Stuart Lewis on using the stackable authentication in DSpace to use Shibboleth to protect a SWORD interface.

Good news from Michele Kimpton (DSpace) and Sandy Payette (Fedora). Exerpt: –

Over the last few weeks, we (Michele Kimpton and Sandy Payette) have been discussing the possibilities of our organizations collaborating. …

Thus far, all of the stakeholders we have had the opportunity to talk with have been extremely supportive and excited about the possibility of the Fedora and DSpace communities working together in some capacity.

(full e-mail at end of this post)

As a general principle, it’s great to see a bit more harmony in the OS space rather than increasing balkanization. Exciting as it is, the idea of Fedora + DSpace is not new; it’s been a perennial topic for repository pub chat for a couple of years. At Open Repositories 2008 I revived the idea with a couple of the other DSpace committers, looking for a bit lively debate, and found none; they had evidently been thinking along the same lines. Mark Diggory, Richard Rodgers and Andrius Blažinskas are looking at Fedora integration through Google’s Summer of Code program.

I’m going to set the inter-community aspects of the collaboration aside for a moment, and think how might a Fedora / DSpace software might look? I’ve got four top priorities I’d like to see DSpace address: –

  • Plugin based architecture a la eclipse to ease customisation and maintenance of core application
  • Data model improvement to support important features such as revisioning / versioning, per-file metadata etc
  • UI improvements
  • Interoperability through provision / consumption of RESTful web services

Starting with the last point; the Fedora and DSpace communities are already heavily involved in the development and adoption of interop standards, and I’ve no reason to believe that a tie-up would change that. There may be some efficiencies to be had, but they’re not obvious to me right now

As far as I know, Fedora doesn’t have a plugin architecture that could be used, but using Fedora doesn’t make implementing a plugin architecture any harder.

I’m guessing that Fedora would most likely be used as a back end to DSpace, possibly accessed through the Fedora REST service interface. Since Fedora handles metadata well (using RDF), a Fedora back end would provide more functionality than the current DSpace storage abstractions (e.g. SRB). Hopefully this will allow the DSpace development community to implement functionality enhancements quickly, and focus on Manakin and other UI improvements.

Fedora is extremely flexible regarding data model. The DSpace 1.x data model was a good start, and is moving towards a model useful to most IR usage. This data model work was started through the architectural review and is being continued in the current JISC funded DSpace 2.0 work. The existence of this data model is extremely important in the adoption of descriptive and structural metadata standards such as FRBR and SWAP.

All in all, I’m looking forward to seeing how this collaboration takes off – I count myself in the “supportive and excited” camp. There will be plenty of challenges; for example, release co-ordination has the capacity to cause disproportionate heartache. As does naming: What would a Fedora / DSpace combination be called? How about “Hat Full of Sky“?

Full e-mail:

From: Sandy Payette and Michele Kimpton

Date: May 30, 2008 11:17:18 AM PDT

Subject: Joint discussions on Fedora/DSpace collaboration

Dear members of the DSpace and Fedora communities,

Over the last few weeks, we (Michele Kimpton and Sandy Payette) have been discussing the possibilities of our organizations collaborating. The reasons for exploring the possibilities of collaboration are based on the following:

  1. The missions of our non-profit organizations are very similar and we are motivated to provide the best technology and services to many of the same communities
  2. Over the next 12-18 months, our existing technology roadmaps suggest convergence of thought in several key areas of our architectural visions
  3. We are both motivated to show how our open source repositories offer a unique value proposition compared to proprietary solutions

Over the past couple of weeks, we have had informal discussions with members of our communities, leaders in libraries and higher education, and Board members to get initial feedback as to whether they would support collaboration and the outcomes they would like to see as a result.

This past week, we convened members of both communities during the PASIG conference to get input and ideas regarding a collaboration.

Thus far, all of the stakeholders we have had the opportunity to talk with have been extremely supportive and excited about the possibility of the Fedora and DSpace communities working together in some capacity.

As a result of these discussions, we have agreed to move forward in our exploration of collaborative possibilities. Over the next several weeks our organizations will meet to plan the next steps in the process. Our intent is to bring together the ideas and expertise within both communities to come up with the most compelling issues to work on to best serve our communities.

As we move through this process it is our commitment to ensure that all discussions, meetings and decisions made are transparent and open in the hopes to engage and inform the community.

We look forward to your ideas and inputs!

Best Regards,

Michele and Sandy

“… to hell with the hierarchies, to hell with forms, to hell with communities and collections. I want a bucket collection that any person signing up with an appropriate email address automatically gets deposit rights to.” — Dorothea Salo, in a post even more stuffed with good ideas of how to shift repository bottlenecks than usual.

Ouput from DSUG 2007

October 25, 2007

I was unable to attend this year’s DSpace User Group meeting in Rome, and the technorati feed for the conference tag has been woefully quiet. However, there’s finally some commentary in the Anglophone blogosphere about the conference thanks to Richard Jones and the presentation slides are becoming available.

The DSpace@Cambridge service is looking for a developer.

DSpace Foundation

July 17, 2007

Plenty of coverage of the launch of the DSpace foundation today. It’s been a long time coming, and I’d like to congratulate Michele Kimpton and congratulate and thank Julie Walker, MacKenzie Smith and others at HP and MIT who’ve worked over the last couple of years to make the foundation a reality.

P.S. It’s only now that I realize that “DSpace Foundation” sounds like an Asimov novel. No bad thing! 🙂

Stuart Lewis, via the DSpace UKUG list: –

Dear all,

The slides from the latest DSpace UK & Ireland User Group meeting are
now online:

Videos from the event will be posted in a few weeks time.

If you want an update on the progress of the DSpace Foundation, I can
highly recommend the presentation from the Executive Director of the
DSpace Foundation, Michele Kimpton.

OSS watch have published a report by Julie Walker (commissioned by the JISC) entitled DSpace: a case study in sustainability, which explains the origins and progress of DSpace’s transition from closed to open source and the development of a more formal governance structure.

The DSpace@Cambridge project is looking for a DSpace developer.

Now that Buildr (like build, but 2.0. Geddit?) is there to soothe the ache of being so cool that it hurts and Ant caters for the no-fruit-in-my-muesli crowd, it’s increasingly unpopular to like Maven2.

I like M2 though. I haven’t come across a situation where I needed a 5000 line build file – it does most of the stuff I want at minimal cost.

Mark Diggory evidently also likes (or at least uses) M2 – he’s just posted a neat scheme for using M2 assemblies to easily make alternative add-on distributions of DSpace on the DSpace wiki.

There are a few other interesting possibilities here too – we’ve used assemblies to chuck project dependencies into a single jar so you can run them using java -jar. Not a big thing, admittedly, but the usability gain from not having to worry about classpaths including lib files is handy.

It should also be possible to create an assembly that included an embedded Jetty instance, and started it up using simply:

java -jar dspace-demo.jar

Which would be nice.