User:Chisenga/Temp/Introduction to institutional iepositories.doc

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search


  • To introduce participants to the concepts of Institutional Repositories and Open Access Archives


The adoption and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in research institutions has resulted in more and more information resources being generated primarily in digital format. While the storage, organization and preservation of print-based information resources has a long history and is well established and institutionalized in research institutions, in form of libraries, documentation centres and archives; this is not the case with documents generated primarily in digital format. In most research institutions there are no systems in place to capture and store documents in digital format and the institutions are losing the knowledge and information that does not find its way into the main communication channels for outputs of research, i.e. scholarly journals and conference proceedings.

To address the above problem, institutions, especially academic institutions, are setting up institutional repositories (IRs).

Institutional Repositories

An institutional repository is defined as a database with a set of services to capture, store, index, preserve and redistributes an institution’s research outputs in digital formats[1]. The objectives of an institutional repository are:

  • To provide open access to institutional materials, i.e. research reports, articles, technical reports, annual reports, seminar papers, etc
  • To offer the opportunity for long term storage and preservation of digital assets
  • To aid the management of often easily forgotten (grey) literature such as research reports, technical reports, etc

Publication of research reports in journals and conference proceedings reflects positively on the research institutions, and institutional repositories complement existing metrics for gauging institutional productivity and prestige[2]. Institutional repositories are also forming part of a larger global system of repositories, which are indexed in a standardized way, and searchable using one interface, providing the foundation for a new model of scholarly publishing[3].

The primary reason why researchers publish their outputs in journals is to communicate with others about their research and contributing to the advancement of knowledge in their field. Online institutional repositories are also contributing to this process by:

  • Facilitating timely access to the institution's research outputs
  • Providing the infrastructure for broader dissemination resulting in increased use of the resources, and enhanced professional visibility of research and creative output while potentially raising the institutional profile.

Further, research has also demonstrated that, with appropriate indexing and search mechanisms in place, open access online articles have appreciably higher citation rates than traditionally published articles.[4]

Different institutions are developing institutional repositories for different purposes, and these include for:

  • Electronic publishing and management of collections of research documents
  • Scholarly communication
  • Preserving digital materials for the long term
  • Showcasing an institution’s research outputs
  • Knowledge management
  • Encouraging open access to scholarly research


Institution repositories involve different stakeholders, each bringing different contributions to the repository. In a research institution, the major stakeholders include the following:

  • Research scientists: generate research reports, technical reports, articles, and other information resources required to populate the repository
  • Policy makers: generate information resources such as annual reports for the institutions and provide the policy infrastructure and financial support required for the IR
  • Information management specialists: bring in skills and standards required to manage the digital information resources
  • Information technology specialists: bring in the required skills to support the IT technical infrastructure for the IR

Software Tools for Institutional Repositories

There are several Open Source software systems that are being used to develop institutional repositories. They include the following:

  • E-Prints (GNU) []. Open-source OAI-compliant software developed at University of Southampton to enable anyone to set up their own Open Archives-compliant institutional archive.
  • DSpace: Durable Digital Depository []. Open-source software developed at MIT for its repository; released as open source software in Nov. 2002.
  • Fedora™ Project: An Open-Source Digital Repository Management System []. Jointly developed by the University of Virginia and Cornell University, Fedora is a general-purpose digital object repository system that can be used in whole or part to support a variety of use cases including: institutional repositories, digital libraries, content management, digital asset management, scholarly publishing, and digital preservation.
  • Greenstone []. Suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO.

Examples of Institutional Repositories

  • FAO Corporate Document Repository

The FAO's Corporate Document Repository (CDR) is the Organization's online digital library. It stores thousands of documents in HTML and PDF format, containing valuable material on agriculture, food security and the other areas of work of the Organization. Using the Document Repository, users can easily access the accumulated knowledge and information produced by FAO directly on the Internet.

  • CERN Document Server (CDS)

Provide access to well over 630,000 bibliographic records, including 250,000 full text documents, of interest to people working in particle physics and related areas. Material consists of preprints, articles, books, journals, photographs, and more.

  • E-Print Repository - Australia National University

Contains preprints of papers that have been submitted for journal publication papers, posted electronically for peer consideration and comment before submission for publication, or documents that have not been submitted to any journal

  • Electronic Library, Aalborg University

Contains electronically versions of research papers and publications of lecturers and researchers at Aalborg University


Agricultural research organizations and faculties of agriculture should consider setting up institutional repositories and open archives to facilitate access to the huge

  1. Adapted from: Barton, Mary R. & Waters, Margaret M. 2004. Creating an Institutional Repository: LEADIRS Workbook - (Accessed 25 September 2005).
  2. Croy, Raym. 2002. SPARC Institutional Repository Checklist & Resource Guide – URL:
  3. Queen's Institutional Repository Portal -
  4. Croy (2002)