A New Institutional Repository:

Building from the Ground Up

Julie D. Shedd

Digital Initiatives Librarian

Mary Ann Jones

Electronic Resources Librarian

In this presentation...

  • The Foundation
     
  • The Implementation
     
  • The Future
     
  • Lessons Learned

The Foundation

2012-2013:
Strategic Planning

http://guides.library.msstate.edu/scholcomm

  • Library Administrative Council writes and releases a four-year Strategic Plan, which includes goals for supporting scholarly communication
     
  • In response, library faculty and staff develop MSU's Scholarly Communication Initiative and partner with Office of Research and Economic Development
    To develop and implement a system of programs which will assist in educating the Library faculty and staff with a better understanding  of open access/author rights, data management, institutional repositories and the proper use of copyright, with the additional goal of providing these programs to the University faculty, staff, researchers and students.

The Foundation

2012-2013:
Strategic Planning

http://guides.library.msstate.edu/scholcomm

  • Key areas: Open Access; Data Management; Copyright & Fair Use; Institutional Repository
     
  • Committees established for each area, with representation from library faculty and professional staff
     
  • The plan:
    • Educate library faculty and staff
    • Educate University community
    • Recommend services to support the Initiative
    • Hire additional staff to act as "point people" for Initiative services

The Foundation

2013-2014:
Institutional Repository Committee

The Committee will develop the plan of action and the appropriate timeline for the implementation of the Institutional Repository. The Committee will develop the definition of the IR (scope), the appropriate policies, procedures, best practices, and marketing materials needed for a successful launch of the Institutional Repository.
  • Mary Ann Jones, chair
     
  • Committee includes faculty and staff from Special Collections, Research Services, Technical Services, Web Services and Systems, and the Digital Preservation and Access Unit

The Foundation

2014:
Institutional Repository Committee

Mission:

To provide the Mississippi State University (MSU) community an online open repository in which to collect research and intellectual output in order to encourage the sharing of information and dissemination of outcomes produced by MSU faculty, researchers, staff, and students. In so doing, the Institutional Repository (IR) will enhance the services and outreach efforts of the MSU Libraries and provide an open portal to share and preserve the history and ongoing research of the MSU community.
 

Goals:

  1. Educate the Committee
  2. Write policies and procedures
  3. Educate library personnel
  4. Ingest content
  5. Launch the IR

The Foundation

2014 - 2015:
Institutional Repository Committee

Preliminary Decisions

  • Software Platform
    • DSpace
       
  • Integration with current digital collections
    • DC is for donated materials and special exhibitions; IR will handle University Archives materials
       

Committee Education

The Foundation

2014 - 2015:
Institutional Repository Committee

Governing Documents:

  • Used Georgia Tech's policies, submission agreement, and terms of use as templates

 

The Foundation

2014 - 2015:
Institutional Repository Committee

More Questions:

  • What kind of content will we seek?
    Scholarly research publications and data, but also University Archives material

     
  • What size files will we accept?
    Limited by connection speeds to 2gb per file  - no limits on total bulk submission

     
  • What file formats will we accept?
    Almost anything except .exe

     
  • Who can submit?
    Anyone with an MSU NetID and NetPassword

     
  • How will we handle authentication?
    Best if users don't have to create another account
    Decided on Shibboleth

The Foundation

2014 - 2015:
Institutional Repository Committee

More Questions:

  • Who will staff it?
    Digital Initiatives Librarian (with backup from Web Services)

     
  • Will we allow access restrictions on content?
    Embargoes are allowed - Can't restrict to just MSU or tighter without significant changes

     
  • How can we maintain metadata integrity?
    Many institutions don't necessarily bother - but we will try. All submissions are mediated - periodic metadata checks

     
  • What will the content hierarchy be like?
    Played with several organizational schemes - decided on tight structure for UA, loose catch-alls for scholarly works

     
  • How will we market the IR?
    Links and news articles on library homepage; social media posts; campus-wide emails; push cards and flyers; workshops; liaisons

The Foundation

2014 - 2015:
Institutional Repository Committee

More Questions:

  • What will we name it?

MSU IR

  • April 2015:
    Digital Initiatives Librarian hired

Background:

  • 8+ years in Web Services
     
  • Specialties: User experience, front-end design, content infrastructure, some CMSs, Springshare products
     
  • ~15 years web design experience
     
  • MLIS

New Duties:

  • IR admin (customization, content, metadata, outreach, marketing)
     
  • Non-MARC metadata
     
  • Collaborative digital collections
     
  • Open access journal hosting admin
     
  • Liaison/tech support for Springshare products
     
  • Leftover Web Services projects
  • Summer - Early Fall 2015:
    • Webmaster works off-and-on installing and configuring DSpace
    • Student assistants comb MSU websites to collect archival content
    • IR Committee chair and members search open source databases
  • Fall 2015:
    • With help from webmaster, I work on customizing DSpace to committee specifications
    • Student assistants help me structure the content for import and collect metadata
    • My old Web Services position filled
  • Summer 2015:
    • Remaining Web Services Specialist leaves
      • Web Services staff remaining: the webmaster
      • I take on more WS duties

Timeline

  • Spring 2016:
    • With help from webmaster, I work on re-customizing DSpace
    • Webmaster and network admin work on stabilizing it
    • IR Committee finalizes marketing plan
    • Webmaster leaves...
      • Web Services staff remaining: 1
      • Both of us take on more WS duties
  • Thursday, April 24, 2016:
    • We soft-launch the IR
  • Winter - Early Spring 2016:
    • Overhaul of DSpace necessary

Timeline

Installing DSpace

was like...

  • DSpace is built on *nix (Linux/Unix) - uses prerequisite software built for *nix (Apache, Java, Tomcat, Maven, Ant, Perl)
     
  • We are a Windows/PC shop (campus agreement)
     
  • Documentation allows for Windows installation...but modifications were needed to accommodate our requirements
     
  • Documentation on implementing Shibboleth in this environment is scanty/misleading

Customizing DSpace

The Theme

  • Initially chose to begin with the JSPUI interface...
    and it just

would.

not.

work.

  • Eventually stopped resisting and switched to the XMLUI Mirage2 interface, and things became easier...

For a normal website:

  • Find the file
  • Edit the file
  • Save / upload
  • Refresh browser

Customizing DSpace

The Theme

For DSpace:

  • Find the file (in one of several almost-identical folders)
  • Edit the file (in a coding language you don't fully understand)
  • Save
  • Maven package
  • Ant update
  • Tomcat refresh
  • Refresh browser and hope you didn't break DSpace

Customizing DSpace

The Theme

Customizing DSpace

content Structure

  • The scheme we started with was overly complicated and confused people during testing
     
  • Moved to a much-simplified hierarchy, only allowed users to submit to one catch-all collection, taking onus off submitters to submit to the "right" collection

Customizing DSpace

Importing content

  • Not that hard...once you have the tools and know-how
    • Avoid the user interface unless you only have 1 item to add at a time - stick to command line import
       
    • For bulk imports, use SAFBuilder https://github.com/DSpace-Labs/SAFBuilder to turn a folder of files and a spreadsheet into DSpace's preferred Simple Archive Format
  • The hard part: re-importing content after breaking the theme!

Customizing DSpace

Important Features

  • Library faculty and staff request a lot of interesting features that would enhance the IR
    • ORCID integration
    • DOIs
    • More fields in submission form
    • Better embargo functionality
    • Clearer submission agreement
    • Better metadata authority control
    • Altmetric integration
    • Rich text functionality for submission form fields (for formatting)
    • etc.
       
  • ...but they require time and knowledge and patience

Customizing DSpace

Backups

  • During development, the only backup was a point-of-need snapshot of the server...
    • Every time a change broke DSpace, we had to roll back
       
    • If I didn't fix the actual problem, I was working from a bad snapshot and had to roll back even further
       
    • This is not a good backup solution for a live IR!!
       
  • Current backup solution: Nightly snapshots
     
  • Working on getting a test environment functional

Launching the IR

  • Soft launch Thursday, April 21
    • Linked it on library homepage, told library faculty/staff about it
       
  • First submission came hours later
    • ...first major error came an hour after that
       
  • Ever since, the system is...finicky
     
  • We will be doing more intense marketing soon

Community Interest

  • Very high in some sectors...
    • Social Science Research Center and related departments
    • English
    • Some of the STEM departments
       
  • ...and very low in others
    • History
    • Business
    • Some of the STEM departments
       
  • Planning outreach and education via liaisons

The Future

  • Build test environment and work on new features
     
  • Market the IR
     
  • Continue to offer workshops and develop new training tools

...KEEP IT RUNNING,

MAKE IT BETTER!

Lessons Learned

  • "Free" doesn't mean "FREE"
    • Server, DOIs, staff time, marketing costs...
       
  • Official documentation is not comprehensive
     
  • Incremental, robust backups are vital at all stages of development
     
  • Input from librarians is essential to current implementation and to future development of DSpace - and it is lacking
     
  • The community is helpful, but best suited to programmers (not UX or librarians), and language barriers exist

Recommendations

  • Plan A LOT, read A LOT (and not just the official documentation)
     
  • Know the software
    • Make sure you understand the documentation
    • Understand what resources you need to install and run it
    • Stick as closely as possible to DSpace's "preferred environment"
       
  • Know your staff
    • What are their capabilities?
    • What are their current responsibilities?
    • Can you spare the time?
       
  • Know your community
    • What systems do they already have in place?
    • How will you be asking them to change their workflow?
    • Do they even want this? If not, can you persuade them?

Recommendations

Should we use DSpace?

Thank you!

Mississippi State University formally reiterates and reaffirms its commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity. Discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or veteran's status is a violation of federal and state law and MSU policy and will not be tolerated. Discrimination based upon sexual orientation or group affiliation is a violation of MSU policy and will not be tolerated. This nondiscrimination policy applies to all programs administered by the University. However, this policy should not be construed to infringe upon the free exchange of ideas essential to the academic environment.

Julie D. Shedd, Digital Initiatives Librarian  ||  (662) 325-0300  ||  jshedd@library.msstate.edu   || http://library.msstate.edu/juliedshedd

A New Institutional Repository: Building from the Ground Up

By Julie Shedd

A New Institutional Repository: Building from the Ground Up

The MSU Libraries began the implementation of an IR in the fall of 2014. A committee was appointed to build the IR from the ground up and tasked with researching common practices, writing policies & procedures, determining scope, and developing a marketing plan. The presentation will provide an overview of the processes and decisions on which the new MSU IR is built. We will review the implementation of DSpace and provide suggestions on how to implement it at other institutions.

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