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FAQ for upcoming proposals to better integrate DSpace & Fedora technologies

DSpace & Fedora Integration Questions

These are questions we perceive may come up frequently from the DSpace Community as we begin to broach the subject of DSpace & Fedora integration (i.e. the "DSpace with 'Fedora Inside'" idea). These are just an initial guess at FAQs.

What is the proposed end result of this integration?

The end result would be a family of packages that you would install together for the full DSpace experience. One of these packages would offer a Fedora-based storage layer. So, when you install DSpace, there would be an option to use Fedora as its storage layer. Essentially, DSpace will still retain very similar interfaces and workflows, but it will now have "Fedora Inside".

Will it still look like DSpace and be called DSpace?

Yes. We are committed to maintaining the DSpace out-of-the-box experience. This may be an evolved version of DSpace (with new or slightly changed features), but it will still provide the same out-of-the-box institutional repository software.

What are the perceived benefits? Why do this integration?

We feel this tighter integration between the two platforms provides the following benefits:

  • Less redundancy between DSpace & Fedora code and development.
  • Ability to combine development work/projects – a larger pool of developers working on common technologies
  • DSpace will also be able to take advantage of features offered by Fedora (which are not currently in DSpace). An example is the file versioning feature of Fedora, which DSpace could utilize to allow for item versioning.

Has this decision already been finalized? Or is this just a recommendation?

DuraSpace is making a strategic recommendation that the DSpace and Fedora communities work towards tighter integration between the software platforms. DuraSpace is also backing up this recommendation with strategic development work (DSpace AIP Export work).

Needs rewording/massaging – Tim

Who will do this work? When will it be complete?

We currently don't have an exact timeframe for this work to be complete. As with any open source development initiative, it needs ongoing commitment and volunteers from the community. DuraSpace does not have the technical staff to do this work alone, and is looking for DSpace & Fedora community volunteers to help make this initiative happen.

Once this work is complete, how hard will the upgrade be for current DSpace users? Will I have to do all the work myself / how much expertise will I need to perform this upgrade?

At this time, we don't know the complete answer. Our intention is the make this upgrade as easy as possible and come up with common solutions that everyone in the community to utilize. One of these tools we are currently working on is a way to export all your DSpace contents (Communities/Collections/Items) into a series of AIPs (Archival Information Packages). It's possible that this tool could be used to ease the migration of your DSpace contents from the current DSpace data model into a Fedora data model.

Will I also need to learn how to install/upgrade Fedora in order to install/upgrade DSpace?

In the early stages, you may need to perform some basic steps to install or upgrade Fedora (how many steps?) whenever you install or upgrade DSpace. We anticipate that in the future we will be able to simplify this process. The final goal is to be able to install DSpace with "Fedora Inside" without too much effort.

Will my current DSpace User Interface / Add-On customizations still work?

We currently don't know. We hope that basic customizations (CSS / Javascript / etc) will work immediately. However, any customizations to the internal API or complex Add-ons will likely need to be rebuilt.

What happened to the DSpace 2.0 work? Is this replacing it?

This initiative is actually an extension of the DSpace 2.0 investigation work that took place in 2009. The goal of the DSpace 2 work was primarily to modularize DSpace, and Fedora as one of those modules just makes sense. The DSpace 2 work, along with recent Google Summer of Code projects, have helped us to more closely realize how DSpace and Fedora could be integrated.

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