Roy Tennant, University of California

While I was very interested in all of the talks in the social computing track today, I really wanted to expand my knowledge of certain topics that I know very little about. I knew that Roy would be likely to give a very practical nuts-and-bolts introduction to developing institutional repositories and I was certainly not disappointed.

Why do it?

  • Allows you to capture the intellectual output of an institution and provide it freely to others (pre-prints, post-prints, things that folks have the rights to archive). Many publishers allow authors to publish their work in archives either as a pre-print or after the fact.
  • To increase exposure and use of an institution’s intellectual capital. It can increase their impact on a field. More citations from open access and archived materials.
  • To increase the reputation of your institution.

How do you do it?

  • Don’t enter into this lightly. Get a clear commitment from your institution and management. This is a very long-term project.
  • Obtain funding and staffing. If you don’t have the staffing, you will need to throw more money at it. You will need to not only develop the repository, but market it to faculty and students.
  • Select software.
  • Install and configure. Some may require more configuration than others
  • Create policies and procedures
  • Promote it tirelessly. The hardest part is often getting people to use the repository and add their stuff.
  • Provide training and support.

Software options

  • Digital Commons – owned by ProQuest. Created originally by at Berkeley. This is what Roy’s folks use at the University of California System and they were actually the first implementation. It’s easy to upload documents and full online peer-review process is available. However, this is not open source and does cost money. It’s also a hosted solution.
  • DSpace – open source. Created by HP and MIT. Most widely implemented IR solution, so there is a major community of people to ask questions of and work with. However, it is complicated and doesn’t include online peer review capability.
  • ePrints – open source
  • ePubs – open source
  • Fedora – open source

Roy showed us how his system works by uploading a document into the system. It looks quite easy to use. When you upload a Word file, the system creates a PDF which is all that is available to those who wish to read the paper.

Key decisions

  • What types of content do you want to accept (just documents? PPT files, lesson plans, etc?)
  • How will you handle copyright?
  • Will you charge for service? Or for specific value-added services?
  • What will the division of responsibilities be?
  • What implementation model will you adopt?
  • You will need to develop a policy document that covers these issues and more.

Implementation models

  • Self archiving – ceaselessly championed by Stevan Harnad. Authors upload their own work into institutional respositories. Most faculty don’t want to do this.
  • Overlay – new system (IR) overlays the way people normally do things. Typically faculty give their work to an administrative assistant to put it on the Web. Now, the repository folks train the admin assistant to upload to the repository instead. Content is more likely to be deposited than if faculty have to do it. However, there may be a lot of turnover among staff so replacements will have to be trained.
  • Service provider – not a model for a large institution. Library will upload papers for faculty. The positives is that works are much more likely to be deposited. The negative is that it’s a lot of work and won’t scale.

Who should do it? Project manager, system administrator, application administrator, promoter trainer.

Discovery options: Most traffic comes from Google searches, but only for repositories that are easily crawlable and have a unique URL for each document. OAI aggregators like have millions and millions of records. They harvest metadata from many repositories. Some may come direct to the repository, but most people will not come there looking for something specific. Citations will drive traffic back to the repository.

Barriers to success:

  • Lack of institutional commitment
  • Faculty apathy (lack of adoption and use)
  • If it is difficult to upload content, people won’t use it.
  • If you don’t implement it completely or follow through it will fail.

Strategies for Success

  • Start with early adopters and work outward.
  • Market all the time. Make presentations at division meetings and stuff
  • Seek institutional mandates
  • Provide methods to bulk upload from things already living in other databases
  • Make it easy for people to participate. Reduce barriers and technical/policy issues.
  • Build technological enhancements to make it ridiculously easy for people to upload their content.

Indicators of success: New adopters, continuous uploading of content, increased traffic.

Advice: This is a huge project and requires real commitment. Don’t just do because it’s the hot new thing. Don’t do it without a strong institutional commitment. Make sure that your project is sustainable. Review the experiences of others. Consider your implementation model and don’t make it hard for people to add their content to the repository.