SPEC Kit 292: Institutional Repositories (July 2006)

This SPEC Kit collects baseline data about ARL member institutions’ institutional repository activities.

For the purposes of this survey, an IR was simply defined as a permanent, institution-wide repository of diverse locally produced digital works (e.g., article preprints and postprints, data sets, electronic theses and dissertations, learning objects, and technical reports) that is available for public use and supports metadata harvesting. If an institution shares an IR with other institutions, it was within the scope of this survey. Not included in this definition were scholars’ personal Web sites; academic department, school, or other unit digital archives that are primarily intended to store digital materials created by members of that unit; or disciplinary archives that include digital materials about one or multiple subjects that have been created by authors from many different institutions (e.g., arXiv.org).

The survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in January 2006. Eighty-seven libraries (71%) responded to the survey. Of those, 37 (43%) have an operational IR, 31 (35%) are planning for one by 2007 at the latest, and 19 (22%) have no immediate plans to develop an IR. The survey found that most IRs had been established in the last two years (or had just been established). By far, the library was likely to have been the most active institutional advocate of the IR. It was also likely to have been the primary unit leading and supporting the IR effort, sometimes in partnership with the institutional information technology unit. The main reasons for establishing an IR were to increase the global visibility of, preserve, provide free access to, and collect and organize the institution’s scholarship.

This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of IR home pages, IR usage statistics, deposit policies, metadata policies, preservation policies, and IR proposals