DSpace is a digital library system designed to provide a robust archiving and discovery platform for a library’s electronic resources. It is widely used in hundreds of institutions as their primary digital repository. Its wide adoption is a result of the well structured and layered application design and the integration of all tools necessary to get a digital repository off the ground in a simple, straightforward manner. Unlike a document management system, DSpace is designed for public delivery of documents in an open access environment.
DSpace has been developed, and is actively supported, by a consortium of university libraries. The following key elements differentiate DSpace from some other digital archives: its “out of the box” application design, its configurable workflow for submissions to the repository and its open access design.
Out of the box software
DSpace is an “out of the box” system in the sense that it allows a fast, low-cost and simple implementation of a robust digital library. All the elements necessary for operation of a typical digital library are built into the product and are available after installation.
It has an integrated, configurable, submission workflow and metadata definition framework which allows:
- Self registration by contributors - although submissions are subject to approval.
- A single or multi-stage submission process. Structured form definitions identify the supporting information (metadata) to be supplied by the person submitting the document and also any follow-on authorisation, review, additional metadata and curation that library staff must complete before an item is accepted into the repository. This includes the creation of metadata specific to particular types or collections of documents.
- Definition of structured authority lists for subject areas or other well known name/value pairs
Archive tools check the repository content nightly for integrity.
Multiple format support
DSpace supports a broad range of image, video and document formats by ensuring that files in the repository are retrieved with the appropriate content-type MIME tag. This allows web browsers to display non-HTML documents: natively in some cases or by opening them with the correct helper application.
Open access & feed architectures
The integrated full text search engine allows simple and advanced searching. Content from Word, PDF, Excel and other formats can be full-text indexed for searching.
Standard query reporting tools can interrogate the metadata in the PostgreSQL (or Oracle) database. DSpace has cross-walk tools for XML that allow content delivery through standard protocols such as OAI/PMH. Content can be delivered from a highly scalable web portal or through harvesting systems such as OAI/PMH (Open Archives Initiative/Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). In addition, the system can generate Google site maps for integration with Google. Other cross-walk definitions can be added through an extensible harvesting protocol.
Through our integration with Koha, Prosentient Systems can also provide z39.50 access to the repository content.
The system can also be configured to automatically harvest content from other systems using OAI/PMH or its batch import/ingress functions.
DSpace supports RSS and email subscription to new content reports.
DSpace is written in Java and is portable across different operating system platforms. It is scalable, supporting multiple load-balanced instances.
System requirements are:
- Java JDK 6 or later
- PostgresQL 8.1 or Oracle 9 (or later)
- Tomcat 6 or later
Development, customisation & configuration
- Apache Maven 2
The user interface can be presented through:
- JSP script-lets
- The XML-based Manakin user interface
Archiving and metadata standards
DSpace supports the following key archiving and metadata formats:
- Dublin core (and other user-configurable metadata formats)
- METS-based AIP format export
- OAO-PMH for import harvesting and export
Open to customisation and configuration
The layered application design allows front-end customisation while still allowing easy upgrade to new versions of DSpace. The user presentation level for the web interface is scalable and has several presentation options, including a set of JSP or XML-based forms for user presentation that can be customised without affecting the underlying Java-based application.
Types of customisation we have completed for our clients include:
- Single sign-on integration
- Spreadsheet bulk upload of resources
- User interface presentation design
- Alternative browsing presentation
- Wiki integration for client maintainable, extended help
Visit our gallery for screenshots of Prosentient's DSpace interface customisations.