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Benefits of Samvera

We believe that no single system can provide the full range of repository-based solutions for a given institution’s needs and that no single institution can resource the development of a full range of solutions on its own.

Working together, the Samvera Community creates sustainable solutions using a common infrastructure within which there is the flexibility to tailor solutions to local demands and workflows.

Samvera software is free and open source, available under an Apache 2 license.

How it Works

Samvera maintains a set of Ruby on Rails components (Ruby gems) that, together, can be used to build flexible and extensible digital repository solutions. Hyrax combines a number of these components into a toolkit (a Rails engine) for building repository applications to meet a wide range of repository requirements, whilst Hyku is an out-of-the-box repository application with multi-tenant capability built on Hyrax.

Samvera does not work in isolation and relies on a number of external open source components, including:

  • Fedora – a durable repository layer for persisting and managing digital objects.
  • Apache Solr – a fast and performant search platform
  • Blacklight – a discovery platform built on Solr

Institutional Repositories

Samvera is being used as a base for a number of institutional repositories (IRs) each of which contains a range of content types. Many of the Samvera partners have developed IR with Hyrax. For instance, George Washington University, UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Hull, UK cultural heritage organisations, and many others have an IR containing electronic dissertations and theses (ETDs), past examination papers, learning materials, journal articles, small datasets and more. For more information visit Samvera Wiki Implementations Information Page.


Media Collections

Avalon, an access platform for online audio and video was developed by Indiana University and Northwestern University using the Samvera stack. Amongst others, WGBH, a public broadcaster in Boston, the University of Virginia, the University of Houston and Washington University are utilizing Avalon and Samvera to manage their digital media content.


Solution Bundles

The Avalon Media System is a collaborative Samvera-based project for managing and providing online access to digital video and audio. It is now available as a Samvera “solution bundle”.

Hyku is the result of a collaboration to extend the existing Samvera project codebase to build, bundle, and promote a feature-rich, robust, flexible digital repository that is easy to install, configure, and maintain.  Learn more


Data and Preservation

The Samvera software is being used as the basis for data repositories, for instance “Deep Blue Data” at the University of Michigan and “Imago” at Indiana University.  The Digital Repository of Ireland is “a national repository for Ireland’s humanities, social sciences and cultural heritage data.”

A number of Samvera Partners are investigating the use of our software for dealing with the long-term preservation of research data.  In the UK, the Universities of York and Hull have been integrating the open-source preservation system Archivematica into their Samvera workflows.


Archives and Special Collections

Samvera is being used in conjunction with archives and special collections.  The University of York in the UK has used it as the basis for their Archbishops’ Registers site, providing access to more than 20,000 pages of early manuscripts.  Princeton University has used Samvera to create “Figgy”, a workflow tool for digitizing a wide range of formats including archival materials, ephemera, maps, audio, and coins.



Fulcrum is a community-based, open source publishing platform based on Samvera that helps publishers present their authors’ research outputs in a durable, discoverable, accessible and flexible form. It is hosted on the University of Michigan library infrastructure, specifically designed to curate digital objects. Interoperable with other publishing tools and integrated into the information supply chain, Fulcrum ensures that content is discovered by readers and impact is tracked. Fulcrum aims to implement accessible systems and features and effect change by sharing and maintaining a high standard of accessibility.

The Samvera Community

Samvera is not (and has never been) grant funded. It is distributed, robust and open. The Samvera Community was conceived and executed, under its original name “Hydra”, as a collaborative, open source effort from its very beginning in 2008.

Samvera has grown into a vibrant, highly active community including more than 30 Partners who formally support our work and development.

Samvera is designed so that adopters can each have their own mix of features; variation is part of the plan. For adopters who do not have the resourcing to create their own variant, the Samvera Community has developed rather more “off-the-shelf” application bundles.

Growing open technologies, together.

Samvera Partners

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.