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ith the ability to collect and
manage the vast amount of grey
literature, the DSpace system will provide
a framework to enable the academic
community to challenge the way research
is communicated and distributed. Even
after acknowledging that many questions
remain unanswered and that DSpace is
currently more of a platform for develop-
ment rather than a solution to the problem
of long-term preservation of research
materials, it is evident that DSpace will
play a valuable role in helping academic
libraries and archives develop necessary
strategies and technologies. Long-term
management plans are not yet in place at
MIT (beyond guaranteed preservation of
bit streams), but with the obvious demand
for this system, and the development of
the DSpace federation of institutions in
large academic research institutions in the
United States, Canada, and the United
Kingdom, DSpace should become a
valuable tool and resource.
By Monica Greenan, British Editor,
n response to the demand for storage
of the digital research and educational
materials of MIT's faculty and researchers,
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of
Technology) Libraries and the Hewlett-
Packard Company have developed the
open source system, DSpace
. This is a
digital repository designed to enable the
capture, distribution and preservation of
the intellectual output of MIT, with a
view to its adoption by, and federation
with, other institutions. From the outset,
the system was designed to be easily run
by institutions other than MIT. More than
1500 organisations have downloaded the
system since it became freely available in
November 2002.
Space provides a way to manage
research publications and materials
in a professionally maintained repository
to give them greater visibility and ensure
their accessibility over time, as well as
providing simple and remote access to this
material through Web-based technologies.
The system's information model is built
around the concept of `communities',
each with its own distinct information
management needs. At MIT, the commu-
nities are the departments, schools, and
research centres producing articles,
reports, papers, books, theses, images,
datasets, programmes, teaching materials,
and visual simulations and models.
qualified Dublin Core metadata set
is employed by DSpace to describe
items, requiring only three fields (title,
language, submission date), but capable of
supporting over sixty. To support the
discovery and retrieval of deposited items
the DSpace development team imple-
mented CNRI (Corporation for National
Research Initiatives) handles as persistent
Space identifies two levels of pre-
servation: bit preservation and
functional preservation. Bit preservation
involves the preservation of the digital
file exactly as it was deposited without
any change or future alteration.
Functional preservation is considered the
preservation of a `usable' file as technology
formats, media and paradigms change.
Current research and practice has demon-
strated that some formats can be function-
ally preserved more easily than others,
such as TIFF images or XML documents.
However, many other formats are pro-
prietary or unsupported, and so are much
more difficult to preserve in this manner.
The DSpace development team concluded
that the formats in which the MIT
Faculty creates material can be neither
predicted nor controlled. While they aim,
at least at bit level, to ensure all material
is preserved, the project aims to preserve
the functionality of only `supported' for-
mats using format migration or emulation
techniques. The techniques are yet to be
decided. Institutions wishing to adopt the
DSpace model must have their own pre-
servation policies in place if the system is
to be used effectively. To assist other
institutions in implementing the DSpace
model, the policies adopted by MIT are
available, along with information about
prospective communities and federators at
the DSpace Website.
The European Commission consulta-
tion on Trust barriers for B2B e-market-
place has found that concerns over the
confidentiality of sensitive data and the
security of information systems are key
barriers to more widespread take-up of
e-business opportunities. For the consul-
tation document see: http://www.europa.