Open Repositories 2011 Report: DSpace on Spring and DuraSpace

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This week I am attending the Open Repositories conference in Austin, Texas, and yesterday was the second preconference day (and the first day I was in Austin). Coming in as I did I only had time to attend two preconference sessions: one on the integration -- or maybe "invasion" of the Spring Framework -- into DSpace and one on the introduction of the DuraCloud service and code.

DSpace and the Spring Framework

The Spring-Framework-in-DSpace was presented by Mark Diggory of @MIRE. He spoke from a DuraSpace wiki page set up as a tutorial on the topic. In the first part of his presentation he introduced the inversion-of-control pattern, explaining why it is useful and showing how it works with simple code examples. He then showed how a Spring-based ServiceManager can be integrated into the DSpace main code and then how new services can be plugged into that manager.

I came into the session more familiar with the Spring Framework than with the DSpace code, so I found the session to be a good introduction to some of the DSpace concepts even though I wasn't the target audience. (I imagine the target audience was someone familiar with the DSpace code wanting to learn about the Spring Framework.) Thanks, Mark, for putting up the web tutorial and walking through it during the preconference session.

DuraCloud Introduction

The second preconference I went to was on the introduction of DuraCloud services from DuraSpace. I can honestly say that I didn't get what DuraCloud was supposed to be before, but seeing the about-to-be-released web interface I can say I think I finally get it. DuraCloud is going to be both open source software and a service from DuraSpace that can back up a repository with storage, media access services, and compute/transformation services.

The session showed the web-based administration interface and the supporting tools for integrating a DSpace repository and a Fedora repository into DuraCloud. Attendees were also given access to a command-line Java application that could be used to upload content into a DuraCloud instance, although sadly it wasn't demonstrated during the preconference session. (Perhaps I'll try it out on the sly later with the DuraCloud credentials they gave us at the session...) In addition to the functinality being built into DSpace and Fedora there will be REST-based code libraries for Java, PHP and Python -- meaning that any developer could write code to make use of DuraCloud with any repository platform. The whole DuraCloud application is going to be released into open source under the Apache 2.0 license as part of the efforts to create a community using the code and encourage others to write new services for DuraCloud. This is something I'm going to keep watching; I've already signed up for a preview account for when the beta is released later this month.

Thanks also to DuraSpace for sponsoring the evening reception after the preconfernce session at the University of Texas Club.