Why Tenejo

Tenejo is DCE’s hosted digital repository software. Initially, we’re focusing on Special Collections needs and use cases. For more than a decade, we have worked with university libraries and cultural heritage institutions to build their digital repositories. Because proprietary software solutions don’t always fit their needs, many institutions want to implement an open source solution and manage their repository in-house.

The barriers to adopting and managing open source software solutions can be high. We have received many inquiries from institutions who want a simpler way to make their born digital or digitized content discoverable and accessible online. Tenejo provides an open-source, sustainable solution without the need for dedicated in-house IT and development teams.

We work within an open source framework, leveraging the benefits of community-driven software. Because of the complex nature of the software and that it has to appeal to varying interests, institutions ask us to customize and implement the software to fit their needs. This creates software implementations that need special handling when it comes to managing and updating.

Out of the box, the platform incorporates functionality to fit the varying needs of the contributing institutions. We have found that the needs of institutional and special collection repository managers are different in many ways. Having worked with both, we saw the need for a repository solution geared toward one or the other. We decided to focus on features that encompass the unique requirements for Special Collections repositories. Offering a hosted solution helps break down the barriers for many institutions and allows us to help more people.

We talked to many institutions to identify and understand their pain points in order to help solve their biggest problems.

PROBLEM: Lack of in-house technical staff

The Samvera software stack that Hyrax and Tenejo use, as robust as it is, has a fair amount of complexity which requires a dedicated technical team with domain expertise to implement and manage. Not only is hiring development staff difficult and time-consuming, there is a lot of competition for good developers.

Retaining staff is another challenge. And when staff turns over, often the domain knowledge goes with them. We’ve seen projects that are at risk or fail because teams are left without the expert who implemented a solution.

And more often than not, having a good technical team isn’t always enough. Technical staff is often simply stretched too thin to take on large-scale projects. They are tasked with keeping multiple software systems running simultaneously, while servicing the needs of many stakeholders and departments.

Tenejo eliminates the reliance on domain knowledge, IT and development staff. We are dedicated to keeping the infrastructure and software up to date and secure. We monitor uptime to keep your instance up and running and performant. And we handle cloud storage and complicated billing – so you don’t have to.

PROBLEM: Strained budgets

We’ve done the math - we propose there is a net cost savings for having us host your content - when salary, payroll costs, professional development and employee benefits are taken into consideration. With an annual subscription that is well below the cost to hire and manage expensive staff, Tenejo can deliver a repository solution that fits into your budget.

PROBLEM: Slow feature development/bug fixes

Another pain point is that repository managers can be left waiting for features to be developed or long standing bugs to be fixed. Often with open source, it can be a long wait. We have heard some stories of arduous and time-consuming work-arounds that repository managers and developers endure on the regular.

We believe repository managers should have the luxury of putting their time and effort into managing their content - not the technology. We have the experience and capacity to focus on feature development to keep the software relevant and sustainable. When something bugs us… we know it’ll bug our customers. We are empathetic (and… a little selfish) – so when we don’t like something - we call it out and we fix it. Sure, we have a backlog. And we constantly review our roadmap and prioritize the highest value work.

PROBLEM: Vendor lock-in

Institutions are eager to adopt open source for many reasons. One such reason customers have come to us, is because the proprietary platform they are on is at the end of life and there is no clear path for them to retrieve their content. For others, the platform was acquired or went in unexpected directions and they feel locked in. With Tenejo, you maintain full rights and access to your content. No vendor lock-in.

PROBLEM: Getting stakeholder buy-in

Getting everyone on board with anything new can be a challenge. Stakeholders have seen many initiatives whither or flat-out fail. So, they enter with caution. With Tenejo, and some of the benefits discussed, you’ll have a good story to tell. And you’ll have something shiny to show your stakeholders early in the process. Tenejo can get your repository up and running right away. And you’ll have an easily navigable public UI to show off your content with a great search experience and beautiful image display with pan and zoom. And much more – which we’ll highlight in future posts.

When asked what the best thing about us hosting their repository was, a customer stated simply - “I don’t have to worry about it.” … And that – is what it’s all about.


We have talked to many people about pain points and barriers to getting their digital repository up and running and keeping it maintained. Keeping in mind unique Special Collections repository requirements, lack of or strained technical staff and institutional budgets, Tenejo offers a simpler, better, and more cost-effective path.

Are you interested to learn more about Tenejo? Let's chat. Check out the links below or shoot me an email.