Institutional Repositories · 13
Executive Summary
Since 2002, when DSpace and other institutional
repository (IR) software began to be available, an
increasing number of research libraries and their
parent institutions have established institutional
repositories to collect and provide access to diverse,
locally produced digital materials. This emerging
technology holds great promise to transform schol-
arly communication, but it is still in its infancy.
For the purposes of this survey, an IR was simply
defined as a permanent, institution-wide reposito-
ry of diverse, locally produced digital works (e.g.,
article preprints and postprints, data sets, electron-
ic 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 defi-
nition were scholars’ personal Web sites; academic
department, school, or other unit digital archives
that are primarily intended to store digital materi-
als 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.,
In this analysis, the authors have chosen to re-
port the data as percentages based on the relevant
number of responses (which can vary by question
and within question) unless number totals are clear-
er. Percent figures have been rounded according to
standard rules and they may total to slightly over
or under 100%. For questions where respondents
supplied textual answers, the authors have only
used unambiguous replies in their analysis and
calculated percentages accordingly. Respondents
who indicated that their institutions currently have
IRs are referred to as “implementers.” Respondents
who indicated they have plans to develop an IR are
referred to as “planners.”
The survey was distributed to the 123 ARL mem-
ber 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 im-
mediate plans to develop an IR.
One respondent had an operational IR as early as
1999 and a few more came online in 2002 and 2003.
Implementation surged in 2004 as 12 repositories
became publicly accessible; 14 followed in 2005.
Two more were operational in early 2006 and an
additional 11 are planned for later this year. Seven
others expect their IRs to become accessible in
2007. (One planner indicated that planning and
implementation has been ongoing since 2004.)
This data indicate that 30% of all ARL institu-
tions had an operational IR at the beginning of
2006; by the end of 2007 the total may reach at least
55%. While the growth rate appears to be leveling
off at this point, IRs will continue to be developed
and implemented in the near future.
Implementers and planners are in general agree-
ment about their motivations for starting an IR. The
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