Systems and Software

Digital Preservation on UTSC campus

We are proud to undertake preservation activities on special born-digital and digitized collections and objects for which the library has taken responsibility and for which the library has acquired sufficient licensing to permit preservation activities. As a general rule, the library does not seek to preserve digital materials where open access or data sharing will never be permitted. We operate in the context of the library and institution’s organizational structures and rely on the services of IITS and ITS to support the library’s preservation strategy. We collaborate for these activities with the Collections unit and consult with UTARMS and other University of Toronto partners.


We maintain an Islandora repository infrastructure for the storage, manipulation, and display of Digital objects. Islandora is an "open-source software framework designed to help institutions and organizations and their audiences collaboratively manage, and discover digital assets using a best-practices framework" that is maintained by an international community. Islandora utilizes known components such as Drupal, Apache Solr, and FedoraCommons. The next generation of Islandora provides enhanced support for linked-data. 

Software Development

Application developers in the DSU contribute to the development of our overall infrastructure, including the development of generalized software:

Web Annotation Utility Module

The Web Annotation Utility Module allows users to make web-based annotations on multimedia objects, including video/audio, Oral Histories, large images and simple images. Learn more about the software by reviewing our Code4Lib poster or article

Cite our Code:  

Oral History Solution Pack

The Oral History solution pack is software developed and released by the Digital Scholarship Unit to support stewardship and display of multiple tiers of transcription and translation alongside video and audio files.  The software is being used internationally as well as in UTSC classrooms and UTSC research projects. You can learn more about the Oral History Solution pack by reading our publication in Code4lib

Please Note: This module would not have been possible without the support of Chris Berkowitz from the Scarborough Oral Histories Project at the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies at UTSC.

Cite our code: DOI

ARK Identifier Minting & Binding

Building on several available applications we have developed a stand-alone application to mint, bind, and update ARK Identifiers. We have made this work available for public use on Github.

Developing Software, Developing Students

We are happy to provide placements for emerging application developers through the Arts & Science Co-Op and Workstudy programs. Students working in the DSU are usually funded through participating department and grant funds, and make meaningful software contributions to specific faculty projects. Our students are embedded in a nurturing community of practice where they can learn more about computing-based research methods across disciplines and collaborate with other emerging professionals in fields such as Information Studies.