Comparing Open Source Digital Library Software

Comparing Open Source Digital Library Software

George Pyrounakis (University of Athens, Greece) and Mara Nikolaidou (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-879-6.ch006
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Abstract

In the last years, a great number of digital library and digital repository systems have been developed by individual organizations, mostly universities, and given to the public as open-source software. The advantage of having many choices becomes a great headache when selecting a digital library (DL) system for a specific organization. To make the decision easier, five well-known and extensively used systems that are publicly available using an open source license are compared, namely DSpace, Fedora, Greenstone, Keystone, and EPrints. Each of them have been thoroughly studied based on basic characteristics and system features emphasizing multiple and heterogeneous digital collection support. Results are summarized in a score table. Cases for which each of these systems is considered as the most suitable are proposed.
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Introduction

In the last years, a great number of digital library and digital repository systems have been developed by individual organizations, mostly universities, and given to the public as open-source software. The advantage of having many choices becomes a great headache when selecting a digital library (DL) system for a specific organization. To make the decision easier, we compared five such systems that are publicly available using an open source license, are compliant with open archives initiative protocol for metadata harvesting (OAI-PMH) (Lagoze & Sompel, 2001), and already have a number of installations worldwide. Using these basic restrictions, we selected for comparison the following five broadly used DL systems:

  • DSpace (DSpace Federation), developed by the MIT libraries and Hewlett-Packard Labs (BSD open source license)

  • Fedora (Fedora Project), jointly developed by Cornell University and the University of Virginia Library (educational community license)

  • Greenstone (Greenstone digital library software), produced by the University of Waikato (GNU general public license)

  • Keystone (Keystone DLS), developed by Index Data (GNU general public license)

  • EPrints (EPrints for digital repositories), developed by the University of Southampton

Each of these systems has been thoroughly studied based on basic characteristics and system features described in the following sections. The latest versions of those systems were examined. When writing this chapter, the versions provided were: DSpace 1.4, Fedora 2.2, Greenstone 3, Keystone 1.5, and EPrints 3. The DL systems are compared based on stated characteristics and the level of support on each of them. In the following section, the characteristics needed by a modern DL system are discussed. In the third section the five DL systems are compared based on each of the DL characteristics and the results are summarized in a score table. Finally, in the fourth section, the results of this comparison are commented on and cases for which each of these systems is suitable are proposed.

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Dl Systems Characteristics

The basic characteristics and features that are expected from modern integrated DL software are:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Interoperability Features: Standards that the DL systems support in order to ensure interoperability with other systems.

Open Source DL: A digital library software platform based on open source technology.

Fedora: Open source DL platform jointly developed by Cornell University and the University of Virginia Library (educational community license).

Object Model: The internal structure of the digital object (i.e., entity that integrates metadata and digital content) in the DL system.

EPrints: Open source DL platform developed by the University of Southampton.

Greenstone: Open source DL platform produced by the University of Waikato (GNU general public license).

Object Management: Methods and user interfaces provided from the DL system to manipulate metadata and digital content.

Keystone: Open source DL platform developed by Index Data (GNU general public license).

Level of Customization: Customization of the DL system in collection level, the format of the digital objects, and the services provided.

DSpace: Open source DL platform developed by the MIT libraries and Hewlett-Packard Labs (BSD open source license).

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