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DSPACE USERS: Feedback Requested on Next User Interface for DSpace

From Tim Donohue, DSpace Tech Lead

You may recall, in late 2015, we held a DSpace User Interface (UI) Prototype Challenge. From our amazing developer community, we received a total of nine UI prototype submissions, using a variety of technologies (e.g. Java web frameworks, client side Javascript, Ruby on Rails).

Video demos of UI prototypes/technologies

In January and early February, each of the developers (or teams) who submitted a UI prototype demoed their work to our DSpace UI Working Group [1] and Committers [2]. These presentations consisted of a demonstration/walkthrough of the prototype's technology/features (30 minutes), followed by general Q&A/discussion with attendees (30 minutes). All sessions were recorded and have been made available at:

Public feedback on UI prototypes/technologies

As of this week (Feb 8), we've begun the formal evaluation phase of these UI technologies/prototypes.  To ensure all the voices in our DSpace community are heard, we'd like to offer each of you the opportunity to provide your institution's feedback into this evaluation process. To this end, we've created a public evaluation form where we are asking you to enter your thoughts or feedback on any of the proposed technologies/platforms demonstrated in any of these prototypes.

Public Evaluation Form:

Please add your feedback to the Evaluation Form!

The Evaluation Form has several tabs (sections), and you and your institution can provide as much or as little feedback as you desire. Minimally, we recommend providing higher level thoughts/comments on the "Technology Feedback" tab. Anonymous feedback is also welcome (though we'd prefer if you add your name/institution, in case we have followup questions).

  • The "Overview" tab summarizes the evaluation form, and provides the timelines for making a decision on a new UI platform (those timelines have been copied below for your reference).
  • The "Technology Feedback" tab provides general (summary-level) questions, which relate to the common themes/technologies presented in these prototypes. This tab gives you an opportunity to comment on things like the new UI technology (Java, client-side Javascript, Ruby on Rails, etc) and higher level design choices.
  • Following these two tabs, we have a single tab per UI Prototype, which provides the opportunity to comment on specific prototype ideas/concepts/technologies:
    • At the top of each prototype tab is a "Public Comments" section which is meant to collect any public, subjective thoughts on the prototype's technologies as a whole.
    • Below that is a "Criteria Scoring / Discussion" section, which the UI Working Group has been using to begin to "score" each prototype. You are welcome to provide your own feedback/scores to this section as well.

As our community is so large and widespread, if possible, we'd recommend having only one person enter feedback per institution/university. We encourage you to discuss this within your institution (and with any technology staff you have supporting your DSpace installation).

Any feedback entered into the Evaluation Form will be passed along to our DSpace Steering Group and Leadership Groups when the final decision is made. Therefore, if there's anything you want them (and us) to consider during this process, please ensure it is entered in the Evaluation Form.

Evaluation Timeline/Schedule

Our timeline for deciding on a UI platform is ambitious, so we'd ask that you try to add your initial feedback as soon as you can (you are welcome to enhance it later as needed).

  • Week of Feb 8-12:  Begin collecting oral and written feedback on prototypes, focusing on "Advantages, Concerns & Questions"
  • Week of Feb 15-19: Resolve pressing questions. Select a shortlist of 2-3 architectures for consideration. 
  • Week of Feb 22-26: Select no more than 2 finalist architectures, which might include combinations of technologies from the various prototypes
  • Week of Feb 29-March 4: Select an architecture for recommendation; validate it against our criteria (see evaluation form)
  • March 16-17: Presentation of recommended architecture to DSpace Steering & Leadership groups at the DuraSpace Summit Meeting for their feedback and/or approval.

Per the DSpace RoadMap [3], once the final decision is made, the new User Interface will be developed and released in DSpace 7.0 (likely in 2017).  This new UI will replace the existing XMLUI and JSPUI interfaces as the single, out-of-the-box DSpace User Interface.


If you have questions or concerns during this process, please don't hesitate to ask them on the mailing lists, and we'll ensure they get answered.  We are trying to keep this decision process as transparent as we can. You are also welcome to keep an eye on the wiki page (linked above) and Evaluation Form in the coming weeks, as we'll be keeping them as up-to-date as possible as we narrow down the list of choices.

Thanks for your time and your feedback!

[1] DSpace UI Working Group:
[2] DSpace Committers:
[3] DSpace RoadMap: