What is Dspace? Is Dspace taking over the world of Electronic Digital Records Management? What Makes Dspace Rock? What does Dspace have to offer beyond the normal digital archiving service? What does it take to have Dspace up and running?
These are some of the questions i will try to answer basing on my short experience with Dspace.
When you want to build an effective open digital repository, you want a system that first will allow you to quickly upload digital items, while checking for possible problems with file size and encoding. You want a system that will allow you to easily and quickly identify key descriptors for the purpose of indexing and retrieval; an elaborate metadata schema yet simple to grasp and populate.
But this is just a tip of the iceberg. A good digital assets management system should have a work-flow to facilitate evaluation of assets and metadata before they are committed to the archive. There are myriad reasons why an organization should want to use a work-flow managed system: Ensure compliance to internal external policies and legislation; gate-keep and keep-off offensive materials and those that do not qualify for archiving purposes, among other reasons.
If a digital assets management system implements full-text indexing, then that’s a big plus. I consider a Document Management system that can manage records retention and disposal scheduling, as ideal. It is at this point i think the introduction of ’embargo’ in dspace has opened the gap between Dspace and other digital archiving systems.
You get the basics right, and the rest will just fall-in. Basically, a DMS is supposed to MANAGE electronic records, enable ACCESS to the digital assets, allow SHARING and TEAM-WORKing and finally PRESERVE these assets, sometimes for posterity. Digital preservation is a headache, and if you have been in this business for a while you know what i mean. There is the sudden and largely unforeseen changes in file formats encoding, hardware obsolescence and data carrier device degradation, we really have enough problems here. But this is a story for another day.
Of all the Document Management systems i have dealt with, only EPrints and Dspace are really worth comparing. Not because, both systems are open-source, but both are robust and high-end systems that adhere religiously to file-management, description and sharing standards i.e metadata standards.
I closely evaluated DSPACE and EPrints. My conclusion is that Dspace rocks. Here is why:
1. Dspace utilizes two themes for web accessibility. XMLUI and JSPUI. Developers will particularly love the simplicity of developing new themes on Dspace compared to EPrints. Themes can be extensively customized, and because Dspace adheres to all HTML/XHTML standards, you will be able to achieve a consistent great look and feel for your repository front-end.
(I will finish this when i get time soon 😉 i hope i will.)