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Repository Technical Support Service

The Australian National University and The University of Queensland

For those people considering travelling down the open source road, help is at hand. APSR offers a technical support service for both DSpace and Fez+Fedora. The Repository Technical Support Service is for education and research institutions that have implemented or are considering implementing a repository service. It ensures reliable technical support for the initial wave of repository adoption and configuration for the RQF.

Support for open source software differs from commercial software in that there is no designated vendor to speak to. Mature open source software projects do, however, have active technical discussion lists and tend to form supportive communities in the higher education sector. For most adopters of open source software, this kind of support is more than enough, especially once the system is up and running.

During 2007, APSR is continuing to fill the gap for those who do need more assistance during those initial stages. The Repository Technical Support Service will help institutions with the flurry of set-up and configuration activity leading up to RQF. This is a free service subsidised by APSR’s funding under the Systemic Information Infrastructure. Extensive customisation and consultation are not within the scope of the APSR service, but may be available commercially from experienced repository services. Assistance for that kind of support could fall under DEST’s ASHER scheme, details of which are forthcoming.

Into the future, users of open source repositories will receive support from their community or from service providers at normal market rates. This will be a step towards sustainable support for DSpace and Fez+Fedora open source repository software. Hosted services are already available for both Fez+Fedora and DSpace.

The tertiary sector is increasingly using open source software, particularly in areas where ideas, requirements and (consequently) systems are still evolving rapidly. The open source option allows flexibility of low initial capital investment in unknown waters. If customisations are not required, open source software can be used “out of the box”, and the only major costs involved are the system administrators (who are likely to be already maintaining other enterprise systems anyway). System administrators are required for commercial software too, unless a hosting solution is offered.

Other support options include service providers that offer commercially-based support services for open source software. Another popular hybrid model is for a service provider to offer hosted services for open source software. This provides a turn-key solution, with a great exit strategy, as the digital assets and the software are all open. Some open source projects even offer central support in return for membership fees.


Project Manager: Margaret Henty

Read more Repository Technical Support Service (CosiD)(pdf 40.47kb)
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