Meeting Needs: New DSpace Open Source Feature Review Process

Wed, 2011-01-26 18:30 -- carol

Ithaca, NY  Many in the DSpace community are aware of the DSpace Global Outreach Committee's (DGOC) efforts over the past few years. With the guidance and support of the DuraSpace organization, the DGOC has developed several resources for the community. Most recently the launch of the monthly e-forum hosted last week by Alice Platt, was designed by DGOC member Ronee Francis. The most notably DGOC project was the expanded user registry, which provides a browse/search of the DSpace user community database based on various criteria. The DGOC has also helped to pull together some of the large DSpace user group meetings. For more about the DGOC accomplishments, you can visit their wiki page

Development Proccess Proposals
Last summer in collaboration with the DSpace Committers, the DGOC authored a proposal for a new community group that would have more direct involvement with the DSpace development process. As agreed to by the Committers, the goal of the new group would be to

1) Provide the community an opportunity to have direct input on new features in future DSpace releases

2) Provide support to the Committer group in producing releases

More information about the various proposals are available on the wiki.  

DGOC Transition
Over the past few months the DGOC has been working on behalf of the community and the Committers to design a process to facilitate the above goals. In this effort, it became clear that while the DGOC's previous activities centered around community resource development, that the biggest need in the community was helping to facilitate the development process. As a result, rather than start another seperate project group, the DGOC, in consultation with the Committers, has decided to reconstitute itself into the new group, called the DSpace Community Advisory Team (DCAT).

DCAT Begins
DCAT started this month reviewing new feature requests from the DSpace community issue/feature tracking tool, JIRA. The aim is to review all new feature requests in JIRA and facilitate community-wide discussions on those requests that appear to have the broadest appeal or would have the biggest impact for the community. Part of the goal of the community discussion is not only to solicit more feedback and gather specific requirements, but also to find project groups or stakeholders who could work on the development of the features. You can see the first few issues that have been reviewed by DCAT on the new wiki-based DSpace discussion forum. DCAT anticipates using this same wiki discussion forum for the community-wide discussions and anyone in the community should feel free to add their thoughts. Announcements and updates about the community discussions will be posted regularly to the mailing lists. The community should note that there is currently over 40 new feature requests in JIRA and it will take the DCAT several months to optimize their review process and get through the backlog.   

DCAT Membership
While all the existing DGOC members will now serve on DCAT, the group would very much welcome new members. The time commitment is minimal and most of the work can be done asynchronously via email and wiki/JIRA postings. More specifics about the member activities are on the wiki. This is a great opportunity for non-developers to get involved with the community and be a part of the development process. In an effort to represent the breadth of the world-wide DSpace community, DCAT is specifically interested in recruiting members from Europe and Asia.

New Feature Request Process
For anyone who would like to learn about how to make a new feature request and what the general process is for new feature development, please visit the wiki page that describes the process and provides helpful information and suggestions.

Feedback
As always your feedback is welcomed!  Please contact Valorie Hollister at vhollister@duraspace.org if you are interested in getting involved with DCAT or have any questions/feedback.