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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.


What Islandora can do for you

What is Islandora?

Islandora is an extensible, modular, open source digital repository ecosystem focused on collaborative authorship, management, display, and preservation of digital content at scale. Islandora adheres to widely adopted best practices and open standards.

Islandora is a community-developed project, rather than a singular entity’s vision of what a digital repository system should be. As such, functionality is created by individuals, institutions, service providers and consortia and shared back with the community.  The community pulls together in Community Sprints that complete tasks of universal interest and build consensus on issues of architecture and feature development. Islandora is maintained by the community and through targeted service and contractor arrangements funded by community membership in the Foundation.

Core functions of Islandora allow you to:

  • Create, manage, and display collections or other compound configurations of any type of file: Images, documents (including PDFs), described audio/video, books/newspapers (and other paged content), and arbitrary file formats (binary files).
  • Display and view any file supported in modern browser technology, with integrations for the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) for images, and native integration with Drupal’s rich ecosystem of modules for digital exhibit creation.
  • Transcode source files for preservation, display, and full text indexing via an optional suite of microservices that enable the system to scale and manage complex media workflows, as well as to move and transform content. 
  • Preserve content through integration with common standards for persistent identifiers (such as DOI, ARK and Handle), fixity checking, bag-it compliant bags (Archival Information Packages) creation, PRONOM registry linking, reporting for content health. content versioning support, and the creation of robust administrative metadata. 
  • Create, serialize, export, and expose metadata in any format, with out-of-the box support for a robust MODS use case. In Islandora’s current iteration, we have replaced Islandora Legacy (Islandora 7s) form builder with a tighter integration with Drupal's extensive content management system, allowing for better, and more user-friendly manipulation of metadata entry forms and both the transformation and publication of metadata. 
  • Utilize world-class, highly configurable research index with faceting, simple search, faceted search, browse functions, and the ability to expose metadata through both OAI-PMH and Sparql endpoints.
  • Secure content through Drupal’s authentication layer, which facilitates the authoring of roles and permissions at multiple layers. Content may be kept dark and exposed to various target groups, and unique workflows can be authored to suit your institution, including the ability to set embargos (often used for institutional repositories). 

Islandora “core” is comprised of the following Open Source technologies, installation of which has been automated through the ISLE-DC, ISLE-BUILDKIT (Docker), and ISLANDORA-PLAYBOOK (Ansible) projects:

  • Drupal
  • Apache Solr and ActiveMQ
  • Cantaloupe, a IIIF-compliant media server
  • Mirador, a IIIF-compliant media viewer
  • Matomo
  • ImageMagick
  • FFmpeg
  • Tesseract OCR
  • FITS
  • Fedora (optional)

Out of the box, Islandora includes content model support for:

  • Collections, the basic containers into which other Repository Items may be organized
  • A variety of Images, from simple JPEGs to archival TIFFs 
  • PDF-based “Digital Documents”
  • Audio files in a variety of formats
  • Video files in a variety of formats
  • Books, comprised of Pages which may be either Images or PDFs
  • Newspapers (periodical series of Newspaper Issues, which are comprised of Pages which may be either Images or PDFs)
  • Binary Objects, which allow arbitrary attachments for which there are often not web viewers
  • Compound Objects, which are a special type of Collection which presents like a Digital Exhibition and may also be used as a secondary organization mechanism

Through extension of these content models, Islandora allows for modeling, storage and display of a wide variety of specialized content, including Theses and Dissertations, Journal Articles, High-quality archival media, and Research Data.

Please review our full documentation for additional details about Islandora.

Migration and Adoption

There are a variety of mechanisms for exporting content from Islandora 7 and other repository systems and importing it into the current release of Islandora, with Islandora Workbench being the most widely used and best documented. The Islandora Roadmap emphasizes the creation of migration documentation and support in Q2, 2022.

#What's next?
The Islandora Leadership Group maintains a roadmap of anticipated additions to the Islandora ecosystem, both from projects known to be ongoing at community institutions as well as the result of community sprints. This document may be viewed here.

#How do I get involved?
Just getting started in Islandora? Join one of our communication channels, review our community wiki (especially the onboarding checklist). We look forward to meeting you!

Logo of Islandora
Programming languages
  • PHP 97%
  • JavaScript 1%
  • Twig 1%
</>Source code

Participating organisations

Digital Research Alliance of Canada
Islandora Foundation


Donald Moses
Principal Investigator
University of Prince Edward Island

Related software

Research Lifecycle Approach using Islandora


Islandora 8 is an open-source software framework designed to help organizations collaboratively manage and discover digital assets using a best-practices, standards-based preservation framework.

Updated 18 months ago