Contribute to the DSpace Development Fund

The newly established DSpace Development Fund supports the development of new features prioritized by DSpace Governance. For a list of planned features see the fund wiki page.

Title (Goal)Structure - Describe Individual Bitstream within an Item
Primary ActorSystem
Story (A paragraph or two describing what happens)

Users and Tools should be able to attach metadata descriptions to Bitstreams. Users should be able to select from Metadata Fields similar to those found in Item to provides description of Bitstreams. Will also Bitstreams metadata to be more granular. Examples of usage:

  • Identify descriptive metadata for separate files (source, author, title, description)
  • Identify format specific metadata for separate files (dataset variables, number of records, dataset aggregate statistics, data sources)
  • Identify relationships between bitstreams (page order, parent/child, same as)




  1. We have implement custom theme code based on bitstream descriptions.  For instance, streamable media with a separate authentication method is flagged so that a still image can be presented to the user before authentication.  See as an example.

    We have also used the bitstream description to differentiate auto generated thumbnails from manually curated thumbnails.

  2. Yes, I think it would be helpful to have the flexibility to easily indicate which Data Creators were associated with which Bitstreams. It would also be helpful to be able to include at the very least some description for an individual bitstream in the batch import. We currently have a project where we are trying to automatically extract metadata for a very large number of files (photos) and use this for batch import. Not being able to label an individual photo with its own metadata (just a bit of text would be better than nothing, since we could include keywords and the name of the photographer) is forcing us to seriously consider having a separate Item for each individual photo, which is going to make it rather laborious for users to click through many layers of collections and communities to be able to explore the photos. 

  3. As a note, in DSpace 5, the data model was updated to allow for metadata on all objects.  This means that at the API & database level, it is already possible to attach (Dublin Core or similar) metadata to Bitstreams. But no user interfaces exist yet for this functionality.

    That all being said, this seems like a very worthwhile use case, which is made easier because of those changes in DSpace 5.

    Another related (but more generic) use case: Structure - Metadata for all levels of object hierarchy

    This use case on "bundles" may also be related, in that the concept of "bundles" may be replaceable by simply better supporting metadata on bitstreams: Structure - purpose of bundle layer

  4. DSpace-CRIS 5/6 allows edit of metadata on any DSpaceObject using the same administrative edit UI available for the item.

    In DSpace 7 we propose to address that in a more user friendly way, during the deposit,  see Submission wizard