On Nov 16, 2007, at 3:40 AM, Christophe Dupriez wrote:
Dear Michele (copy to the community),
May be I am basically wrong seing DSpace as a community of practice making a tool to promote the dissemination of the "good" Open Repositories practices.
No. I think your right on in this regard, but just not "one tool", many tools that work collaboratively. Yet, also to be a good participant in a larger community of existing tools and platforms.
If I understand correctly your plans, DSpace is primarily a community of developpers where users requirements are tackled inside individual institutions and "mostly technical" problems are shared outside. I am sorry that my "dream" is different but I will play the "real game" ! I will follow the Claudia Juergen's advice: "Small contributions are beautiful".
I think we need to "be careful" about these definitions. The DSpace Community is a reflection of what its members need and want in an organization of users, managers and developers around the DSpace platform. The most salient roadblock to increasing the transmission of community enhancements into the codebase is that DSpace was basically a monolithic platform with a centralized build process. A significant bottleneck existed (and may still exist until we have a SCM and Issue tracking system that is scalable in terms of Access control) in that the "commiters" managing the process of reviewing and getting changes into the codebase supplied by the community as "patches".
The developers who are "commiters" are so because they want to participate more intimately with the future direction of DSpace. The previous viewpoint that "commiters" were basically "servants" or "gate-keepers" to the contributor community is both ill-fitting and unrealistic because a large number of the "commiters" are actually emeritus in their behavior and not very active, leaving much of the work in the role of "gate-keeper" actually to the newly elected commiters. Thus the "paradox" and the "bottleneck". The actual and ideal "maintainers", "shepherds" or "stewards" of the community are not on the continuum of "commiter vs. contributor", but actually on the continuum of "active vs. inactive"! We need a better process for shifting the dial to the "active" side.
To be constructive and pragmatic, my main technical challenge remains: adding "thesaurus based" query expansion to DSpace to be able to mimic PubMed searches exhaustivity and precision in DSpace (we now have 75 thousands documents in our internal repository. MeSH is 30 thousands subjects headings). I will keep focused on this.
You should be more aggressive in participating "in the community" on something like this, prod the community to get more participation, and be flexible about the final outcome. I think you'll find that there are other developers in the community with the same interest. It would behoove you and them to get out of the woodwork and have real transparent conversations together on the community lists (hint hint, nudge nudge, Richard Rodgers).
Mark R. Diggory - DSpace Systems Manager
MIT Libraries, Systems and Technology Services
Massachusetts Institute of Technology