Islandora Enterprise (ISLE) is a community project that addresses two of the most significant pain-points in Islandora: installation and maintenance.
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ISLE: Islandora Enterprise

Skip directly to the Quick-Start Guide

ISLE Documents

Contributing to ISLE

What is ISLE?

ISLE is a community project—initially funded by 17 academic institutions and Born-Digital—that addresses two of the most significant pain-points in Islandora: installation and maintenance.

ISLE uses replaceable Docker images to streamline and largely automate the process of installing and maintaining the entire Islandora 7.x stack, while at the same time enabling institutions to create customizations that persist separately from core code. The result is the ability to easily, quickly and regularly update an institution’s entire Islandora stack. Maintaining ISLE requires significantly less time and staff, and also reduces the dependency on expert technical staff and outside vendors.

Perhaps most importantly, the ISLE project maintainers keep your Islandora stack smoothly running with minimal effort by regularly releasing updated (and tested) Docker images that contain up-to-date Islandora releases, software patches, security updates and feature improvements.

ISLE is quite flexible and may be run on an institution’s servers or in the cloud, or as a hybrid; similarly, it may be maintained by an institution’s staff, by a vendor, or as a shared project.

Looking ahead: ISLE is collaborating with the community’s LASIR project to develop and include a robust suite of Institutional Repository (IR) features within Islandora. ISLE’s common, updatable platform will be advantageous to the community as we prepare to move toward the next major version of Islandora CLAW.

Why Use ISLE?

ISLE cuts in half (compared to pre-ISLE upkeep costs) the time required to install and maintain an Islandora stack. Clear documentation makes it a snap to test installation on a laptop, install it directly on a local host server or cloud service, or update a pre-existing ISLE site. ISLE standardizes best-practice security features and protocols, removing much of the opportunity for human error from configuration and upkeep of Production Islandora systems. Multiple stacks (production, staging, and development) may be installed on a single virtual server, and each may be distinctly configured. Initial use cases are showing ISLE to be dramatically faster (more on that soon).

Islandora is a powerful digital repository comprised of over 80 different, best-of-breed open-source software libraries. Islandora’s strength is that it integrates these packages into one easy to manage system. However, this ecosystem has traditionally been complex enough as to require staff with technical expertise to install and maintain.

ISLE lowers the barrier to entry for new institutions or organizations because it reduces the complexity and expense to the point where non-technical staff can upgrade an Islandora stack in just under an hour per month. This in turn allows institutions to reallocate funds towards development or ingestion instead of maintenance. An ISLE maintained Islandora stack is secure and can be run as a production server straight out of the box.

A note about migration: ISLE contains complete documentation for migrating existing Islandora installations to the ISLE framework. Institutions currently using CONTENTdm, Digital Commons, or other platforms are able to migrate to ISLE by using the well-documented Move to Islandora Kit (MIK). It is assumed that some institutions will have custom theming, customizations and metadata formats that, while they are preserved during ISLE updates, will need to be manually refactored during the migration to CLAW.


  • ISLE Phase I: $90,000 crowdfunded ($66,000 from 17 academic institutions; $24,000 in-kind labor from Born-Digital); exceeded original goal of $84,000.
  • ISLE Phase II: Williams College, in partnership with the Islandora Collaboration Group (ICG) and in consultation with the Islandora Foundation, has received a $153,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Islandora for All project: “Islandora for All: Extending the Open-Source Platform to Include Broad Scale Institutional Repository Appeal and High-Performance Scalability”
  • ISLE Phase III: TBD

Project Sustainability

The ISLE Steering Committee (ISC) oversees the ISLE project and the ISLE Project Maintainers maintain the project with scheduled new releases on GitHub project boards, and issue release notes. The ISC will submit the resultant development via Islandora’s Licensed Software Acceptance Procedure (LSAP). The development will then become a core part of the Islandora 7x Release (Fall 2019) and will be supported and maintained by the Islandora community as part of the free and publicly shared open-source platform. Through this LSAP method, Islandora has already adopted a large number of externally contributed modules that are sustainably maintained by community members.

ISLE Steering Committee

  • Sarah Goldstein, Mount Holyoke College
  • David Keiser-Clark (Chair), Williams College
  • Francesca Livermore, Wesleyan University
  • Mark McFate, Grinnell College
  • Ben Rosner, Barnard College
  • Mark Sandford, Colgate University

ISLE Project Maintainers

  • Ben Rosner (Lead), Barnard College
  • Mark Sandford (Lead), Colgate University
  • David Keiser-Clark, Williams College
  • Francesca Livermore, Wesleyan University
  • Shaun Trujillo, Mount Holyoke College

Former Contributors

  • Carolyn Moritz, Vassar College
  • Steve Young, Hamilton College

ISLE Funding Institutions

  • Amherst College
  • Barnard College
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Colgate University
  • Grinnell College
  • Hamilton College
  • Hampshire College
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Smith College
  • St. Lawrence University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Manitoba Libraries
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Vassar College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Williams College
  • Born-Digital
  • Islandora Foundation (Board supports ISLE; not a funder)


  • 08/2016 - [Completed] ISLE Phase I conceived with the ICG and Common Media/Born-Digital
  • 09/2016 - [Completed] ISLE presented at ICG Hack/Doc @ Wesleyan University
  • 05/2017 - [Completed] ISLE presented at Islandoracon 2017 annual conference (Hamilton, Ontario)
  • 09/2017 - [Completed] $90,000 crowdfunded from 17 academic institutions to fund ISLE Phase I
  • 09/2017 - [Completed] ISLE MVP: Opened 3-week Public Comment Period
  • 12/2017 - [Completed] Public prototype demonstration: view 5-minute video
  • 12/2017 - [Completed] Alpha Test #1: Grinnell College (lead: Mark McFate)
  • 04/2018 - [Completed] Alpha Test #2: Williams College (lead: David Keiser-Clark)
  • 03/2018 - [Completed] Alpha Test #3: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (lead: Andrea Byrne)
  • 03/2018 - [In Process] Community Alpha Test #1: University of Pittsburgh (lead: Clinton Graham)
  • 03/2018 - [Completed] Community Alpha Test #2: Hamilton College (lead: Steve Young)
  • 03/2018 - [Completed] Community Alpha Test #3: Barnard College (lead: Ben Rosner)
  • 05/2018 - [In Process] ISLE Steering Committee approved ISLE (Islandora 7x) hand-off from Born-Digital
  • 05/2018 - [Completed] ISLE v1.0 release available as open-source for public use
  • 08/2018 - [Completed] ISLE v1.1 release candidate available as open-source for public use
  • 10/2018 - [Completed] The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $153,000 grant to fund ISLE Phase II
  • 11/2018 - [Completed] ISLE v1.1 released (open-source for public use)

Docker Images and Repositories

Docker Image GitHub Repositories that comprise this stack:

Quick Start Guide


  • Docker-CE or EE
  • Docker-compose
  • Git
  • Time required < 30 minutes.
  • Windows Users: Please open the .env and uncomment COMPOSE_CONVERT_WINDOWS_PATHS=1

Quick Start

  1. Please read: ISLE Release Candidate (RC): How to Test
  2. Clone this repo
    • git clone
  3. Change directory to the cloned directory:
    • cd ISLE (by default)
  4. Pull the latest images:
    • docker-compose pull
  5. Launch the ISLE stack:
    • docker-compose up -d
  6. Please wait a few moments for the stack to fully come up. Approximately 3-5 minutes.
  7. Install Islandora on the isle-apache-ld container:
    • docker exec -it isle-apache-ld bash /utility-scripts/isle_drupal_build_tools/
  8. To wrap up testing:
    • In the folder with the docker-compose.yml docker-compose down -v (nb: the -v removes all volumes, and will delete any work. This option does not persist your data)

Quick Stop and Cleanup

If you have been testing the stack extensively you may want to prune your Docker daemon as you test.

  1. In the folder with the docker-compose.yml
    • docker-compose down -v
  • If you would like to completely clean your docker-daemon:
  1. If you have no other stopped services that you do not want pruned on Docker:
    • Note running containers are NOT pruned.
    • docker system prune --all
    • answer Y to remove all unused volumes, images, and networks.
  • OR
  1. If you cannot prune:
    • docker ps and take note of any running ISLE services:
      • docker down {list of all the running ISLE services, tab auto-complete may work} (You may add as many containers as needed in one command.)
    • docker image ls and take note of all ISLE-related images:
      • docker image rm {list of all images to be removed, tab auto-complete may work} (Again, you may add as many as needed.)
    • docker volume ls and take note of all ISLE-related volumes:
      • docker volume rm {list of all volumes to be removed, tab auto-complete may work} (Again, you may add as many as needed.)
    • docker network ls and take note of all ISLE-related networks:
      • docker network rm {list of all networks to be removed, tab auto-complete may work} (Again, you may add as many as needed.)

Important Notes, Ports, Pages and Usernames/Passwords

Portainer is a GUI for managing Docker containers. It has been built into ISLE for your convenience.
Windows Users: Please open the .env and uncomment COMPOSE_CONVERT_WINDOWS_PATHS=1
Note that both HTTP and HTTPS work Please accept the self-signed certificate for testing when using HTTPS.

Locations, Ports:

Users and Passwords

Read as username:password

Islandora (Drupal) user and pass (default):

  • isle:isle

All Tomcat services come with the default users and passwords:

  • admin:isle_admin
  • manager:isle_manager

Portainer's authentication can be configured: