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November 30, 2006

Verdict on DSpace Repository Platform: DSpace Has Problems

Stevan Chabot, The DSpace Digital Repository: A Project Analysis, Subject/Object, November 9, 2006. Excerpt by Open Access News Blog:

"...[T]here are some problems with DSpace. In the first place, the software is open source. While this does come with its own benefits, it also comes with its own problems. Commercial support for the software does not exist at this time, neither for installation nor for later technical issues. Libraries used to working with commercial software or ILS vendors may find implementation difficult. Furthermore, some who have previously implemented the software have had problems with performance while updating files and with the structure of the communities...

The major difficulty we have found is with DSpace’s handling of metadata. While we feel that the number of fields in Dublin Core is adequate for most if not all uses (DCMI Usage Board 2006), we are troubled by the lack of authority control when completing its fields....

Despite this fault, we do find that DSpace has many positive aspects. We find it to be an amazingly flexible and robust system which would be ready to handle almost any university’s needs right out of the box. It has the flexibility to handle all types of documents and methods of research, as well as the simplicity to encourage non-technical users towards the Open Access (OA) of scholarly research. We also feel that, given Smith’s intentions as cited above, the system would be an ready for a university to experiment in self-publishing even a part of its faculty’s research. Furthermore, while open source can have its drawbacks, it has some definite benefits. The software itself is customizable from the ground up....

It is the goal of the developer’s of DSpace to make the collection, preservation, indexing and distribution of digital research objects simple (Smith, 2003), to the extent that it encourages researches to self-archive their own work. Despite a few drawbacks that we have noted, particularly with the lack of control over metadata, DSpace is an excellent digital repository system supported by an active community of both users and developers. Given DSpace’s flexibility to archive any type of digital object and deal with any model of research within a department or other research community, it is a highly recommended system which can only improve with further development. This flexibility is increased by the fact that DSpace is open source..."

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