DSpace is an institutional repository system which enables easy deposit, preservation, and access for all types of digital content.
Licensing and cost
BSD Open Source License - free
DSpace 1.8.1 was released in December 2011. Development is ongoing. In late 2011 the DSpace Community Advisory Team decided to forgo releasing a version 2.0; instead, version 3.0 will be released in Fall 2012.
Platform and interoperability
DSpace is written in Java, providing a web based interface that can be installed in Linux, Mac OSX or Windows environments. It requires either a PostgreSQL or Oracle database. The software comes with plugins for most university authentication methods, including: LDAP (and hierarchical LDAP), Shibboleth, X.509, and IP-based.
The DSpace data model is intended to reflect the structure of the organization using the system. Each DSpace site is divided into communities, which can be further divided into sub-communities reflecting the typical university structure of college, department, research centre, or laboratory. Communities contain collections, which are groupings of related content. Each collection is composed of items, which are the basic archival elements of the archive. Items are further subdivided into named bundles of bitstreams. Workflows are unidirectional – e.g. an item can’t move from Live to Pending. DSpace administrators can create multiple user roles, which allows for extremely fine-tuned access rights.
Documentation and user support
DSpace offers a wealth of documentation and user support. The website includes an extensive Documentation Wiki, and supports a number of mailing lists. Users can report and track errors through a JIRA system. The site also links to tutorials, how-to’s, and other training materials. As of 2011, there are seven registered service providers and 22 non-registered providers, offering presumably fee-based support . DSpace also has an Ambassador Program, which attempts to identify a DSpace user in every country or region who is willing to volunteer to be a point of contact for organizations just getting started.
DSpace does not include an installation and configuration tool, or ‘wizard,’ which makes these processes time consuming and challenging for users without system administration training. A number of organisations using DSpace have performed usability analyses of their repositories. While the overall structure works well, many organisations found that naming conventions were sometimes confusing for users. In addition, many users expected that the search mechanism would automatically include a Boolean AND, which is not the case.
Installation and configuration greatly benefit from system administration knowledge, as well as a deep understanding of repository structures and workflows.
DSpace supports OAI-PMH, OAI-ORE, SWORD, SWORD2, WebDAV, OpenSearch, OpenURL, RSS, and ATOM. DSpace metadata uses the Dublin Core standard.
Influence and take-up
As of 2011, over 1100 organizations currently use the DSpace software in a production or project environment. A full list of known DSpace instances can be found at http://www.dspace.org/whos-using-dspace.