Use-a-Thon Dividends: Islandora + Alexa

We're taking another look back at Islandoracon this week, to highlight another one of the amazing projects that came from our Islandora 8 Use-a-Thon. We've seen how to build exhibits and how to generate audio thumbnails; now, let's dive into the deep end of Drupal contributed modules with team Blue Lobster's recipe to integrate Islandora with Amazon Alexa. You can see the pitch on these clever slides, but the basic premise is that since Islandora 8 plays nicely with pretty much any Drupal contributed module, even boundary-pushing tools like Alexa integration are on the table. The use case for the team was to use Alexa to create interactive exhibits that pull information from similar collection across multiple institutions (it turned out that both team members' home institutions have collections centered around the experiences of African American  nurses), but the true applications of this recipe are as varied as its components. Potentially, you could use this recipe to build an Islandora integration that can:

  • Send Citations, metadata, whatever we want to the user if they have set up their email
  • Creating a collaborative exhibit
  • Play audio and video objects and read transcripts
  • Respond to user search queries (like how many objects match the subject in the repositories)
  • Answer specific questions about the object (“Invocation Name, when was this recorded?”)
  • Interact with other applications or modules (got a print ordering system? Want to add event calendar items to your exhibit?)
  • Be accessed via web page, Alexa device, or phone app

Many thanks to Brad Spry (UNCC) and Mariee Vibbert (Case Western) for this innovative idea.