The choice of Free and Open Source software is an important one for a community archive. Among the reasons for this are the facts that Free Software leaves communities and other users in control of the future, and that Free Software tends to be based on standards, which are both important aspects in achieving longevity, the key outcome of running an archive.
A distinction should also be made between holding an archival object and displaying it; a community digital archive should not be a web site, though a web site can be part of a community archive. The principle of separating out display, a short-term interpretive function, from the repository, a long term storage function, was considered to be key.
The choice of software eventually settled on DSpace, originally a collaboration between Hewlett Packard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It can be accessed here:- http://www.dspace.org
DSpace is in use in most of the world’s universities for various archival purposes and confirms to various standards relevant to the field. It is under active development under the direction of Duraspace, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to durable repository software.
The http://www.dspace.org web site provides training material and community assistance along with full documentation and even user groups. This makes the local provision of training to end users a lot easier.
DSpace runs under Tomcat and uses the Postgresql database.
Functionally, from the end user perspective, DSpace is quite simple and straight forward. Archival objects can be searched for and displayed via a browser or can be accessed via a web site set up to interpret archival objects.