1 Introduction
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Extending Greenstone for Institutional Repositories

David Bainbridge,1 Wendy Osborn,2 Ian H. Witten,1 and David M. Nichols1

1 Department of Computer Science
University of Waikato
Hamilton, New Zealand

2 Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, Canada

Abstract. We examine the problem of designing a generalized system for building institutional repositories. Widely used schemes such as DSpace are tailored to a particular set of requirements: fixed metadata set; standard view when searching and browsing; pre-determined sequence for depositing items; built-in workflow for vetting new items. In contrast, Fedora builds in flexibility: institutional repositories are just one possible instantiation—however generality incurs a high overhead and uptake has been sluggish. This paper shows how existing components of the Greenstone software can be repurposed to provide a generalized institutional repository that falls between these extremes.

1   Introduction

Institutional repositories are a popular form of digital library. Although many software systems exist to support them, widely used ones (such as DSpace [1]) are tailored to particular requirements. They assume a certain metadata set and present readers with a fixed view of the collection when searching and browsing the repository. Depositing an item involves a pre-determined sequence of steps; the presentation of the pages in the sequence is difficult to customize; and the workflow involved in reviewing new items is built-in. Although with sufficient programming effort one can circumvent such restrictions—existing institutional repository systems do provide some hooks to facilitate a limited degree of personalization—it is fair to say that they are not designed with flexibility in mind. For example, it would be hard to adapt them to use a radically different metadata set or a different sequence of operations when depositing new items.

The Fedora framework [2] is an interesting exception that has been designed expressly with flexibility in mind—an institutional repository is merely one possible instantiation. However working with such a generalized system incurs a high overhead and such manifestations have been slow to emerge. One promising development in this area is Fez [3], which we review with other institutional repository software solutions in Section 6.

The paper is structured as follows. First we discuss what we mean by a “generalized institutional repository.” Section 3 demonstrates a minimalist example to help convey the salient features of such a resource. Then we describe how existing components of Greenstone were repurposed to give it functionality comparable to existing repository systems. Section 5 presents a second worked example to show how the new system can be configured to emulate DSpace’s submission workflow. We conclude by placing the work in the context of other repository software: DSpace, GNU EPrints and Fez.