HP and the MIT Libraries today announced the formation of the DSpace Foundation, a non-profit organization that will provide support to the growing community of institutions that use DSpace, an open source software solution for accessing, managing and preserving scholarly works in a digital archive.
Jointly developed by HP and the MIT Libraries beginning in 2002, today more than 200 projects worldwide are using the software to digitally capture, preserve and share their artifacts, documents, collections and research data.
The foundation will assume responsibility for providing leadership and support to the ever-growing DSpace community and promote even wider distribution and use. Michele Kimpton, formerly of the Internet Archive (www.archive.org), will serve as executive director of the DSpace Foundation.
Kimpton led web-archiving technology and services at the Internet Archive where, as one of its founding directors, she initiated and managed several open source software projects to collect, access and preserve web pages from national libraries and archives.
HP and the MIT Libraries began developing DSpace after MIT expressed the need for a robust software platform to digitally store its collections and valuable research data, which had previously existed only in hard copies.
Institutions can more easily share and preserve their collections with an archiving system that stores digital representations of analog artifacts, text, photos, audio and films. DSpace is a community-based open source platform capable of permanently storing data in a non-proprietary format, so researchers can access its contents for decades to come.
Because the archive is Internet-based, DSpace can be accessed from anywhere in the world via an Internet connection and federated with other archives.
"DSpace lets large institutions like libraries, research laboratories and universities preserve and share their valuable content online, creating a vast digital repository of information that allows for an unprecedented level of collaboration among the worldwide research community," said Shane Robison, HP executive vice president and chief strategy and technology officer. "DSpace was born from the long-standing relationship between HP and MIT, and it's a great example of what's possible when industry and academia collaborate."
More than 200 projects around the world are using DSpace and additional projects are getting underway, including:
* 2008 Virtual Olympic Museum/Beihang University: Beihang University in Beijing, one of China's top universities, will use DSpace to archive the 2008 China Summer Olympics, thus creating a collection of materials about the Beijing games that can be shared over the Internet quickly and easily. It is scheduled to open in March 2008.
* Texas Digital Library: This project provides a digital infrastructure for the scholarly activities of Texas universities, which possess an enormous amount of intellectual capital that is not readily available to faculty, staff and students. The library's contents include open access journals, electronic theses and dissertations, faculty datasets, departmental databases, digital archives, course management and learning materials, digital media and special collections. Designed to help scholars publish, share, find and use information throughout the state, the digital library has already been met with positive reviews from researchers, professors and students alike – and the originators of the project are already seeing information sharing between universities that would not have otherwise been possible. Currently, participating institutions include Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, The University of Houston and The University of Texas.
* The China Digital Museum: This project includes 18 campus museums, each with 20,000 - 50,000 objects covering geoscience, biology, anthropology, science and technology. A DSpace-based federated system, the project will expand to more than 22 campus museums in Phase II with a standardized platform and metadata.
* Open Repository: A managed service from BioMed Central in the United Kingdom, Open Repository will build, launch, host and maintain institutional repositories for organizations. Built using the latest DSpace repository software, the service has been designed to be flexible and cost-effective. BioMed Central's economy of scale makes it possible for it to offer repositories to organizations that lack the infrastructure, in-house technical capacity or resources to run their own.
* National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE): A non-profit initiative dedicated to promoting liberal education, NITLE offers its participating colleges a pilot for a hosted and shared instance of the DSpace open source software. For a fee, NITLE hosts the pilot, thus creating a low-cost, high-value opportunity for institutions to explore the DSpace open source software in collaboration with other liberal arts colleges and to investigate its potential. Twenty-five colleges and universities have signed on to this pilot service.
"The creation of the DSpace Foundation and Michele Kimpton's appointment are important steps in the evolution of DSpace," said Ann J. Wolpert, director, MIT Libraries. "Together these actions signal that both the platform and the community have successfully reached the point where an independent organization is needed to direct the project."
HP and MIT have a long history of partnering. In 2000, the organizations announced the HP-MIT Alliance, which has resulted in several ongoing research projects in the areas of nanotechnology, quantum computing, speech recognition and mobile technologies.
DSpace is one of the first open source software platforms to store, manage and distribute its collections in digital format. As much of the world’s content is now being developed and disseminated in digital format, the DSpace software supports next-generation digital archiving that is more permanent and shareable than current analog archives. DSpace can support a wide variety of artifacts, including books, theses, 3D digital scans of objects, photographs, film, video, research data sets and other forms of content.
Archives created using DSpace can be federated, linking to each other so that researchers in one location can easily and quickly search and view pieces of another archive’s collection, thus enabling researchers to utilize remote collections without having to travel to the archive where they are stored. DSpace is available to anyone free of charge under the BSD open source license, which allows research institutions to run it as-is or to modify and extend it as needed. More information on DSpace is available at www.dspace.org.
About the MIT Libraries
The MIT Libraries are actively engaged in tackling the challenges of the 21st century library. They are at the forefront of both digital library research and the innovative use of technology for core library functions, and play a key role in the definition of technology used in academic activities at MIT.
The MIT Libraries’ Digital Libraries Research Group conducts research in technology and other aspects of digital libraries, furthering library, scholarly and educational initiatives. Their work includes research on applications of the semantic web, the data grid to digital libraries and data curation. To learn more about the MIT Libraries’ research initiatives, see: http://libraries.mit.edu/dlrg/.
HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, global services, business and home computing, and imaging and printing. For the four fiscal quarters ended April 30, 2006, HP revenue totaled $88.9 billion. More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.