LibriVox Mellon Grant – Update

Posted on September 25, 2012 by | Posted in about LibriVox, News | Comments: 12 Comments

We are now 3 months and a bit into our Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded project to rebuild the LibriVox infrastructure. Some of you may be wondering: Where’s my new shiny LibriVox?

The answer is: it’s coming! Please be patient. Since most of the work so far has been “behind the scenes”, we thought we’d take a moment to bring the world up to speed on what’s been happening.

While the grant was awarded in April, we went through a rigorous hiring process to find the right developer and project manager for the job, and the team didn’t get finalized until June 1.

Since then a small committee of LibriVox old-timers (Jo Smallheer, Cori Samuel, and me) have been working with Val (our project manager) and Jeff (our developer), as well as Artom (systems admin) with input from a wider group of admin volunteers. The objective of “phase one” has been getting from “OK, we need to fix this bunch of things” to really pulling apart LibriVox’s existing software and workflow, so that the team can understand fully all the moving parts (of which there are many), and what the final outcome should be.

There are 3 paid staff members on this project: Jeff Madsen, developer, Artom Lifshitz, system administrator, and Valerie Bock, project manager, have logged about 145 hours, or about 15% of paid hours budgeted for this project.

Additionally, volunteers Jo Smallheer, Cori Samuel and Hugh McGuire have contributed time, probably roughly at the same levels, throughout this period, and other LibriVox volunteers have participated in a number of forum conversations as we did the spadework for the foundation of the new system.

Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we have:
* Obtained new server hosting (free!) through the Internet Archive
* Begun to migrate the existing system to the new servers
* Documented the current state of LibriVox systems
* Documented user stories which explicate current issues within the existing system and desired features of the new one
* Developed the initial database schema

In the weeks ahead we will be:
* Completing the server migration
* Developing prototype screens of the new project start and cataloguing systems for community commentary

We have all been impatient, Jeff most of all, to get to the stage of generating new system code, but we are confident that the investment in thoroughly understanding the current system and the community’s sense of it’s benefits and limitations will pay off in a truly user-friendly and efficient interface for all LibriVoxers. Now that we’re finally here, please stay tuned, there are great things to come!

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12 comments

  1. This is so exciting! Thank you for keeping us in the loop. Good luck and many thanks to those who are working so hard to build our shiny new LibriVox!

  2. anonymous says:

    :clap: Well done guys! :clap:

  3. MaryAnn says:

    Thanks so much for the update!

    “Since then a small committee of LibriVox old-timers (Jo Smallheer, Cori Samuel, and me) ”

    I’m curious who “me” is – did I miss that somewhere in the update?

  4. hugh says:

    hi maryann, the “me” is Hugh …

  5. Lars Rolander says:

    This is really exciting. I certainly agree with that. We all want Librivox to be smooth and working. So good luck, and thanks for all the work you put into it.

  6. Cristina says:

    Well done! I’ve followed Librivox for 5 years and always recommend this site to teachers, students and many other friends. Keep it up.

  7. Melissa says:

    I love you, Librivox! Glad to hear about the updates.

  8. LB Arbuthnot says:

    Please add me to your mailing list.
    THank you,
    LB Arbuthnot

  9. LibriVoxer says:

    There is no mailing list. What kind of updates are you wanting?

  10. Divakar Dhaveji says:

    I must say librivox is a great asset for individuals who are on the move (say in the car, shuttling between home and office) and would like the journey to be interesting, productive or entertaining. I have heard a number of classics thanks to the volunteers who had put in their heart and soul into something invaluable for worldwide listeners, some of who would not have had the chance otherwise to be exposed to the beauty, flavour and artistry of great writers and thinkers.

  11. ronks says:

    Eagerly looking forward to Librivox 2.0! Keep up the good work!

  12. Paul Benold says:

    It was already great/ It is surprising the folks that do not know this service exists.

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