• Introduction

    DSpace repositories are digital archives that preserve and present research data online. A DSpace repository is generally connected to one or more institutions such as universities or research centers.

  • Repository structure

    A repository is organised into a hierarchical structure of communities, sub-communities and collections, intended to correspond to an organisational hierarchy. Communities represent the top layer, which could reflect top-level departments, schools, centres or even smaller institutions within a parent company or consortium. Sub communities are a further division of the community. Collections are groups of related documents. It's essentially a simple file system that allows for as many layers as required.

    For example, we could have ten communities representing different departments. One of these communities is History another, Biology. The History community has no sub communities but it has a number of collections within it, each representing a different century. On the other hand, the Biology community is divided into a number of sub-communities: Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Structural Biology. Each one of these sub-communities will have their own collections that gather together the works of a specific research lab.

    Each community, sub-community and collection has its own home page which can be customised with an individual logo and information about their work and will be able to decide its own policies towards access restrictions and at the collection level who will be allowed to be able to submit.

  • Do you need to register?

    This depends on the repository and what you would like to do. In most cases, you can browse and search items without having to be logged on. In some cases, to actually download the files connected to an item, you have to be logged on (and have access to the item). However if you want to submit an item, view restricted content or sign up for collection email alerts you will need to register, as you would with any site.

There are two principal ways of finding content within this repository: searching and browsing.

Use the search bar on top of each page to search through the repository. After submitting your search, you will be led to the so called 'Discovery' page. Here you can find your search results and refine your search query if necessary.

Optionally, you can refine your search query on the Discovery page by using the "Filters" section. To expand this section, click the "Show Advanced Filters" link. Here you can specify what metadata field should contain or equal a specific value.

By clicking the cog wheel on the top right corner of the search results, you can specify the way the results should be ordered.

You will find that there is an additional search box on each community, sub-community and collection home page. This search box will allow you to carry out a simple search at that level of hierarchy or any level below it using a drop down menu.

Here are a few tips on searching:

  • The site search box

    Search terms entered in the site search box will be searched against all indexed metadata fields ; as well as the full text for PDFs, Microsoft Word documents and RTF files.

  • What is not searched - stop words

    The search engine ignores certain words that occur frequently in English, but do not add value to the search. These are: "a", "and" , "are" , "as" , "at" , "be" , "but" , "by" , "for" , "if" , "in" , "into", "is" ,"it" ,"no" , "not" , "of" , "on" , "or" , "such", "the" , "to" , "was"

  • Truncation

    Use an asterisk (*) after a word stem to get all hits having words starting with that root, for example:


    will retrieve selects, selector, selectman, selecting etc

  • Stemming

    The search engine automatically expands words with common endings to include plurals, past tenses ...etc.

  • Phrase searching

    To search using multiple words as a phrase, put quotation marks (") around the phrase, for example:

    "organisational change".

  • Eliminate items with unwanted words

    Put a minus (-) sign before a word if it should not appear in the search results. Alternatively, you can use NOT. This can limit your search to eliminate unwanted hits. For instance, in the search:

    training -cat or training NOT cat

    you will get items containing the word "training", except those that also contain the word "cat".

  • Boolean searching

    The following Boolean operators can be used to combine terms. Note that they must be CAPITALIZED ! AND - to limit searches to find items containing all words or phrases combined with this operator, e.g.

    cats AND dogs

    will retrieve all items that contain BOTH the words "cats" and "dogs". OR - to enlarge searches to find items containing any of the words or phrases surrounding this operator

    cats OR dogs

    will retrieve all items that contain EITHER the words "cats" or "dogs". NOT - to exclude items containing the word following this operator, e.g.

    training NOT cat

    will retrieve all items that contain the word "training" EXCEPT those also containing the word "cat". Parentheses can be used in the search query to group search terms into sets, and operators can then be applied to the whole set, e.g.

    (cats OR dogs) AND (training OR discipline)

The various browse options are listed on the top right of the right-hand navigation bar.

  • Browse by 'Communities & Collections'

    This link will display the repository's full community and collection hierarchy.

  • Other 'Browse by' menu links

    Below the 'Communities & Collections' browse link, multiple other browse categories can be found. Each of those browse links will bring you to a page with a list of possible values for this field. You can switch between browse lists, and choose different ordering and display options or jump to a specific location within the list.

  • Browse within communities and collections

    Each community and collection has additional browse options within it. Browsing a community will also browse any sub-communities or collections within it.

  • How can you submit a new item?

    First, make sure you are logged in. Using the 'Submissions' links from the navigation bar or the 'Submit a new item to this collection' from the collection homepage follow the steps: add descriptive metadata, upload the file, check the submission and agree to the distribution license. There is an additional option to automatically populate some of the metadata using (for example) PubMed, Elsevier ScienceDirect or Scopus source import.

  • Will my submission appear immediately?

    Some collections will have a review workflow where an editor will check your submission before it enters the archive. Otherwise your submission will enter the archive as soon as you have agreed to the distribution license.

    An item's metadata is available for searching immediately, the full text will be indexed over-night and will be available to be searched the following morning.