Monday, April 12, 2010

New Model for the Institutional Repository

Jean-Gabriel Bankier and Courtney Smith, both of Berkeley Electronic Press, argue for a new model for the institutional repository, i.e. one that is integral to units on campus beyond the library, in their paper "Digital Repositories at a Crossroads: Achieving Sustainable Success through Campus-wide Engagement".

The article's conclusion:
The IR must serve the needs of its campus, or else it will contribute to its own demise. We might even suggest that to the extent that the IR fails to be successful, so may the library fail to be relevant.

At its core, the institutional repository provides access to content. It begs the questions, What content belongs in the IR? What content makes the IR most valuable? Across Digital Commons repositories, we see proof that scholarship and other creative works from across the entire continuum of scholarly content make the IR important to stakeholders on campus. The IR is at a critical juncture. It cannot limit its scope to post-prints when it holds the potential to be relevant to so many other people.

In our experience supporting the Digital Commons user community, we find that the most successful IRs are those that strive to engage a diverse set of groups across campus, specifically liaising and serving both academic and non-academic units, accepting a wide scope of content, aligning repository services with the mission of the university, and facilitating new opportunities for knowledge production and publication. These libraries effectively serve the mission of the university, the business of the university, and impact scholarly life on campus, and use the IR as both tool and demonstration of their renewed role.

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