Sunday, September 09, 2007

UNESCO open source repository report

UNESCO has issued an very interesting report -- Towards an Open Source Archival Repository and Preservation System -- that defines the requirements for a digital archival and preservation system and describes a set of open source software which can be used to implement it. It focuses on DSpace, Fedora, and Greenstone, principally comparing the three systems in their support for OAIS. The report uses as the basis for its comparison a single use case -- the management and preservation of images.

I think it's a very fair report, not deeply technical, but an overview of the capabilities of the tools. Fedora is well-reviewed, with some shortcomings mentioned -- it takes a high level of programming expertise to contribute to the core development (true), the administrative reporting tools could stand some improvement (I could use granular use statistics), and a lack of built-in automated preservation metadata extraction and file format validation. On those last two points, the Fedora architecture very easily supports the integration of locally developed automated processes in metadata extraction and format validation into object preparation. That's what we have done. That Fedora has supported checksum checking support since version 2.2 is a huge step for file preservation.

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