[Olpc-open] Working on a repository system for Nepal's OLPC pilot

Bryan Berry bryan.berry at gmail.com
Thu Dec 13 08:34:46 EST 2007

I have put a lot of work these two weeks into building a prototype
library for Nepal's pilot of OLPC. It is my understanding from an e-mail
conversation with S.J. that OLPC hasn't decided on a repository system
for the library. For the time being I am much more concerned about the
back-end of the library than the user interface. I don't think that it
will be incredibly hard to design a simple user interface for kids to
search a repository. The harder part is to find a powerful back-end that
will be able to accommodate our needs as they grow over time.

I have posted an image of the prototype on to OLE Nepal's blog

I think this current UI will be good for teachers. I will need a much
simpler one for kids.

After some cursory research, there appear to be three leading
open-source repository systems


Dspace -- used in OpenCourseWare, and

fedora -- not to be confused with Fedora Linux 

I will also be testing out the DiVA repository set up by SF State some
time next week, thanks to Sameer Verma. I had to get something up and
running by this Friday (Dec. 14th) per a self-imposed deadline.

Being the incredibly lazy person that I am, I did not go to the trouble
of installing and testing each one of these repositories. Instead I
spent half a day reading reviews, blog posts, and news group discussions
comparing various repository packages. After reading this evaluation of
the leading three repository systems and watching this video, I decided
to try out fedora.

After many painful hours I got fedora set up. Actually, it is quite easy
to set up fedora, which is a pure web service. I found installing the
most popular UI Fez rather difficult to get set up. I see this
decoupling of service and UI as a strong positive in fedora's favor. We
need a very simple kid-friendly UI for kids, a more advanced one for
teachers, and a very advanced one for the people who will load materials
into the library. 

I would love to hear from someone who actually knows about repository
systems and can explain to me the benefits of one system over another. I
will be in the US for 5 weeks starting Dec 16th and one of my goals will
be to really understand online libraries so I can build an awesome one
for Nepal. 

I have put a rough install guide on how to set up fedora with the Fez UI
on Ubuntu. There are already install guides for fedora and Fez but I
encountered several problems during the install. 

So, I would love to hear from people who actually know about these kinds
of systems. 

By the way, e-Pustakalaya means "e-Library" in Nepali. The title in the
upper-left of the screenshot reads the same in Devnagari script.

Bryan W. Berry
External Relations Manager
OLE Nepal, http://www.olenepal.org

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