Embracing Open: Institutional Repository Migrates to DSpace 7

Jan 12, 2022 · Hope Craft

After several years of research and planning, the Iowa State University Digital Repository has migrated from the proprietary bepress Digital Commons platform to an open source DSpace instance. This migration will offer users a sleeker interface, improved search capabilities, and a more flexible repository structure, while still maintaining all the services and statistics that users have come to appreciate.  

One of the most exciting changes to the repository is the more flexible and dynamic structuring. Previously, the repository was built to model the University structure, with all the departments nested within colleges. Unfortunately, this structure got a bit messy when departments were housed within multiple colleges, faculty had multiple appointments, or interdisciplinary labs wanted to showcase their work. With this migration to DSpace, authors can easily claim all their departments and colleges, labs and centers can be added and edited on the fly, and colleges and departments can more easily track the scholarship produced by their researchers. 

Another exciting change is the prospect of self-submission. With our previous platform, the user interface was so tricky to navigate that self-submission often became a frustrating mess for authors. The interface and submission forms of our DSpace repository have been built with users in mind and in the coming months we look forward to piloting self-submission test cases with graduate students submitting Creative Components and some of our other key stakeholders on campus. 

And last, but certainly not least, our new DSpace repository can better support the University Library’s many open access publishing agreements. Previously, to ingest OA articles published under these agreements we relied on cumbersome workflows or diligent authors alerting us to new OA publications. Moving forward with DSpace we can automate the submission process with a growing number of our cooperating publishers, allowing for faster and more efficient dissemination of your scholarship. 

While a lot of things are changing, many things are staying the same. Download and location statistics have been migrated from our old platform and we are in the process of configuring monthly readership reports to keep everyone updated on their works. We are also still happy to maintain the same level of service and assist with any copyright clearance or submission work you might need. We are always interested to hear from our users, so if you have any feedback or if there are any particular features you are missing, do not hesitate to let us know by reaching out to Digital Scholarship and Repository Specialist, Hope Craft