CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--The Massachusetts Institute of Technology today announced the worldwide launch of DSpaceâ„¢, a groundbreaking digital repository system which will capture, store, distribute and preserve the intellectual output of MIT's faculty and research staff. Developed jointly by the MIT Libraries and the Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), DSpace will transform how MIT distributes and archives the results of its research, and will serve as a model for other universities and institutions with similar needs.
"We believe that DSpace will set the new standard for the stewardship of knowledge in the research environment," commented MIT President Charles M. Vest.
DSpace, which the Chronicle of Higher Education recently called "the most ambitious and closely watched program of its kind," is designed to be a sustainable, scalable digital repository capable of holding the more than 10,000 pieces of digital content produced by MIT faculty and researchers each year. This would include articles, technical reports and conference papers from MIT labs and centers, and everything from data sets, databases and media clips to visualizations and simulations used in the classroom.
The DSpace repository will initially address what was becoming a growing institutional need: how to collect, preserve, index and distribute content that originates in complex digital formats. This is a time-consuming task for individual faculty and their departments, labs and centers to manage, and something that the DSpace system will make easier and more affordable.
In addition, DSpace is designed with a flexible storage and retrieval architecture adaptable to a multitude of data formats and distinct research disciplines. Different MIT communities can adapt and customize the DSpace system to meet their individual needs and manage the data submission process themselves. Furthermore, a customized user portal can be created for each community, promoting a user environment closely matching a community's own terminology and culture.
Ultimately, MIT hopes to extend the scope of DSpace by offering and encouraging its adoption at other research-intensive institutions. By making open-source DSpace software available to other universities, DSpace will enable even small colleges to run repositories with existing resources.
"By transforming the way in which content is made available, MIT Libraries seeks to make significant progress in the development of scholarly communication and the scholarly record, " commented Ann Wolpert, director of the MIT Libraries.
DSpace is closely tied to other significant MIT digital initiatives, including MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), which recently was launched with the goal of making all MIT course materials available online. Both OCW and DSpace have been recognized as a collective instrument for disseminating knowledge generated at MIT in an open environment, without barriers and in a manner that will persist into the future.
DSpace is available to all as open source code, and can be found on the DSpace web site .