  These MODS files are
 central to the operation of Islandora, and are quite familiar to our
 In general, each ingested digital object is associated with one MODS
 file that describes its metadata.
 After careful consideration of affiliate-supplied user stories, we
 suggest a staged approach, with subsequent extensions and
 refinements as determined by discussions within our community.  We
 describe phase one in this document.

2 Functional Requirements

  There are four main components to this project:

2.1 Providing source metadata for subsequent modification

   Islandora already provides a method for patrons to search on
   metadata for ingested digital objects; see the page
   This page returns a list describing digital objects that have met
   the users search criteria: a results page.
   We will implement an Islandora module to place a link on this
   results page that has a specific function.  When the link is
   pressed a zip file returning all of the MODS files associated with
   the search results will be downloaded.
   Note that only selected accounts will be presented with this link:
   logged in affiliates with sufficient privileges, using the
   standard Islandora authentication mechanisms.
   Affiliates will use their established workflows to modify the MODS
   for subsequent upload.
   Note that some of our affiliates have already implemented their
   own techniques for retrieving MODS files from Islandora and will
   not need to rely on this interface.

2.2 Uploading changed metadata for a set of digital objects

   Once our affiliates have corrected the downloaded MODS files, they
   must have a way of uploading them to Islandora.
   For authenticated affiliates with the appropriate permissions, a
   form will be available to allow them to upload a zip file of MODS
   This form will forward the data to an off-production processing
   server which will effect the modifications, storing reports of the
   modification status in a database.  The existing offline ingest
   system does exactly this, and will be extended to support the MODS
   update capability.
   Note that there are stringent restrictions on the format of the
   MODS metadata that are acceptable for updates.  The MODS metadata
   will be checked and a best-effort attempt will be made for
   replacing the previous metadata.
   Updates will be 'all or none' on a per-digital object basis.  No
   attempt will be made to merge earlier MODS metadata with the
   newly uploaded replacement MODS.

2.3 Reporting the results of the modifications to the affiliates

   Because the processing of updating existing MODS files is done
   asynchronously, a method to report the results of the MODS
   modifications is required.  We will adapt the existing
   administrative web service that we currently provide for
   offline-ingest. For an example of this interface, see

2.4 Provide operational support to FLVC staff to quickly rollback mistakes

   Changes to MODS files for digital objects are versioned by
   Islandora.  In the case of errors, it will be straight-forward to
   recover from errors by rolling back to the previous version.
   The project will provide a command line utility that, given the
   identifiers for updated MODS files, will effect that rollback.
   This process will be handled by FLVC operations staff; affiliates
   will supply us with the identifiers that need to be reverted.

3 Future directions

  These are some of the future directions that have been suggested in
  our affiliate's user stories, of varying degrees of complexity.

3.1 Providing compatibility with the Excel-to-MODS transform web service

   Allow reuse of the MODS and Excel spreadsheets used in the
   Excel-to-MODS transformation service

3.2 Provide global updates to all metadata across a site.

   e.g., correct a misspelling no matter where it is

3.3 Tree-based graphical user interface for modifying MODS

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