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.
- Librarians (35.4%)
- Archivists (10.8%)
- Managers (18.5%)
- 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.
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.
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!