Highly integrated Radboud Repository upgraded to DSpace 6


Bolstering commitment to open access and open source, Radboud University Nijmegen completed a major DSpace upgrade and migration to Atmire managed hosting.

As a member of the DSpace community for over 15 years, the research-intensive Dutch university has gradually built out the largest DSpace repository in the Netherlands. Of the 200,000 content items, articles are the vast majority with over 130,000. Different content types, including datasets and books, are growing in numbers as well.

During the collaboration between Radboud University and Atmire, that spans over more than 10 years, the originally in-house customized repository was repeatedly upgraded and extended. The now concluded upgrade to DSpace 6 and migration to Atmire hosting is the result of an effort where many legacy customizations were replaced by default DSpace features, and re-envisioned integrations.

Streamlining reporting and compliance

Radboud Repository was historically integrated with the university's internal research database METIS. Originally developed by Radboud University and also used at different universities in the Netherlands, METIS addresses compliance and reporting needs, both for internal and external/national purposes.

The redesigned integration between METIS and DSpace made a range of internal middleware components obsolete, that previously each required their own maintenance and presented possible points of failure.

From the perspective of Radboud University researchers, the ways to provide metadata and full text have been simplified. Bi-directional synchronization between METIS and DSpace ensures that publications only have to be entered once, and prevent duplicates.

From a data quality management point of view, automated detection, correction and enrichment builds a baseline of trustworthy data, while minimizing the need for manual corrections from library staff.

Leading the project on the Atmire side, it has been an honour for me to work with the Radboud Repository team on this upgrade. Throughout this journey, I saw exceptional commitment to transform a complex legacy ecosystem of applications and integrations to a universal, clean solution in DSpace. The acumen in the Radboud Repository team, in combination with the flexibility of DSpace, offered a lot of potential here.

We are very proud of the end result, in which we achieved substantial technical simplification and modernisation, while at the same time increasing the ease of use and stability thanks to a transition to Atmire managed hosting.

Nick Dehoux, Atmire Project Manager

Noteworthy Custom DSpace features

Among others, Atmire and the Radboud Repository team configured and customized DSpace 6 to support:

  • Indefinite embargo support to make it clear to users which files are permanently restricted
  • Hiding communities and collections from the list if users don't have access
  • PDF cover pages with clear indication which version of the article is downloaded.
  • Detailed logging of changes to bitstreams in enhanced provenance metadata
  • Full text upload interface to make it very easy to enhance existing repository items with specific full text versions
  • SURFconext federated single sign on
  • Unified administrator search and export features, to support reporting use cases
  • DSpace curation tasks for automated analysis and correction of metadata, according to business rules
  • Clearly displaying item open access status in search results
  • Export search result metadata to RIS

During the course of this project, more than once, the project team had to deal with complex issues and changing circumstances. Sometimes this sent us back to the drawing board, forcing us to re-set milestones and change our plans.

I especially appreciate Atmire's understanding and their set of skills that helped us to anticipate these change of plans. It is partly due to this attitude that we were able to reach our goals, and even more than that: DSpace 6 on Atmire managed hosting is a solid foundation on which we can build further.

Gerard Bierens, Projectmanager DSpace6 upgrade project, Radboud University Library

Leveraging Atmire Hosting

As part of the project, Radboud Repository now found a new home on Atmire managed AWS cloud servers.

Thanks to the transition hosting related responsibilities like backups, performance, availability and security to Atmire, the Radboud Repository team can focus on the areas where they can leverage specific strengths: working with users, growing collections and building out the future of the repository.

Even though the repository is Atmire hosted, the Radboud University team remains in the driver seat when it comes to the codebase, customizations and future upgrades.

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