JCDL 2006 Conference Notes



Day 1 – DSpace Tutorial

It's been an *awesome* day – the DSpace tutorial was excellent. The tutorial was led by Dorothea Salo, the Digital Repository Services Librarian for MARS at GMU and Tim Donahue, Research Programmer for IDEALS, at the University of Urbana-Champaign.

Highlights of the morning:

  1. Dspace community is very active!! 130 institutions using the system (that have registered)
  2. Dspace community is moving toward a committee approach. Today, MIT and HP still guard the code (even though it's open source). If you have customizations you want in the code base, you can email 5 guys in charge of the API; today, they determine what goes in the next release. Very soon this will change and working committees will be formed to address specific layers of Dspace
  3. Texas A&M is creating a *very* cool project to be released this summer. The project is the result of the first Dspace working group (mentioned above) and will be called Manakin. It is a purely XML based UI that sits on top of Dspace. Texas Digital Library is already using Manakin – it allows much greater flexibility in terms of where things are placed on the page; XML, XSLT and CSS make up the architecture
  4. Version 1.4 will of Dspace be out at the end of the summer with new features such as browsing by subjects and better modularization of code.
  5. Dspace Architecture includes: Ant (a Java build tool based on XML config files), JSP, Tomcat, XML, XSLT, war files…
  6. JSP knowledge is needed to modify the front-end layer – all customizations rely on Messages.properties that contains all "text" for the web portion of the site(they didn't mention this but this properties file is a popular way to building Java applications) Dorothea did not have prior JSP or Tomcat experience, however, and was able to customize; she was a Python programmer before taking on the MARS project
  7. Dspace out of the box will require Tomcat and Ant knowledge — XML as well.
  8. To modify the business layer (written in Java), you will need to have knowledge of Java. Not many folks other than programmers contributing to Dspace have tackled the business layer.
  9. If someone knows Java/JSP it would take about 6-8 weeks to customize;
  10. You will need an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to modify Jsp's. (my own notes here: use Eclipse – it's free and *very* good).
  11. Dspace's CSS is over specified according to Dorothea. Dorothea completely rewrote the CSS when customizing MARS
  12. Create a local directory to save all new JSPs. When you build the app with Ant, it will look into /local first and use customizations before out of the box files
  13. Admin interface is available.
  14. Do not delete dublin core data elements that ship with Dspace!! You can delete elements that you've added.
  15. In Version 1.4, Dspace will introduce other metadata schemes (other than dublin core). Still no rich, hierarchical schemas, but Dspace developers are looking into this
  16. Adding dublin core elements and having them searchable requires changes in many files…(will go over in person)
  17. Make sure you both have a test and prod installation
  18. Take into account and plan for the fact that you will have downtime in production – building the app takes a few minutes
  19. Submissions forms that ship with Dspace need to be altered a bit if you want to change the workflow (Tim has some great code for submission workflow that we can use)
  20. Forms for submission are written strictly in XML (very cool stuff – entire dspace application may move in this direction)
  21. Server space will vary from institution to institution based on what you want to store in the system. Illinois will has been in a beta pilot for 1 year; they have been testing how files can be uploaded, how interested folks around campus are, etc. They've estimated that they wont' go over 1 terebyte the 1st year they roll out. Both Tim & Dorothea suggested that partnering with Academic Technologies is a good thing on this type of project…

There's tons more that I have documented separately – I also have a Dspace How-to Guide and slides from the presentation. Met many folks looking at Dspace – not many who have already installed it.

Talked a lot with the Web Applications Manager from libraries at Albany, Systems Librarian at University of Kansas and Tim Donahue at University of Illinois.

Dspace lunch is Tuesday with 2 folks from MIT who are the main coders for the API

Have talked to UNC system folks and they were open to my suggestion for a site visit. They are doing 3 pilots over the summer. They are also beginning a project campus-wide to get Dspace and Fedora to talk to each other… 

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