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Institutional Repositories
 

Institutional Repositories

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  • Thank you. Now, if there is time, we'll be happy to take any questions you have.
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  • The single most pressing challenge facing institutional repositories today concerns content recruitment. The current system of scholarly communication is well established. To be successful institutional repositories need to occupy a more central role in scholarly communication, and to do that, they must be populated with material that scholars find relevant.

    Many institutions have found that while faculty are often enthusiastic about the prospect of establishing an institutional repository; actual participation in the form of contributing content to the repository is far more haphazard. While a variety of explanations have been offered for this, one of the most basic reasons is that researchers are focused on their work and communicating with colleagues, not on building a repository for their institution. In light of this realization, institutional repositories have begun exploring ways to boost participation.

    Education of the faculty and other researchers about the goals of the repository and the benefits of making their work more freely available are, of course, crucial. But, in general, such efforts have not been sufficient, and we can expect to see increasing use of other outreach methods in the future.

    One option is to work toward establishing policies that mandate the deposit of certain types of materials in the institutional repository, along the lines of the recent mandate adopted by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard.

    A second approach is to introduce a mediated deposit service in which librarians supply a range of services including digitization of paper items and individual copyright counseling. In such a system, librarians will also submit items on behalf of contributors in an attempt to lower the barrier to participation. The library where Wendy and I work is in the process of developing a repository now, and is attempting to address this by building procedures that will make contribution as easy as possible for researchers by taking responsibility for much of the “busy work” out of their hands.

    Another likely area for future development is the creation of services that allow contributors and others to build a network for sharing learning materials and collaborating with colleagues at their institution. Such an approach would also help create a more meaningful context for some of the materials currently housed in institutional repositories that do not appear to hold immediate scholarly value.

    Overall, it’s an exciting time to be working with institutional repositories, although there are serious challenges to be met. As more institutions establish them and improve techniques for both filling their repositories with quality scholarly content and helping researchers use the material in them, we can expect institutional repositories to play an increasingly important role in scholarly communication and in the intellectual life of our research institutions.
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  • This last step, that of researchers actually using the information housed in institutional repositories is a critical element to their success. In order to occupy a meaningful place in the process of scholarly communication, institutional repositories need to fit in with the overall scholarly landscape and not just be isolated outposts housing documents that are difficult to discover and unused by researchers.

    The use of OAI-PMH compliant metadata makes it possible for the contents of institutional repositories to be discovered by researchers using any number of search interfaces.

    Probably the most well known of these is OAIster, a service that allows users to search across more than a thousand contributing repositories. Similar capability is available through searching directories of institutional repositories like OpenDOAR. Repository content can also be found through specialized search engines like Scirus, or by using Google.

    There a few challenges related to searching for material in institutional repositories, however. First, while the use of unqualified Dublin Core makes interoperability possible, it also limits the degree of precision one can use in a search. Another issue is the fact that institutional repositories contain all manner of documents, some of great scholarly value and some with minimal scholarly relevance. These issues likely underlie the somewhat disappointing levels of use by scholars, and are among the challenges that institutional repositories must struggle with in order to become truly successful.
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  • So, your new repository software has been selected and set up on your server … but how exactly does it work? A couple of weeks ago, Candy discussed the Open Archival Information System model. This same model structures the workflow of an institutional repository.

    Let’s start at the beginning. A well-informed faculty member with a strong commitment to open access (thanks, no doubt, to her library’s persuasive information sessions) has just finished a paper, for example. When submitting it for publication in the journal of her choice she has taken care to amend the journal’s copyright transfer agreement to allow her to deposit a post-print copy of her article in her college’s repository.

    After publication in the journal, she takes the post-print PDF of her paper (known in the terms of the OAIS model as a Submission Information Package), and deposits it in her college’s customized DSpace system by entering the required metadata and uploading the file.

    Once the file is ingested into the system, a repository librarian reviews, verifies, and edits the item, and clears copyright and licensing issues or turns these questions back to the submitting faculty member. Metadata is added and the object is stored in the system in accordance with digital preservation standards. The Archival Information Package, as it is now called, is now searchable by community, date, title, author, and subject.

    A few weeks later, when a colleague searching for our researcher’s paper queries the repository, either using the local interface or a harvester such as OAIster, the item is called up as a Dissemination Information Package and served up to them on their desktop. Surrounding and supporting this workflow are policies, procedures, services, and the technical infrastructure required to maintain this system.
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  • DSpace is by far the most commonly used institutional repository system. It can run on most web servers, and it is probably the system that is best placed to take advantage of the benefits open source software, since it has the largest and most open development community. It is well documented and has a very active users group. These circumstances make it much easier for new users to find assistance when starting up.

    The concept of a community of users supporting the software was built into the system. DSpace actually integrates a user community into the system architecture, an approach none of the other platforms have taken. This allows for the various departments of a research institution to participate in a way that is customizable to the needs of each separate unit.

    DSpace also has the benefit of being created by MIT and Hewlett-Packard, with some ongoing financial support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This has drawn the involvement of eight core universities that are working to evaluate DSpace in the context of various research institutions. All of this collaborative work means that a rich feature-set has developed that is compatible with the needs of such institutions, most notably a focus on long-term preservation of research materials.

    Finally, ongoing support is an institutionalized priority. Last year a non-profit foundation was created by MIT and Hewlett-Packard to provide support for the growing DSpace community.
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    Institutional Repositories Institutional Repositories Presentation Transcript

    • Institutional Repositories Wendy Brown Jen Langley Joshua Parker October 2, 2008 LIS 462: Digital Libraries (Schwartz) Graduate School of Library & Information Science Simmons College, Boston, MA
    • Institutional Repositories What is an Institutional Repository? Institutional repositories [are] ... digital collections capturing and preserving the intellectual output of a single or multi-university community. (Crow, 2002). A university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution. (Lynch, 2003)
    • Institutional Repositories Institutional Repositories are: • Centered around a university (other academic institution) and contain items which are the scholarly output of that institution • A collection of (digital) objects, in a variety of formats • Include works of various degrees of scholarly authority and from various stages in the process of scholarly inquiry. In addition to published works, an IR may include preprints, theses & dissertations, images, data sets, working papers, course materials,or anything else a contributor deposits • Typically motivated by a commitment to open access
    • Institutional Repositories IRs & Digital Libraries Institutional Repositories Digital Libraries • Are organized around a • May be built around any particular institutional number of organizing community principles (often topic, • Often are dependent upon subject, or discipline) the voluntary • Are the product of a contribution of deliberate collection materials by scholars for development policy the content in their • Typically include an collection important service • Are mainly repositories aspect (reference and and therefore may only research assistance, offer limited user interpretive content, or services special resources.)
    • Institutional Repositories Origins & Development OA Open access movement and free scholarly communication Disciplinary Repositories Software development Institutional Repositories Legal and Institutional Deposit Policies
    • Institutional Repositories Starting & Maintaining an IR Steps to Building an IR Key Issues: 1. Justify the relevance to the • Faculty buy-in institution and contributors • Submission polices • Intellectual Property 2. Develop a policy issues framework. How will we • Mediated deposit find this content and • Metadata what will we do with it? • OAI-PMH compliant systems 3. Build the infrastructure • Specialized staff • Outreach and Liaison Bonus: Get institutional support and a mandate. services
    • Institutional Repositories Four Widely Used Systems Produced by Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress), focused on maintaining scholarly output. Not open source. Developed at the University of Southampton (UK). Widely considered to be the least complex of the major repository software platforms. Developed at Cornell and University of Virginia. Based on a framework known as the Flexible Extensible Digital Object and Repository Framework. Designed by MIT and Hewlett-Packard to manage the intellectual output of research institutions and provide for long-term preservation.
    • Institutional Repositories DSpace
    • Institutional Repositories How Does an IR Work? Submission and Ingestion contributor metadata formatting copyright Post-Submission quality metadata (DC) Intellectual Property issues User Query Ongoing workflows Preservation Administration Data Management System customization
    • Institutional Repositories Searching Across Multiple IRs The use of OAI- PMH compliant metadata permits “one stop shopping”
    • Institutional Repositories Future & Challenges “We can open an empty library building, and we can market its existence all over creation, but the mere act of doing so won't fill the shelves!” (Dorthea Salo) Librarians care about open access, while researchers care primarily about their field. How do we ensure that investigators contribute to and use materials in institutional repositories? The Next Steps: • Content Recruitment and Advocacy • Mandates • Mediated Deposit • Networked communities of teaching and learning
    • Institutional Repositories Questions? Annotated resource guide available at: http://web.simmons.edu/~parker1/ coursework/LIS462_IR_resource_guide.pdf