NewSpace A monthly publication for the DSpace Community
Volume 1, Issue 2
|dspace.org stats:19,243 visitors, 142 countries, 65% new visitors - for January 2008|
In this issue:
Disaster Research Center
DSpace Foundation Survey
Conferences / Events
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Michele Kimpton - Executive Director
Welcome to our February edition of NewSpace!
The next DSpace release, version 1.5, is near and we need everyone?s help to make this happen. Everyone in the DSpace community has an opportunity to help us with our test-a-thon this week, February 18th-22nd and to provide input to the documentation on the DSpace Catchup Wiki. Both technical and non-technical users can go to the DSpace Test-a-thon site to help find bugs or problems with the current beta version. We'll be giving out small prizes to the most active participants in the test-a-thon. One of the best ways for individuals help test 1.5 is to get onto the test server and use DSpace the way you use your own repository (make deposits, etc.). There is also a list of specific features that need to be tested. Feedback can be entered directly onto the DSpace Test-a-thon site, although technical feedback should be provided through a SourceForge bug tracker. For interactive technical feedback, developers can of course use IRC.
For those in the community looking for DSpace seminars and/or training, there are several upcoming opportunities. We will have a DSpace User Group meeting at Open Repositories April 1-4 and there will be DSpace workshops at both the JA-SIG Conference on April 27-30 and JCDL June 16-20.
As most of you are aware, DSpace Foundation recently conducted a survey that sought ideas and perspectives from DSpace community, particularly repository managers and service providers from organizations currently running the DSpace platform. Congratulations to Kusturie Moodley of Durban University of Technology in South Africa, for winning our random drawing for the Amazon.com gift certificate.
Feedback from this survey will help shape the priorities for the foundation over the next few years. Thank you to all who took the time to provide us with your insight! The survey participation was overwhelming (see a brief summary below) and we look forward to providing the community specific details in the March edition NewSpace. We will also discuss the survey results at the DSpace User Group Meeting at OR in April and a full copy of the survey results will be posted on dspace.org shortly.
One clear message that was reinforced by the survey results is that respondents want the foundation to develop a strong network of service providers that can do installation, training, software development. We are currently working on comprehensive training plan, which will compliment materials already available and are working on putting together a qualified global network of providers. We will update you as the plan develops.
As always, if there is additional content that would be helpful to include in NewSpace, please email us at
with your suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you!
|The Disaster Research Center|
The Disaster Research Center (DRC), established in 1963, was the first social science research center in the world devoted to the study of disasters. The Center is now based at the University of Delaware. In 2005, the DRC launched a research repository as a part of the University of Delaware Library Intuitional Repository pilot program on the DSpace platform. The DRC?s resource collection contains the world's most complete collection of materials on the social and behavioral aspects of disasters ? now numbering about 55,000 items ? and is open to both interested scholars and agencies involved in emergency management. While many of the publications cannot be placed in the repository due to copyright infringement, much of the DRC?s most popular reference material is now available to the international community on-line and free of charge. DSpace Foundation recently spoke with Dr. Havid?n Rodr?guez , University of Delaware's Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and former Director of the DRC.
Why was a repository created for the Disaster Research Center?
?The Disaster Research Center is the oldest social science disaster research center internationally ? 45 years old now ? and also one of leading centers in disaster research in the world. We have one of the largest recorded resource collections ? the most extensive, the most complete ? on the social science aspect of disasters available internationally. We get a lot of scholars internationally that come to the Center just to use our resource collection and we thought it would be a wonderful idea to have our materials and references, particularly our preliminary papers which highlight the research we?ve done over the years, more widely available. We?ve tried before to develop a database that was accessible to the international community, but to tell the truth, it really wasn?t that good. When we were asked to be a part of the DSpace pilot at the University of Delaware, of course we jumped in right away. ?
What is in your DSpace repository?
?Preliminary papers, annual reports and other progress reports from our projects over the past 45 years. One of the things that people are very interested in is our preliminary papers, some of which are eventually published in journals. The preliminary papers contain a lot of information about the research we?ve conducted and our preliminary findings. We have done over 600 field studies, so there is an enormous amount of data and analysis available in our preliminary papers. Our DSpace repository allows the research in these preliminary papers to be accessible to the disaster research community.?
How do other researchers and emergency managers use your research?
?There are a variety of uses ? researchers and faculty who are interested in our research because impacts the research they are doing ? our work helps to sets the background and the context for their work. It is also extensively used by undergraduate and graduate students for their papers, thesis, dissertations etc. It is also used by the end user community ? what we call emergency managers and other people ? who are interested in learning about specific topics. For example, we have extensive number of papers on disaster warning, preparedness, mitigation and response. Emergency managers are interested in learning about individual human behavior and how organizations are prepared to respond and recover from disasters, so they use our research to get an understanding of social behavior or to develop better, more effective techniques in dealing with disasters.?
What has been the response from the disaster research community?
?Our repository has been a huge benefit to the Center and those interested in disaster research in two ways. First, it has made our research more accessible to researchers, students, and applied field practitioners who want ready access to our projects. Because the repository is on the internet and is searchable, other researchers can easily find what they need by a specific event or topic. Secondly, we?ve reduce the amount of work we do at the Center in terms of copying and mailing out our papers. We used to have a list of papers available and anyone interested would made requests through the website. Now when people contact us, we give them the URL link and they can download and print the papers for themselves. Of course, we still face a challenge for countries where internet access is limited.?
Are there any future projects planned for the Center?
?One of the unique things about the Disaster Research Center is that we engage in quick response research soon after an event occurs ? like 9/11 or Katerina. We send research teams and interview people, organization leaders, emergency managers, government officials, non-government agencies, so we have extensive data and surveys on how people and organizations prepare, respond and recover from disastrous events. We?d like to set up a repository so that all that research data ? both quantitative and qualitative ? is available to the international community of researchers. This is an enormous amount of data to manage and the effort will be further complicated because in some cases we need to protect anonymity of individuals who have provided us with information. We do believe that this data would be very helpful to other researchers and we?d like to become an international repository on for this type of disaster research.?
Mark R. Diggory on Maven
DSpace Foundation recently spoke with one of the key contributors on the reorganization of the DSpace code-base and the migration to Maven, Mark Diggory. Mark is a DSpace Committer and a Systems Manager at Massachusetts Institute of Technologies Libraries.
What is Maven?
Software project teams need to have a consistent way to build, test, and deploy a piece of software. Maven is a build tool that enforces standard conventions on software development projects. These conventions fall into three areas of a software project; project organization, development lifecycle and product distribution. In addition to requiring that the project source is organized in a consistent way, Maven also identifies the necessary development lifecycle, providing commands for most basic tasks required to build the project?s resulting release distribution. Maven also provides a dependency resolution mechanism so that we can deploy our release distributions to the community at large while also allowing the project to be reused in the dependencies of other projects.
Why does DSpace need Maven or a tool like it?
As different organizations stretch DSpace in very different directions, DSpace needs a tool like Maven because the project has just grown too big to be managed as one monolithic codebase. Additionally, as DSpace evolves the dependencies that are required to run it change as well. Managing changes in these dependencies requires greater and more configurable controls than have been previously employed. Maven provides a solution for both of these capabilities pretty much ?off the shelf?.
Why is the modular development of DSpace important?
Further satisfying the variety of needs in the community is impossible without some form of modularity. Developer proposals to resolve this have evolved in the community over the past few years. Some of the original ideas around making DSpace modular were employed in an add-on prototype that Richard Jones proposed in 2006. The hope of Richard and the rest of the developer community is that by dividing up DSpace into smaller modules of code, different groups will be able to take the modules they need to assemble their customized solution without having to modify the code that is actually in those modules internally.
How does Maven help developers with the modular development of DSpace?
Maven helps us tackle the issue of scalability within the DSpace community. We have a lot of code contributions coming in from different groups. The historical approach is that developers submit patches to the source code in an issue tracker. The difficultly is that those patches quickly get out of date with the current development track and require considerable time from committers to evaluate and resolve how they will integrate into DSpace. DSpace committers would like to greatly reduce the amount of ?patching? on this core codebase. Instead, committers would rather see an infrastructure where customizations can be maintained in a decentralized manner by the developers that have a stake in their success.
Maven also allows us to section up the code base and focus on making the core of DSpace much more of an API (Application Program Interface) on which various services can be written. Modules can take advantage of those APIs and in doing so we can separate the new enhancements much more cleanly from the functionality that we consider the core of the DSpace application. This does not mean new functionality is any less valuable than the core application. In fact, we are attempting to make it so that the core application is simply just a service the connects such functionalities together in a way that is much more scalable and extensible, while still retaining a stable and predictable application.
Probably of most interest to the general DSpace community, is that Maven allows us to separate the development and management of add-ons from the core code base, and this means DSpace instances can take them or leave them during installation. Your installation of DSpace will contain only the parts you wish to have running on it.
Who will use or see Maven?
Developers and System Managers who install, modify and customize DSpace for their institutions. Your DSpace user base will not be exposed to Maven just as they were never exposed to the previous build tool, Apache Ant.
Is there anything current DSpace instances need to do to prepare for Maven?
If you have made any customizations, you should have a clear idea of what they are, where they are located in the code and good documentation on the changes that were made. Included in the release 1.5 will be documentation on how to migrate changes from 1.4 to 1.5, but you will need to know where changes are in order to migrate them.
Also, it would be helpful to know the full scope of how institutions are customizing DSpace. If your institution would be willing to document those changes and make them available to the developer community it would help ensure that 1.4 to 1.5 migration documentation will adequately meet most use cases.
Do you have any advice for the DSpace community?
DSpace will continue to be improved upon based on the requirements determined to be most important to the community. There is much planned for the future of DSpace with the new drive to implement the results of the 2.0 architectural review. I want to reinforce that DSpace is not only an Open Source project, but also an ?Open Community?. We welcome the community?s involvement in the process at any level. We are very open to feedback and it ultimately drives the direction DSpace takes as a project.
|A community survey was conducted January 28th - February 11th. The survey was sent to 1,913 people on the DSpace community LISTSERV. Participation in the survey was overwhelming, with 327 respondents or 17% of the community. There was lots of feedback on the future development of the DSpace platform and for 2.0 in particular. 90% of respondents said that DSpace 2.0 is important to the long-term plans of their repositories, with 35% indicating that it was ?Extremely Important?. We will provide a summary in the March edition of NewSpace and the entire survey results will be posted on dspace.org shortly.
||April 1 - 4: Open Repositories Conference 2008/DSpace User Group|
April 28 - 30: JA-SIG Higher Education Solutions/DSpace Workshop
June 16 - 20: Joint Conference on Digital Libraries/DSpace Workshop
If you can not attend OR2008 please consider JA-SIG. This will be an excellent opportunity for the DSpace community to get together in the USA and compare best practices and roadblocks with other developers and managers using open source software in higher education. Please consider presenting on the success or lessons learned regarding your projects. Click here to submit your proposal.