A mix of 30 DSpace veterans, new faces, developers and repository managers sat together at the dawn of the Open Repositories 2012 conference in Edinburgh for fruitful discussions on tackling current DSpace issues and improving the ways in which members of the DSpace community collaborate. @mire's Mark Diggory, Kevin Van de Velde and Bram Luyten attended the event.
DSpace 3.0 work speeds up
August 17th has been set as the "feature freeze" date for the DSpace 3.0 release. By this date, interested contributors have to make their source code available for evaluation by others in order to be included in the actual 3.0 release. The DSpace 3.0 release page now receives almost daily updates, with more and more information becoming available on contributed work. All contributors who were present agreed to the feature freeze date and were enthusiastic to put up their new code.
Contribute your code to DSpace using Github
In 2012, the development of DSpace migrated from Subversion to Github, a more advanced solution for software version control. Based on practices at ThinkUp, @mire's Mark Diggory illustrated the new process to contribute changes and improvements to DSpace. More extensive information on this subject can be found on the DSpace wiki page "Development with Git".
Aligning requirements and uniting resources get the heavy lifting done
Jonathan Markow, DuraSpace's Chief Strategy Officer, highlighted the importance of aligning requirements and pooling together resources in the forms of developer & repository manager time and funding to tackle the bigger infrastructure development challenges. It can sound unlikely that your institution wants to step up as the next MIT, the university which served as co-creator of the original DSpace software along with HP, to take on a sizeable commitment to the development of the platform. However, significant development goals can be reached if different institutions which face the same functional challenges align their requirements and pool together resources. At @mire we already see this today in projects where we have collaborated with different institutions on open source infrastructure contributions such as Advanced DSpace Embargo and Item Versioning. Markow indicated that DuraSpace aims to play a more active role in this process under the flag of "Managed Projects".
Improved intake and processing of DSpace bug reports and feature requests
To cope with confusion about the status of pending DSpace feature requests and bug reports in JIRA, DuraSpace's Tim Donohue has done nice work to suggest useful improvements to the current JIRA workflow. Central in the proposed improvements are adding new statuses for "More details needed" and "Volunteer needed" to ensure that the community knows whether additional requirement analysis or development work is necessary to move the work forward.
Future vision for DSpace
In a closing "Blue Sky" discussion led by Richard Rodgers, there was a shared enthusiasm about several areas in which DSpace could be leveraged in the mid- and long-term future. Stuart Lewis was particularly upbeat about additional features for digital preservation, stating that all necessary hooks were present to include emerging standards JHOVE and PRONOM. Various institutions have been using DSpace to manage research data, for which support will already be improved once the new Item Versioning feature arrives in DSpace 3.0. Lastly, several people were convinced that DSpace and the community have what it takes to offer more functionality in the area of Current Research Information Systems (CRIS). CILEA, an Italian DSpace service provider will be contributing a separate CRIS module for DSpace after the 3.0 release.