The DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons, the two major organizations involved in governing open source software for repositories, have combined to form a new organization called DuraSpace.
The trend toward consolidation isn't limited to the commercial sector. Non-profits also face the need to gain organizational efficiency, especially now in the face of a very challenging economy. The organizations often consolidate by combining with synergistic partners. Such is the case with the DSpace Foundation and the Fedora Commons, both organizations that were involved in the governance of open source projects for software used for repositories. Effective June 1, 2009, these two organizations join forces in a new organization called DuraSpace, which will continue to support the products of both organizations and will launch new repository services. DuraSpace will operate with a leadership team representing the principles of both predecessor organizations. Sandy Payette, executive director of Fedora Commons and former Cornell University researcher, will serve as Chief Executive Officer of DuraSpace. Michele Kimpton, executive director of the DSpace Foundation takes the role of Chief Business Officer. Brad McLean, technical director of DSpace Foundation, fills out the executive team of DuraSpace as Chief Technology Officer. The organization will function virtually, with offices in Ithaca, NY and Cambridge, MA. Fedora and DSpace
DuraSpace will continue oversight of both software projectsó Fedora and DSpace. Both continue to enjoy increasing numbers of organizations adopting their software and strong interest in ongoing development.
Fedora emerged as a digital repository platform from research done at Cornell University. The University of Virginia joined with Cornell to turn the research project into a platform that could be easily adopted as the underlying infrastructure for a variety of digital repository applications. Fedora, however, isn't a turnkey product. It requires some effort to provide a customized interface and integration layers. A number of major repository projects have crafted interfaces on top of Fedora. The Fedora Commons Web site lists examples involving museums, education, digital collections, eScience, institutional repositories ries, open access publishing, and preservation (see http://www.fedora-commons.
org/community/examples). Sun Microsystems uses Fedora as the repository layer in their Sun Open Archive Framework (see http://sun.com/openarchive). Fedora is distributed as open source software under Apache License, Version 2.0 DSpace, created as a joint development effort between Hewlett-Packard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, provides a full turn-key institutional repository solution. Although the interface and internal structures can be customized, it comes as a complete system. At least 500 organizations use DSpace as their institutional repository. DSpace is distributed through a BSD Open Source license.
Combined, DSpace and Fedora represent the largest number of repositories based on open source software, with over 700 institutions using one or the two platforms.
In addition to ongoing governance of the existing DSpace and Fedora projects, DuraSpace will work toward the development of a new repository service called DuraCloud. One of the major trends in the information technology arena is to offer business services in a cloud computing model. This approach involves providing highly saleable storage and Web-based distributed applications, based on hosted infrastructure, often provided by a third party. Amazon, for example, offers its storage and computing infrastructure to other individuals and organizations as cloud-based services. DuraCloud aims to take advantage of cloud computing to offer repository services at lower costs than traditional local installations of repositories.
DuraSpace will create software in support of the DuraCloud service, planned for general availability in Fall 2009. Plug-ins will be created for both DSpace and Fedora enabling organizations already using these platforms to take advantage of services provided through DuraCloud. The DuraCloud software will be released as open source, though use of the service does necessarily involve having to depend on local servers and storage.
These developments, both in terms of the organizational consolidation and the development of the DuraCloud service, represent an important milestone in the evolution of repository platforms. A large variety of libraries and other organizations require solutions for managing ever growing collections of locally produced digital content, and repositories provide the essential infrastructure. DuraSpace takes on a very critical role as the key organization involved in the two dominant platforms for current projects and as the provider of a major new cloud-based service.