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U Illinois Creates Digital Repository With Open Source Software

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has a new way to manage its digital assets. The library at the 42,000-student university recently implemented a digital archive system to store and preserve intellectual property and digital content created by its students, faculty, and administrators.

UIUC's new digital repository is based on a solution that combines DuraSpace Open Source Fedora Commons Repository Software with Dell DX Object Storage Platform, according to a statement released last week by Dell. The system is designed to scale with the university's content needs.

"This opportunity provides us with extra resources to further the development of the Library’s digital preservation archive," said Thomas Habing, research programmer for the library, in the prepared statement. "It also allows us to continue to utilize Open Source Fedora Commons Repository Software while at the same time employing a commercially-supported object storage platform with many digital preservation features, such as replication and validation, which we will not need to implement ourselves."

The system automatically creates two copies of each file to be stored in the repository—an archive master and a working master. One copy is stored in the main library cluster while the second file is kept in the engineering library. In the future, the system will create a third copy, which will be stored in a cloud drive.

Dell's storage platform manages the archive using metadata, which identifies files that need to be converted to new digital formats. The platform is designed to allow archivists to add capacity, as needed, so meet the university's storage needs.

"With the transition from stacks and the Dewey Decimal system to bytes, clusters and metadata, academic libraries need a digital archiving strategy that addresses their immediate and future needs," said John Mullen, vice president of education and state and local government at Dell, in the prepared statement. "The University of Illinois’ innovative and open approach to this challenge is a practical model for any university.”

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].

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