Frequently Asked Questions
A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the DuraSpace organization, open technologies, open source development process, community and help and support services.
DuraSpace open technologies power more than 1,200 repository implementations in over 90 countries worldwide that house a wide variety of significant digital resources of all kinds. DuraSpace hosts registries on the DSpace and Fedora web sites to help users discover more about who is using our software and what they are using it for:
The following types of organizations are key DSpace and Fedora users:
- University Libraries: University Libraries have shown notable interest in DuraCloud as a replication solution, and are especially intrigued with the integration of DSpace and Fedora repositories with DuraCloud. The scenario presents libraries with a solution that creates a hybrid architecture including institutional systems and the cloud.
- University IT: The opportunity is ripe to target DuraCloud at University IT organizations. We have given several presentations to University CIOs, which have generated interest in the DuraCloud proposition. There are also early discussions about a possible pilot with Microsoft, DuraCloud, and University CIO organizations. We currently have engaged the Thanos partners to do market research by interviewing key University CIOs on their needs and reactions to DuraCloud. Preliminary data from Thanos indicates that University CIOs report being out capacity and are looking for secondary storage solutions for low risk content. Also, CIOs are validating the need for brokers to cloud solutions (like DuraCloud).
- Pubic Broadcasting: We have been exploring a DuraCloud pilot with WGBH and have gleaned from our discussions with them that the public broadcasting community, in general, is interested in open source and may be a market opportunity for DuraCloud. We will further explore this market area.
- Not-for-Profit Organizations: We believe DuraCloud will be attractive to a variety of small institutions and not-for-profit organizations that are constrained both in IT infrastructure and staff. Particularly for institutions that are aware of the need to address digital preservation in some form, DuraCloud can provide an "instant infrastructure" at low cost, and services that they would not have resources to develop themselves. We will further explore this market area.
- Government: In terms of our new DuraCloud product, we are looking to both serve our existing markets and to expand our market into new sectors. There are news reports about the Obama administration directing funds for government agencies using the cloud. We have already had inquiries from government organizations, including NASA's Goddard Space Center, suggesting that there may be opportunities in markets that we have not yet explored.
- Public Institutions of Knowledge: interestingly, our first two pilot partners are not with universities but with public institutions. NYPL and BHL (Smithsonian and Missouri Botanical Gardens) have shown particularly high enthusiasm and interest in innovation with the cloud.
Those 1,200 repository implementations, however, only account for just 3% of the total yearly downloads of DSpace and Fedora. Corporations, consultants and independent IT contractors also download and use DSpace and Fedora software.
As indicated in DuraSpace's Articles of Incorporation, the objective of DuraSpace is to benefit the public directly through the creation and deployment of open source software and services aimed at supporting scholarly communication and scientific research, improving the quality of education, promoting free and open access to the latest scientific discoveries and intellectual perspectives, and helping to ensure the longevity of our digital history.
Individuals can find out how to be a contributor and, or committ code for the DSpace or Fedora Open Source projects here:
You may also decide to participate with a global network of colleagues to tackle the challenges of key areas that DuraSpace suports by joining a DuraSpace Community Group.
Help and Support Services
DuraSpace offers periodic web seminar series with partners Oracle, PASIG, SPARC, BPress and ePrints. Subscribe to the DuraSpace news blog to receive web seminar updates. Previously recorded web seminars are also available.
Various independent service providers also offer private and independent training and instruction for DSpace and, or Fedora. More information is avaialable directly from service providers:
DSpace and Fedora User Group meetings are held several times each year in locations around the world. These events are community-sponsored, and convened with the purpose of providing users and developers in a particular region with updates and networking opportunities regarding software implementation in local communities. Subscribe to the DuraSpace news blog to receive user group meeting updates.
The DSpace and Fedora communities host lively discussion lists where subscribers both ask and answer specific implementation questions on a daily basis. By joining the DSpace and Fedora mail lists, wikis and by subscribing to RSS news feeds and following DuraSpace on twitter you can take part in this open exchange of knowledge, expertise and opportunity.
Open Source Development Process
DuraSpace's role is to provide leadership to ensure the health of the processes that support our open source projects modeled on the Apache Software process as a best practice. Developing open-source software with a community-based process requires dedicated effort by both developers and users. The DuraSpace organization provides coordination, tools and services for community contributors who are working for institutions that are committed to collaboration towards shared benefits for all.
Open source projects give direct access to the code used to produce the software. This permits adopters - or third parties with whom they contract - to audit, rebuild, extend, and support the software without a direct dependency on the original authors, or any specific organization. In most cases this results in an ecosystem around the project which creates a robust solution.
Over the years, (institutional) repositories and content management systems (CMS) have seen a great amount of feature overlap. However, both systems remain distinct in their underlying purposes and the needs they fulfill.
Although this is a generalization, repositories and content management systems tend to differ in the following ways:
Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Generally speaking, a CMS may be thought of as a digital content creation & publication system
- Geared towards content creation / production and online publication
- Geared towards collaborative creation/modification of content
- Geared towards general usage (used for any general digital content)
- May also be geared towards building websites and creating content for the web
- Generally speaking, a Repository may be thought of as a digital "archives" system
- Geared towards long-term storage, digital preservation and accessibility of completed content
- Geared towards ensuring and maintaining provenance of completed or published content
- Primarily used for scholarly and/or published content (though may be used for general content as well)
- Tends to also follow latest library/archival best practices (around metadata, preservation, persistent URLs, etc.)
There are scenarios where one may wish to choose either a CMS or a Repository:
Some general benefits of a Content Management System:
- More conducive to collaborative creation of content/documents
- Often better for highly dynamic content ("living documents")
- Often better for building websites (which by nature are rapidly changing / evolving)
Some general benefits of a Repository:
- Often provides more digital preservation tools or integrations with such tools (e.g. file format validation/verification, integrity checking, integrations with Antivirus software, etc.)
- Often provides persistent URLs (Handles, DOIs and/or PURLs) for all digital content to help ensure long term access
- Tends to follow latest library and archives best practices around metadata (e.g. Dublin Core, MODS, METS, etc.), digital preservation (e.g. OAIS, TRAC, PREMIS, etc.), and interoperability (e.g. OAI-PMH, SWORD protocol, OAI-ORE, etc.)
- Often better at long term preservation & access of finished/published documents
It is worth noting that choosing a CMS or a repository is not necessarily an "either/or" option. Based on your local needs, you may wish to use both systems in your document creation and preservation workflow. For example, a CMS may be used to collaboratively create your digital content. Once the digital content is completed, it may be archived/preserved within a repository. Alternatively, your CMS may wish to pull archived content from an external repository in order to allow for content reuse/remix, or to simply expose your archived content through the same interface as your dynamic/collaborative content. Many popular Content Management Systems provide modules or add-ons that allow them to integrate directly into popular repository platforms.
Some examples of using a Repository with a CMS:
- Islandora is built on the Drupal CMS platform and stores its content in a Fedora Repository
- Drupal's DSpace module allows one to pull DSpace repository content/metadata into a Drupal CMS
- Joomla's DSpace module (J-CAR) allows one to pull DSpace repository content/metadata into a Joomla CMS
Additional Points of View:
- "Alternatives to Repositories", published by JISC infoNet
DuraCloud is an independent cloud-based service focused on preservation and access services that are complementary to DSpace and Fedora. DuraCloud is integrated with DSpace and Fedora repositories to provide replication of local content to the cloud. In the future, DSpace and Fedora will most likely be offered as a hosted service within the DuraCloud platform.
For some time there has been interest expressed among DuraSpace communities in having Fedora act as either a robust storage layer or archive layer behind the DSpace application while maintaining the out-of-the-box DSpace experience including workflows, and look and feel. There is work underway than may eventually enable the option to run the DSpace application on top of a Fedora repository. To achieve this requires a series of developments:
- A way to extract the items from DSpace's current internal store, along with all of their relationships (communities, collections, and Epeople). DuraSpace is currently developing this as a general, roundtripping AIP capability for DSpace.
- An implementation of the DSpace data model using the Fedora repository. There is prior art (which would need to be updated) for this from 2008 and 2009.
- A conversion, crosswalking, or import utility for the above two items. There is neither a schedule nor a committment for this yet.
- Designing an integration of the DSpace business logic, User authentication and authorization with Fedora. This is no schedule or committment for this yet.
- Porting the DSpace user, administrative, and web services interface applications to run against the resulting environment. There is no schedule or committment for this yet.
Not all of these steps need to be complete for some models of operation involving running DSpace and Fedora as distinct, cooperating applications.
Also see DSpace-Fedora Integration FAQ for a more DSpace-specific Integration FAQ.
DuraCloud is a hosted service and open technology that enables organizations and end users to use cloud services. It is a cloud-based service that leverages existing cloud infrastructure to enable durability and access to digital content. The service is particularly focused on meeting requirements for academic, scientific, and cultural heritage. DuraCloud leaves the basics of pure storage to those who do it best (storage providers) and overlays storage solutions with additional functionality that is essential to ensuring long-term access and ease of use. DuraCloud offers cloud storage, plus replication of content across multiple providers. Once digital content is stored in the cloud, compute services are the key to unlocking its value. DuraCloud provides services that enable digital preservation, data access, transformation, and data sharing. DuraCloud offers customers an elastic capacity with a "pay as you go" approach. It is appropriate for individuals, single institutions, or for multiple organizations that want to make use of cross-institutional infrastructure. DuraCloud has been in a pilot phase during Fall 2009. Plans are to release DuraCloud as a service hosted by the DuraSpace not-for-profit organization in Summer 2011.
Fedora is a robust, modular repository system for the management and dissemination of digital content. It is especially suited for digital libraries and archives, both for access and preservation. It is also used to provide specialized access to very large and complex digital collections of historic and cultural materials as well as scientific data. Fedora's flexibility enables it to integrate gracefully with many types of enterprise and web-based systems, offering scalability (e.g., millions of objects) and durability (e.g., all of the information is maintained in files with no software dependency, from which the complete repository can be rebuilt at any time). It also provides the ability to express rich sets of relationships among digital resources and to query the repository using the semantic web's SPARQL query language. Fedora has a worldwide installed user base that includes academic and cultural heritage organizations, universities, research institutions, university libraries, national libraries, and government agencies.
DSpace is a turnkey institutional repository application. Globally, it is the most widely-used open source repository software with over 1,000 known installations in over 90 countries. Out-of-the-box, DSpace is primarily used for the creation of institutional repositories and open access repositories. DSpace is installed by organizations, especially libraries, as a way to provide access to research output, scholarly publications, library collections, and more. DSpace stores any type of content (text, image, audio, video) and offers built-in workflows for content submission and review. The DSpace application provides many features and tools for managing digital content and enabling digital preservation. Organizations can easily make their digital collections available on the Web using DSpace's customizable end user interfaces along with many community-developed features and utilities.
There are several ways to support the DuraSpace organization. Please consider providing financial support through the DuraSpace Sponsorship Program. Contributions of code and community expertise to DuraSpace open source projects are encouraged. Find out how to get involved by contributing your time and skills here: Fedora Developers; DSpace Developers. Being involved in, or organizing a new Solution Community is also a great way to work with other community members on new strategies, requirements and initiatives around areas of mutual interest.
The organization has a Board of Directors with deep connections to library, industry, higher education and open knowledge communities. The Board works with the executive team consisting of the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, and Chief Technology Officer to execute the organization's strategy and business models. The Directors for Marketing, Communications and Community Programs provide leadership, services and information to support DuraSpace programs and communities. From a technology perspective, DuraSpace provides technical leadership and coordination for each open source repository project (DSpace and Fedora) as well as for new and emerging technologies (e.g., DuraCloud).
DuraSpace is funded through multiple types of financial and in-kind contributions from a variety of sources, sponsors and individuals which include community contributions and partner sponsorships at three levels, corporate sponsorship, foundation support through grants, and revenues from services.
We provide leadership to inspire community-driven projecs that have resulted in exciting innovations and the continuous growth of Fedora and DSpace. With deep experience in the open source software developement process, DuraSpace Solution Communities engage technically-aware managers, technical practitioners and their organizations in the open source process to define the mission for software development as well as in strategies for its successful completion. DuraSpace also continues to develop cutting-edge technologies, such as DuraCloud, to help organizations take advantage of cloud-based services that support digital preservation, archiving, and data curation.
DuraSpace is committed to providing leadership and innovation in the development and deployment of open technologies that promote durable, persistent access to digital data. We collaborate with academic, scientific, cultural, and technology communities in creating practical solutions to help ensure that current and future generations have digital access to our collective heritage.
DuraSpace is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. DuraSpace software and services are used worldwide as solutions for open access, institutional repositories, digital libraries, digital archives, data curation, virtual research environments, and more. DuraSpace provides leadership and innovation in the use of open source and cloud-based technologies to serve libraries, universities, research centers, cultural heritage institutions, and other knowledge stewards. The organization's open source technology portfolio includes the DSpace open access repository application and the Fedora open repository platform. DuraSpace is the home of the DuraCloud project, a new technology and hosted service that leverages existing cloud infrastructure to enable durability and access to digital content. The DuraSpace team includes recognized leaders and experts in the management of digital information. The team works with an active and diverse international community committed to the durability of digital resources.
The DuraSpace technology portfolio inherently addresses the issue of durability of digital content. Our values are expressed in our organizational byline, "open technologies for durable digital content."