The Latest Survey Results Are In!

Our first community poll on what features folks want was a huge success, with 76 people responding.  Our second poll just wrapped up, and we managed to beat that number with a total of 80 responses.  For having approximately 320 Islandora installations out there, 80 responses means we got input from roughly one quarter our users.  Not too shabby!

We changed up how we presented the questions and also asked for a bit more info, so we have a little more to report on than just a ranked list of features this time around.  We've published the anonymized data here if you're curious or want to follow along with this summary.  Without further ado, here's what the community has told us.


We asked folks to provide details like their job title and what solution(s) they are currently using. Most people kindly answered these questions even though they were optional, and from that we've categorized them broadly into the following groups.

  • Users
    • Librarians (35.4%)
    • Archivists (10.8%)
    • Managers (18.5%)
  • Developers
    • Programmers (24.6%)
    • Dev / Ops (10.8%)

Added together, the users make up 64.6% of those who responded, heavily outweighing the 35.4% of developers who answered.  This is an encouraging sign, as open source software is overwhelmingly developer oriented by nature.  So it's good to know that the lion's share of feedback is coming from our user base.

With regard to the solutions people are currently using, we received the following details:

  • Islandora 8 (17.2%)
  • Islandora 7 (63.4%)
  • Islandora 6 (1.1%)
  • Other (18.3%)

The clear majority here is Islandora 7, which is great to see.  Helping people transition from 7 to 8 is a high priority for the Islandora Foundation, so it's good to know that we're capturing feedback from those who have yet to make the switch.  Interestingly, we received a total of 16 responses for Islandora 8, which means there's more out there in the wild than we're aware of!


Here's all the features that were voted on, ranked by the amount of "I need this feature" responses that were received.

Batch editing of metadata 54 22 2 2
Better documentation for migrating into Islandora 8 53 19 6 2
Better documentation for customizing metadata 49 25 4 2
Embargoes 47 20 10 3
Collection based access controls 45 30 2 3
Islandora 8 Accessibility Audit and Improvements 41 31 3 5
Pre-installation documentation on everything you'd want to know before making a production environment 38 34 3 5
Advanced boolean search as in Islandora 7 38 33 5 4
Make migrating from 7.x more manageable 36 20 18 6
A batch uploader that does not require terminal usage 35 32 9 4
Auditing functions to ensure all background jobs completed successfully 34 40 3 3
Documentation on upgrading each piece of software in Islandora 8 34 36 2 8
More written documentation for users 34 34 9 3
Collection management interface 33 33 1 13
Focus on the Drupal 9 upgrade 32 35 6 7
Integration for Google Scholar indexing 32 32 13 3
Improved ingest experience 31 41 5 3
Making migration from 7x more manageable 31 40 7 2
Documentation on pushing changes from development to staging to production environments 30 40 7 3
IP Restricted Access 28 36 12 4
Improved update process between versions 26 37 5 12
Import metadata from an XML record using the GUI 26 33 14 7
Fixity Auditing 25 47 4 4
Minimize resources needed to deploy Islandora 8 25 34 11 10
Multisite search and namespacing 25 21 28 6
Expand and improve preservation functionality 24 44 6 6
Views bulk operations to perform actions on more objects that the current UI allows 24 28 4 24
Linked data lookup (autocomplete subjects from LOC and more) 23 48 7 2
Dynamic Citation Generation 23 41 10 6
Provide a user interface for configuring RDF mappings 22 44 6 8
Examples of using Drupal's workflows to create editorial workflows. 22 38 8 12
Repository reporting/dashboarding 21 48 2 9
Better documentation for deploying Islandora 8 in the cloud 21 42 15 2
More intuitive default form 21 39 7 13
Multisite administration 20 24 30 6
Export metadata into an XML record using the GUI 19 40 15 6
Integrations with other library systems 18 56 3 3
Provide a GUI for migrations 18 46 13 3
More IIIF viewer options 18 45 6 11
Dashboard for background operations and their status 16 56 3 5
Enhance/Replace Carapace Theme 15 34 20 11
PDF to PDF/A conversion upon ingest 14 50 13 3
Multilingual OCR 13 49 15 3
Faster speed when provisioning an environment 13 40 18 9
Model uploaded file and all derivatives as a single media 13 31 3 33
More video documentation for users 10 47 21 2
Documentation for using the Learning-to-rank (LTR) module for Solr 7 24 6 43
Build default splash page with Layout Builder 6 34 22 18

Unsurprisingly, documentation is all over the top of that list.  Certainly there will be a documentation sprint in our near future. There's also a few features that already have existing solutions out there that we can utilize.  Batch editing has a few Drupal modules that work very well, and Bryan Brown from Florida State University has already developed an embargo module that is starting to get uptake in our community.  In addition to embargoes, other Institutional Repository features ranked high, particuarly IP restricted access and Google Scholar integration.

One feature that has been in the top ten for both surveys but hasn't seen much love is accessibility.  Living with someone who has a physical disability, I know all too well that the norm is for things to be inaccessible.  Being accessible means going out of your way to take extra steps that most people don't prioritize because it doesn't affect them personally.  In my opinion, an accessible Islandora isn't likely to happen without a concerted effort from the top to push the issue.  It would be prudent for us to start taking steps towards improving accessibility, starting first with an audit of the software as it is now so that we can find out where we need to improve.

Next Steps

The Islandora Foundation will be organizing community sprints around these features.  We'll try and get as many of these in that we can before the next release of Islandora 8.  So be on the lookout for further announcements if you're interested in these features or want to help us build them.

On top of that, the Technical Advisory Group has is using the survey results to formulate a Technical Roadmap for the software. The roadmap will include things like our version support timeline, as well as strategic initiatives to give folks a sense of where the software is headed in the future.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out this survey. It's not much effort, and it really helps give us a solid understanding of what the community needs so we can best serve you.  As always, we couldn't do this without you!