Choice Matrix for open source software
As a part of the Choice Matrix tables and features, it is worthwhile to discuss major groups of IR software.
There is a range of software available that are perfectly positioned to serve your goal, from both categories: commercial or closed code systems and open source systems.
Commercial/Closed source institutional repository software
Commercial/closed source institutional repository software is developed, provided and distributed by a commercial company. Closed source institutional repository software is often supplied with a service contract which includes training and implementation.
The increased use of institutional repositories as a means of scholarly communicationwithin research and academic institutions has attracted commercial vendors offering a wide range of solutions. Some of them have evolved from academic institutions, from being in-house solutions to commercial solutions that are sold to other institutions with similar needs.
Most commercial repository solutions are rich with interesting features and well-designed interfaces. They are normally stable with reliable and continuous support.
However, you need to note some of the challenges you will face when implementing commercial solutions. Here are a few to facilitate your informed decision process:
- You need to have a relatively stable budget to continue with services;
- They normally do not have a wide user community and hence not many discussion mailing lists;
- Continuity depends on vendor's survival in the marketplace;
Limited flexibility in customization by the users.
There are many commercial repository solutions. The list provided below and their links for further investigation are most commonly implemented by different institutions.
- CONTENTdm (OCLC)
- Digital Commons (BePress)
- DigiTool (Ex Libris)
- ETD Administrator (ProQuest/UMI)
- Symposia (Innovative Interfaces)
- VITAL (VTLS)
Open source institutional repository software
Open source institutional repository systems are developed, provided and distributed by a community of users/developers.
Everyone is allowed to alter or change the software, although a small team often manages the official releases.
Open source institutional repository software is free; although it should be taken into account that the implementation is often not. Even though the software is free of charge, an organization still has to invest in knowledge acquisition and training. In some cases, paid support services can be acquired from third parties. In this toolkit, the focus is on Open Source Institutional Repository software.
There are many open source institutional repository systems available. The most well known and used are:
- Fedora (Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture)
Due the fact that these systems mostly have identical functionalities and features, choosing the right system to best fit your institutional requirements may prove to be a demanding exercise.
Making a choice between these (or other) institutional repositories depends on many things, like the size of your organization, the available expertise, staff availability and hardware infrastructure. Furthermore, it also depends on the kind of implementation you are looking for. DSpace, Greenstone and EPrintssare very straight forward pieces of software which can function as stand alone.
Fedora, on the other hand, is more like a framework which should be embedded in already present web-systems. Regional preferences should also be taken into account. DSpaceand Greenstone, for instance, are currently the market leaders on the African continent.
To help you with making the right choice, a choice matrix was developed for the four above-mentioned open source institutional repository packages. Download the template and check examples of repositories using the different software packages by following the links below.
Piloting the software
As noted previously, selecting an appropriate software depends on your knowledge of what you need and what resources you have. Make a point of not rushing this decision; after exploring examples of repositories that have been developed based on various solutions, assess the software as a team by putting it through the paces.
After which, do the following:
- Install & configure
- Design a pilot project
- Make necessary customizations to reflect your organization
► At this stage, if you are excited and have the necessary skills, see Installation and Configuration