Sydney eScholarship DSpace Repository upgrade

16/07/2020

New features and a user interface overhaul are at the center of University of Sydney's latest DSpace upgrade.

With over 20,000 items that have amassed over 20 million downloads, the Sydney eScholarship Repository (SeS) has been an important open access repository for many years. Strategically, SeS is home for both publications and datasets, similar to how institutions like the University of Cambridge and ETH Z├╝rich organise their repositories.

In the latest upgrade that went live early July 2020, the University of Sydney Library released a number of improvements developed in collaboration with Atmire. Our thanks go out to members of the client's repository project team: Kriselda Samson (Project Manager), Jennifer Stanton (Manager Digital Collections) and Gary Browne (Digital Services Engineer) for the fruitful and smooth collaboration, despite the challenging 8 hours time difference with our team in Belgium.

On the Atmire side, this project was lead by Nick Dehoux (Project Manager) and Philip Vissenaekens (Tech Lead). Developers on the project were Maria Verdonck, Kristof De Langhe and Peter Nijs. Jolien Deroost and David Cavrenne contributed to analysis and testing.

User interface overhaul

The upgraded user interface aligns with university branding and accessibility guidelines. For this purpose, University of Sydney's Francisco Acosta and Mark Ollis produced an impressive 44 page specification document, with minute eye for detail for both the desktop and mobile user experience of the site. For Atmire, it was a true honour and pleasure to implement a spec as thoughtful and thorough as this one.

For the design of the homepage, the library opted to expose both simple search and advanced search, followed by large and clear links to the most essential browse features. The repository statistics are provided by Atmire's Content and Usage Analysis module.

Export items and search results

A prominent new feature for SeS is the ability to export metadata into different bibliographic formats, both from the search results page as well as item pages. This is a flagship feature of Atmire's Open Repository platform that was ported to the client's specific, customized DSpace codebase.

From the client's UX perspective, the options to modify the list of search results that are tucked away behind a gear icon in a standard DSpace, had to be made more prominently visible here. This way, it becomes immediately clear to the user that the results are sorted by an algorithm for relevance, and that the user has the power to alter this.

As part of the listing of an item, in a list of search results, the University of Sydney also opted to make the open access status, as well as the type, more prominently visible. This indicator is not just a rendering of a metadata field. If there are no bitstreams on the item, the indicator is omitted altogether, as all open access information is derived from the bitstream. "Open Access" is rendered once there is a read policy for the anonymous group on a bitstream. The other two options are "Embargoed", if there is an embargo on the bitstream and "USyd Access", if the item belongs to a collection that is only accessible by university staff and students.

In addition to the open access status, the item pages put a strong emphasis on access to the files and the permalinks.


The University of Sydney has the interest of its users at heart, which allowed me to participate in one of the most extensive DSpace interface revision projects ever performed. Indeed, just a few clicks through the eScholarship repository show that the user interaction is strongly focussed at usability and accessibility. I'm proud to have been a part of the library's amazing team and to have ended up with such a beautiful end result.

Nick Dehoux, Atmire Project Manager

Did you know?

Are you aware that Atmire also provides support, upgrade and customization services for locally hosted, on-prem repositories that are entirely controlled and operated by your institution? In this type of collaboration, virtually any desired feature can be added to your repository, including entirely new ones, Atmire's add-on modules and other customizations we may have already created that you are currently unaware of. Visit our Custom DSpace page to learn more and contact us today.