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

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky znmeb at cesmail.net
Thu Dec 13 11:11:03 EST 2007

Bryan Berry wrote:
> 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
> http://nepal.ole.org/home/?q=node/104
> 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
> Eprints
> 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.

Is there a set of "requirements/use-cases" for such a repository 
somewhere? It might be easier to build something specifically for the 
XO, rather than modifying one of the current ones, using a rapid web 
application development toolset like Rails (Ruby) or Django (Python). I 
don't know any Django developers, but I do know a lot of Rails developers.

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