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ActiveFedora is a Ruby gem for creating and managing objects in the Fedora Repository Architecture ( ActiveFedora is loosely based on “ActiveRecord” in Rails. Version 9.0+ works with Fedora 4 and prior versions work on Fedora 3. Version 9.2+ works with Solr 4.10.

Getting Help


The gem is hosted on rubygems.

gem install active-fedora

Getting Started

The Dive into Hydra gives you a brief tour through ActiveFedora’s features on the command line.


You can generate a model inheriting from ActiveFedora::Base.

rails generate active_fedora:model Book

Testing (this Gem)

In order to run the RSpec tests, you need to have a copy of the ActiveFedora source code, and then run bundle install in the source directory. Testing requires hydra-jetty, which contains version for Fedora and Solr. Setting up and maintaining hydra-jetty for the purposes of testing this gem is all accomplished via:

git clone
cd active_fedora   # or whatever directory your clone is in
bundle install

Using the continuous integration server

You can test ActiveFedora using the same process as our continuous integration server. To do that, unzip a copy of hydra-jetty first. This includes copies of Fedora and Solr which are used during the testing process.

The ci rake task will download solr and fedora, start them, and run the tests for you.

rake active_fedora:ci

Testing Manually

If you want to run the tests manually, follow these instructions:

solr_wrapper -d solr/config/ --collection_name hydra-test

You can switch hydra-test to hydra-dev if you want to create a collection for development.

To start FCRepo, open another shell and run:

fcrepo_wrapper -p 8984

Now you’re ready to run the tests. In the directory where active_fedora is installed, run:

rake spec

Predicate Mappings

ActiveFedora versions 2.2.1 and higher provides specialized control over the predicate mappings used by SemanticNode. In order to provide your own mappings, you must supply a predicate_mappings.yml in the same format as the config/predicate_mappings.yml file shipped with the ActiveFedora gem. Place the file in the same directory as your fedora.yml file and use the current method of initializing ActiveFedora:


If no predicate_mappings.yml file is found, ActiveFedora will use the default mappings.


Creator: Matt Zumwalt (MediaShelf)

Developers: Justin Coyne, McClain Looney & Eddie Shin (MediaShelf), Rick Johnson (Notre Dame)