DSpace is a web application, allowing researchers and scholars to publish documents and data. While DSpace shares some feature overlap with content management systems and document management systems, the DSpace repository software serves a specific need as a digital archives system, focused on the long-term storage, access and preservation of digital content thus making DSpace the software of choice for academic, non-profit, and commercial organizations building open digital repositories. It is free and easy to install “out of the box” and completely customizable to fit the needs of any organization.
DSpace preserves and enables easy and open access to all types of digital content including text, images, moving images, mpegs and data sets. And with an ever-growing community of developers, committed to continuously expanding and improving the software, each DSpace installation benefits from the next.
DSpace, the software and the community, is one of the largest of its kind spanning the globe in usage for 20+ years.
The first public version of DSpace was released in November 2002, as a joint effort between developers from MIT and HP Labs. Following the first user group meeting in March 2004, a group of interested institutions formed the DSpace Federation which determined the governance of future software development by adopting the Apache Foundation's community development model as well as establishing the DSpace Committer Group. In July 2007 as the DSpace user community grew larger, HP and MIT jointly formed the DSpace Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provided leadership and support. In May 2009 collaboration on related projects and growing synergies between the DSpace Foundation and the Fedora Commons organization led to the joining of the two organizations to pursue their common mission in a not-for-profit called DuraSpace. DuraSpace and LYRASIS merged in July 2019. Currently, the DSpace software and user community receives leadership and guidance from LYRASIS. The community work and maintenance of the software is lead by Governance and the DSpace working groups.
The DSpace Vision and Mission Statement
Vision: The DSpace Project will produce the world’s choice for repository software providing the means for making information openly available and easy to manage.
Mission: We will create superior open source software by harnessing the skills of an active developer community, the energy and insights of engaged and active users, and the financial support of project members and registered service providers.
DSpace software will:
- Focus on the Institutional Repository use case.
- Be lean, agile, and flexible.
- Be easy and simple to install and operate.
- Include a core set of functionality that can be extended to or integrated with complementary services and tools in the larger scholarly ecosystem.
DSpace is freely available as open source software. See the accompanying DSpace Diagram.pdf that describes visually how DSpace works at a very high level. Note: DSpace does not automate preservation but it does allow for others to adapt it to their own preservation strategies.