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January 17, 2006

Technical Criteria for Open Access Repository Software Analyzed

Andy Powell, Notes about possible technical criteria for evaluating institutional repository (IR) software, UKOLN, December 2005. Excerpt by Peter Suber (OA News Blog, 13 January 2006):

"This document attempts to identify some of the technical criteria that might be used to evaluate the different institutional repository (IR) software platform options, particularly in terms of the ‘machine’ interfaces that the repository offers. The list of issues is not intended to be exhaustive, and the approach is based on the assumption that other, non-technical, criteria such as usability and configurabilty have already received detailed consideration in other documents....Three of the most popular IR software platforms are DSpace, ePrints.org and Fedora (though there are others of course). Trying to compare these three is a little like comparing apples and oranges. DSpace is a Java-servlet application that runs under Apache Tomcat. EPrints.org is written in Perl and typically runs under Apache, using mod-perl to improve performance. Both applications provide the basis for an IR ‘out of the box’, including an end-user Web interface and so on. Both offer similar functionality to the end-user. Fedora on the other hand is more like a software toolkit. It provides the underlying IR framework, but requires custom development of a user-interface, either by layering an existing suite of user-interface tools on top of the Fedora APIs, or by building from scratch. Any decision about which IR software platform to choose must be based not only on the technical and functional capabilities of the system but also in determining best fit with organisational IT strategy and with the availability of local software development effort. However, as a way of helping with that decision making process, it may be sensible to ask the developers of these software platforms to respond to the issues raised in the sections below. Some potential questions are suggested in each section."

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