To solve the problem of preserving
digital material long term, CU and MIT libraries have just embarked
on a joint venture known as DSpace. This system has been developed
over the past 2 years by MIT Libraries and Hewlett -Packard
Laboratories. With a grant of £1.7 million from CMI, the
project will create a digital repository at Cambridge University,
which will provide a way of permanently preserving digitized
material from Cambridge’s priceless heritage of manuscripts
and printed material. The project will be led in Cambridge by
the University Librarian, Peter Fox, and at MIT by the Director
of MIT Libraries, Ann Wolpert.
“The University Library has been concerned about the amount
of digital material being created in the University apparently
without any provision being made for its long-term preservation
and access. DSpace now provides us with the opportunity to offer
such a service to our academic colleagues,” says Peter Fox.
Cambridge will also act as an exemplar site for other higher
and further education institutions throughout the UK . With
MIT and six other North American universities, Cambridge will
form an initial federation of institutions using DSpace and
co-ordinate its further development. “The DSpace Federation
of academic research institutions will work together to decide
how the DSpace system and service model should evolve over time.
We are absolutely delighted to have Cambridge University involved,
both because of their expertise and as a representative of the
interests of UK HE institutions in our decisions” said MacKenzie
Smith, Director of DSpace at MIT.
The system has been made freely available as open source software,
and will thus enable any other institutions to install DSpace
for themselves. For more information see the DSpace@Cambridge
website at www.lib.cam.ac.uk/dspace
See also Preserving our past: A joint digital repository project for University and MIT, a University of Cambridge press release.