2 February 2003

DSpace at Cambridge: Digital Archive

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.