DSpace or Fedora: Which One Should I Choose?
DSpace and Fedora are both mature repository open source software solutions. We are often asked how to choose between them. Your particular requirements will determine which solution is the best choice for you, but here are some considerations to start out with.
DSpace is a turnkey repository application. It may be deployed “out-of-the-box” as an institutional repository. The majority of DSpace users do little to no customization of the application beyond adding local branding. DSpace’s built-in structure—based on the concepts of “communities” and their “collections” of items—consists of a pre-determined hierarchy that allows you to organize your content easily. DSpace provides a internal metadata schema (based on Qualified Dublin Core) for describing your content, and allows you to add your own local or custom qualified metadata schemas.
DSpace also includes a variety of preservation and management tools and a simple workflow for uploading, approving, and making content available via the web. It is well suited for most institutional repository or digital collection uses cases, including the management of campus research, pre-published and published articles, presentations and white papers, theses, dissertations and a variety of other use cases. The majority of DSpace users do little to no customization of the application beyond adding local branding.
Fedora is a flexible framework for building data repositories. The key words here are “flexible” and “build”. Fedora does not present users with a finished application out-of-the-box. Most institutions that implement Fedora develop their own user-facing application on top or customize a pre-existing application designed to work with Fedora, such as Islandora or Libra, a variant of Hydra. Fedora permits users to construct simple to complex object models representing any number of unique use cases for data preservation and archiving.
Fedora instances are diverse and their contents range from financial and scientific data to published works, records management, technical data, and other areas of digital asset management. Fedora’s greater flexibility carries with it the expectation that users will invest more up front effort in creating specialized object models and applications.
Users may obtain professional assistance and hosting for DSpace or Fedora from a number of Registered Service Providers.
This is a high level, simplified overview comparison. Of course, there are many other factors you will want to consider when making a repository selection. Both the DSpace and the Fedora communities will gladly respond to your detailed questions on our mailing lists.