Institutional Repositories

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Maybe I should think up snappier title headings to these blogs. Believe me, occasionally I’m sitting in the class wondering how the hell I got here. Though I should say that the quality of the training programme so far has been very high and I’m finding it very engaging. The tutors are decent, down-to-earth people with practical advice. In other news, the stats for this blog suggest that most of ITP and IRP looked at it yesterday. Tomorrow’s stats should be interesting… 😉

Basically, this was a discussion on DSpace and the OCLC. Fedora was mentioned but only briefly. That’s OK, because Fiona, Damon and I attended a conference on Fedora last year. Damon’s an expert so ask him all the questions about Fedora… The implementation of a ‘trusted repository’ is central to digital archiving and the two main course documents are the OAIS standard and the follow up document, Trusted Digital Repositories. The TDR document basically goes through all the attributes and responsibilities that an OAIS compliant have. The report defines a TDR as:

A trusted digital repository is one whose mission is to provide reliable, long-term access to managed digital resources to its designated community, now and in the future.

It’s a useful document for testing how well your institution is doing.

DSpace is a repository system that’s been developed at MIT. It’s very popular (OK, so that’s a relative term…) in the USA and some UK institutions use it too. From what I could see, it provides a customisable ‘repository out of the box’ and shares some functionality with a Content Management System.

DSpace has three preservation service levels, providing functional preservation through ‘supported’ (1) and ‘recognised’ (2) file formats and bit-level (3) preservation. I don’t think it is ‘OAIS compliant’ but clearly it follows the basic OAIS functional model of Ingest of Submission Information Packages, creation of Archival Information Packages and the creation of Dissemination Information Packages. The example we were shown worked very well for the submission and archiving of a document by an academic writer. From the Fedora conference we attended, I’d got the impression DSpace was a bit crap, but there’s some competition between the two systems so that shouldn’t be surprising. Fedora is a different animal really as it provides a suite of repository services which developers are expected to work with while DSpace is useable out of the box by people without programming skills.

OCLC, The Online Computer Library Centre provides a repository service for other institutions so is really an out-sourcing solution. Accessible over the web with OAIS-like functionality but, of course, still requires that you prepare your collection for Ingest.

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