PALNI and PALCI successfully conclude IMLS grant to remove barriers to Hyku adoption

Hyku for Consortia logo

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. and DREXEL HILL, Pa.—The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) and The Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation (PALCI) are pleased to announce the successful completion of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant to fund the project, "Hyku for Consortia: Removing Barriers to Adoption." This collaborative effort aimed to enhance the adoption of Hyku, an open-source multi-tenant repository solution, by addressing identified barriers and creating a comprehensive toolkit for consortia and library groups to implement their own institutional repositories. Hyku is an application developed and supported by the open-source technology community. 

“The success of the Hyku for Consortia underscores the transformative potential of cross-consortial collaboration within the open source community to innovate, build, and support key library infrastructure by being led and accountable to the library staff they serve. Libraries sharing common goals can build open scholarly communication infrastructure by working together to identify gaps, deduplicate work, and encourage solution sharing across institutions,” says Kirsten Leonard, PALNI Executive Director. “The success of this initiative is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the project team, as well as to the power of collaboration with other talented people and organizations. It exemplifies the profound impact collaboration can have on shaping the future of open-source technology."

“I’m delighted to be able to offer my member organizations this ultra-low-cost repository service that leverages the unique strengths of our partnering consortia and participating institutions,” says Jill Morris, PALCI Executive Director. “We’ve been able to serve a diverse group of libraries ranging from very small to very large, and offer exciting opportunities for innovation at the same time.” 

Assessing Barriers to Adoption

As part of the project, PALNI and PALCI conducted extensive research to understand potential barriers to adopting Hyku. This research, led by two user experience (UX) research firms, Samhaeng and Aestiva Solutions, involved piloting Hyku Commons users as the focal point. Satisfaction surveys, structured interviews, usability testing, and focus groups were employed to gather valuable insights. The research identified key development needs in metadata, front-end display, and administrative workflows, providing a foundation for the subsequent technology development phase.

The project team further built upon this user-centric approach by employing a project liaison with institutional repository experience to serve as both a user and the project development and implementation supporter. This dual role allowed for a holistic understanding of user needs and the capability to translate them into actionable development changes directly and strongly impacted the project's success.

“In my role as a project liaison, I've worked with individuals from institutions of different sizes, scopes, capacities, and levels of experience with IR options. It has been fulfilling to see our efforts with Hyku meet the needs of both practitioners transitioning from proprietary systems and those brand new to IR usage,” says Nicholas Stanton-Roark, Institutional Repository Project Coordinator. “Being a Hyku user myself has enhanced my ability to actively engage in community discussions and to understand development needs from the dual perspectives of a practitioner and a development partner.”

Achieving Project Goals

The Hyku for Consortia initiative set out with three primary goals:

  1. Produce a Comprehensive Gap Assessment: In collaboration with community and user experience teams, the consortia systematically assessed gaps acting as barriers to Hyku adoption. This involved satisfaction surveys, UX studies, and focus groups, yielding valuable insights into user needs. The results informed the prioritization and development of features.
  2. Complete Development Sprints: Eight development sprints were conducted in collaboration with Software Services by (SoftServ), the project’s development partner. These sprints introduced new features, resolved bugs, and enhanced the overall appearance and usability of the repository instance. Notable highlights include optimizing bulk import/export, thumbnail render fixes, spam filtering, sorting improvements, HTML support in metadata fields, OAI-PMH feed improvements, support for metadata-only works, analytics enhancements, and appearance user interface improvements. The commitment to contributing these developments back to the Hyku code base ensures ongoing community benefit.
  3. Provide a Collaborative Repository Toolkit: Drawing on the operational model piloted during the project, PALNI and PALCI created the Hyku for Consortia Collaborative Repository Toolkit. Accessible on the project website, the toolkit offers practical guidance and examples for running a collaborative repository. It addresses communication and engagement, documentation and training, staffing and service models, governance, and technical considerations. The toolkit has been shared with consortia through meetings and presentations, with feedback actively sought to enhance the final product.

“It has been a powerful experience working with the Hyku user community to assess functional barriers and prioritize directions for development,” says Amanda Hurford, PALNI Scholarly Communications Director and Hyku for Consortia Project/Product Manager. “Collaborating with user experience experts to conduct essential end-user research enabled the team to complete development that directly satisfies user needs, making Hyku a more usable and adoptable repository solution for all.”

Looking Ahead

The completion of the IMLS grant signifies a significant achievement for the Hyku for Consortia project. PALNI and PALCI are dedicated to supporting open-source initiatives and assisting consortia and library groups in overcoming challenges related to Hyku adoption. The partners plan to continue enhancing the Hyku platform, introducing new features and functionality that will be openly accessible to the community, thanks to contributions from PALCI and PALNI adopting member organizations. 

Additionally, PALCI and PALNI are actively exploring opportunities to optimize development resources and coordinate efforts within the broader Hyku and Samvera community. Kirsten Leonard serves on the board of the Samvera community as a project representative, where she is actively seeking collaborations with other projects such as Hyku, Hyrax, and Avalon.

For more information about the project and access to the Collaborative Repository Toolkit, please visit the Hyku for Consortia website.


About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grant making, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit IMLS online and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana, Inc. (PALNI)

The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) is a non-profit organization that supports collaboration for library and information services for 24 colleges, universities and seminaries throughout the state. From its inception in 1992, the PALNI collaboration has been a key avenue for its supported institutions to contain costs while providing more effective library services. More recently, PALNI has adopted a model of deep collaboration that pools resources and people as a tool to expand services while keeping costs down. PALNI’s board of directors, composed of all 24 library deans and directors from the supported organizations, convened a Future Framing Task Force in 2019 to address ongoing demographic challenges in higher education. The board has escalated this work in the wake of COVID-19, as the consortium seeks to manage the increased need for online support while reducing costs. Simultaneously, PALNI is expanding collaboration within its institutions and with external library partners to address challenges and build cost-effective services. Visit the PALNI website for more information.

About The Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation (PALCI)

The PALCI organization was originally founded as the ‘Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.,” and was formed in 1996 as a grassroots federation of 35 academic libraries in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Today, PALCI is known as Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration & Innovation, with membership consisting of 74 academic and research libraries, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, and New York. PALCI’s mission is to enable cost-effective and sustainable access to information resources and services for academic libraries in Pennsylvania and surrounding states. PALCI Members serve over 800,000 students, faculty, and staff at member institutions, through a variety of programs, including the highly-regarded EZBorrow resource sharing service. PALCI also serves as the home for the Affordable Learning PA program, creating a community of practice for open textbooks and related educational resources. Visit PALCI online.

About’s mission is to empower and connect scientists worldwide. By transforming the way scientific research is performed, our Science as a Service® platform accelerates discoveries that cure disease, address climate change and help secure global food and energy supplies. We combine sophisticated AI technology with white-glove Research Concierge® support to enable researchers to run more innovative experiments faster and cheaper. acquired Notch8, a San Diego-based company offering application and software development services, in 2022. The acquisition of the company—now called Software Services (SoftServ)—enabled to begin offering web services—such as web and mobile application development, code audits, framework upgrades, deployment optimization and monitoring and support—to its existing global network of researchers and service providers. Visit

About Samvera

Samvera is an Icelandic word meaning “togetherness.” The Samvera Community is a global community of technologists who create and maintain repository software; you can’t install Samvera, but you can install the repository solutions we develop together including Avalon Media System, Hyrax, and Hyku. Institutions around the world rely on Samvera Community supported software to provide access to their digital content. Samvera is also a community of practice where software developers and library technologists can support and learn from one another. We have active participation from metadata specialists, repository managers, user experience professionals, and others who contribute their expertise to ensure the software stays relevant and responsive to changing needs. Samvera software is free and open source, available under an Apache 2 license. It offers flexible and rich user interfaces tailored to distinct content types on top of a robust back end – giving adopters the best of both worlds. Visit Samvera online.

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