Solving the Repository Sustainability Problem

Posted: January 16, 2010 in ala midwinter 2009, conferences, digital libraries
Tags: , ,

This session examined the experiences of three different schools in maintaining and marketing their institutional repositories.

 

Michelle Harper

OCLC Moderator

Director of Special Collections

 

Sarah L. Shreeves

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Coordinator for the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS)

http://www.ideals.illinois.edu/

 

The library manages the front-end and services portions of the project. Campus IT handles the infrastructure. This project has always had strong administrative support. This is a DSpace-based repository, and it houses content from departments across campus. There have been 1.2 million downloads from the repository.

 

They are shifting their thinking from a repository-centered focus to a services-centered focus. The idea of just filling a box with stuff is a dead end. They think in terms of both services and collections. This is a substantial shift in thinking which is something of a trend in this field.

 

IDEALS is leading the way in the library’s other digital preservation efforts. Existing policies and procedures can be applied where applicable. Technical reports and occasional papers are added to IDEALS. It’s becoming more fully integrated into campus workflows.

 

They have tried to eliminate bureaucracy and enable departments to add content on their own. When collections are set up for departments, the departments are given free reign to develop their own policies and procedures. The managers have tried to help weave it into the fabric of the university.

 

They are also looking at serving non-traditional users and special missions of the university.

 

They try to think about the roles of their repository: access, dissemination, and long-term preservation.

 

MacKenzie Smith

MIT Libraries

Associate Director for Technology

http://dspace.mit.edu/

 

The managers of MIT’s project think of the institutional repository as part of the library’s mission of preserving university-generated content.

 

The repository has 40-50 thousand documents of high-quality content.

The success of a repository depends on how well you define, use, and market the repository.

 

If you look at it simply as a piece of infrastructure, it’s cheaper than your link resolver. If you look at it as a suite of services that are critical to the future of your organization, it has to be sustainable.

 

Conflating the institutional repository with things like open access is a mistake. You cannot pin the success of one on the success of another. Just because one is (or is not) successful, that doesn’t necessarily apply to the other.

 

How are we going to define success in terms of financial sustainability?

Are libraries comfortable with the blurring of the lines between libraries, museums, and archives?

What are the added value services?

Is it realistic for libraries to be in charge of their own technology fate?

Is it even useful to talk about institutional repositories outside of the context of libraries in general?

 

People don’t visit IRs just to see what an institution produced recently. They come because of a subject or because of types of content.

 

Catherine Mitchell

Directory, Publishing Services

California Digital Library

http://www.cdlib.org/

 

What might a sustainable IR look like?

Viable financial model

Interoperable design

Relevant

 

Even within one’s own infrastructure, the IR should be able to connect to other infrastructures.

 

We have to understand the nature of value in relation to academic research.

Who are the users and what do they need? It’s not enough to just build a place for stuff.

 

The managers realized that they weren’t engaging with their users. The IR only had 30,000 total documents while the university was producing more than 26,000 documents per year.

 

Ideological and practical irrelevance

Few on campus understood the term open access

Fewer seemed to understand or feel comfortable with the term repository

Virtually no one had heard of eScholarship (the brand name of this institution’s repository)

 

There was a need for support for:

Campus-based journal and monographic publishing programs

Multimedia publications

Data sets

Conferences

Non-traditional publications

 

In other words . . . Needs=value.

 

A rebranding initiative was conducted with a new focus on:

Providing a targeted and compelling publishing services infrastructure

Integrating those services into the scholarly research lifecycle

 

IR Deposit is a natural by-product of services rendered, rather than an end in itself.

 

Reinventing the IR as open access publisher

 

eScholarship Site Redesign

Emphasize services, not policy

Contextualization of content: engaging with problems of authority and legitimacy

Enhance research tools and publication display

Remain true to our development philosophy of simplicity, generalizability, and scalability

 

Enhanced publishing services

Journals, books, conference papers, seminars

 

Marketing: What’s in it for the faculty?

Keep your copyright

Reach more readers

Publish when you want to

Protect your work’s future

 

Value Propositions

To enable scholars to have direct control over the creation and dissemination of the full range of their work.

To provide solutions for current and emerging scholarly publishing needs within UC that aren’t met by traditional publishing models.

Toa coordinate with UC Press to provide a sustainable publishing model that extends the University’s capacity to disseminate its creative output to the world.

 

Questions about formats for archiving and data migration

IDEALS offers three tiers of preservation support. Under the highest level of preservation support, there is an effort to maintain the viability, renderability, understandability, and functionality of the original digital object. For more information, see the IDEALS Digital Preservation Support Policy.

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Comments
  1. Sarah Shreeves says:

    Hi – Just to clarify my statements about preservation. We do offer three tiers of preservation support – bit level preservation for all items in the repository, and two additional levels of support that are dependent on the file format type. See the IDEALS Digital Preservation Support Policy for more information: https://services.ideals.illinois.edu/wiki/bin/view/IDEALS/PreservationSupportPolicy

    Sarah

    • surferblue says:

      Sarah, thanks for the clarification. I’ve updated my write-up to include some information from and a link to the IDEALS Digital Preservation Support Policy.

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