If you have yet to hear, we have been completely rewriting the code for OHMS, the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, and we are incorporating the OHMS Application into the Aviary Platform on September 18, 2023 (https://www.aviaryplatform.com). I wanted to start this exciting conversation and offer details about the upcoming migration. This integration is a powerful step in making OHMS a more innovative and sustainable tool. Don’t worry; your full-featured OHMS account will continue to be free. Keep reading, this migration and integration is the most significant development news relating to OHMS since we initially made the platform something other institutions and individuals could use in 2014; since making the platform public, over 700 active accounts in over 60 different countries.
I am Doug Boyd, Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries. I am also the person who designed and I have overseen all development and innovation of OHMS, the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer. OHMS has transformed expectations regarding enhancing access to online oral history worldwide, and I am proud of that. I am also proud that except for the generous National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2012, OHMS has been entirely self-funded by the Louie B. Nunn Center and the University of Kentucky Libraries. Grants are incredible resources for creating innovation, but they often do not typically fund the sustainability of the original innovation. One of the things I have been constantly balancing over the years is the cost of innovation with the sustainability of the tool. Sustainability has been a constant value underlying my original vision for OHMS. To this day, I consider sustainability in every development decision I make. The sustainability stakes are even higher now that the platform is so popular.
Since 2016, the Nunn Center has been collaborating with AVP on the software development side of OHMS. If you are unfamiliar with AVP, AVP is also behind the powerful cloud-based platform called “Aviary.” Aviary is an archives-focused platform for publishing and streaming searchable audio and video content. The Nunn Center has been using Aviary on the backend for several years. About three years ago, we started talking seriously with AVP about a deeper collaboration between OHMS and Aviary. For the past 18 months, we have completely rewritten the code for the OHMS Application. As of September 18, 2023, the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, OHMS, will become an integrated part of the Aviary Platform. This integration will allow us to be more nimble in our innovation.This new incarnation of OHMS will be far more powerful and stable, and we have taken the platform’s security to the next level.
If you have an OHMS Account, the OHMS Application will look different when you log in on September 18.
I want to stress a few specific things in this announcement.
First: OHMS is still OHMS. OHMS will still be called OHMS, even though it is being integrated into Aviary.
Second: This change does not impact the OHMS Viewer in any way. The OHMS Application is what is being incorporated into the Aviary platform. So the tool where you do the backend work of OHMS-ing your resources in preparation for public access is being integrated into the Aviary Platform. You will still export the same OHMS XML files, which will still work with your OHMS Viewer in the same way.
Third: Although Aviary is a subscription-based platform, meaning it costs customers money, OHMS will continue to be a freely available resource. With all of the new bells and whistles, your full-featured OHMS account will continue to be free. This commitment to OHMS being free was written into the license agreement.
Fourth: There are several new capabilities in this version of OHMS; the look will be significantly different, and some of the terminology will have changed. However, most of the significant paradigms in using the OHMS Application are much the same. OHMS will be more powerful, but in basics of working with OHMS will be much the same. There will be new documentation released, but also new training materials coming later this Fall.
Fifth: In addition to being free, I have always talked about the commitment to OHMS being an open-source resource. The “open source” component of OHMS has always been a reference to the OHMS Viewer. Now that we have merged the OHMS Application with Aviary, the OHMS application will, for the first time, be publicly available as an open-source resource you can download via Github; if you want to deploy your instance of Aviary and OHMS locally, you will have that capability.
So, once again, OHMS will remain free and open source. With your free OHMS account, Aviary will offer you limited access as an option to try the platform.
The migration is happening on September 18, 2023.
A very important detail: Each OHMS Repository Administrator will receive an email about the migration between now and then. For each OHMS Repository, one repository administrator will need to “opt-in” to this migration and provide consent to migrate their OHMS repository and all associated records and accounts to the new platform. We will be sending several reminder email announcements in the coming weeks.
There is nothing else you will need to do once you consent to migrate your OHMS repository. When you log into OHMS on September 18, your repository and all the resources will be in the new version. I will provide greater detail about what has changed in OHMS and what you should expect in the weeks before the migration. One thing you will need to do when logging in for the first time will be to implement two-factor authentication.
I will be hosting several webinar sessions throughout the Fall to provide an overview of the new platform, so stay tuned for those announcements.
Once again, I could not be more excited to announce that OHMS is about to enter a new phase of life driven by both innovation and sustainability. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me. Be on the lookout for email messages about the migration and the dates and registration links for those webinars.I can’t wait for the next phase of this OHMS journey together. It is going to be great.