Institutional Repositories · 23
Survey Questions and Responses
The SPEC survey on Institutional Repositories was designed by the following University of Houston staff
members: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Assistant Dean for Digital Library Planning and Development; Jill Emery,
Director, Electronic Resources Program; Anne Mitchell, Metadata Coordinator; Chris Morris, Web De-
veloper 2; Spencer Simons, Director of the O’Quinn Law Library; and Robert Wright, Coordinator of the
Pharmacy Library. These results are based on data submitted by 87 of the 123 ARL member libraries (71%)
by the deadline of March 9, 2006. The survey’s introductory text and questions are reproduced below, fol-
lowed by the response data and selected comments from the respondents.
Since 2002, when DSpace and other institutional repository (IR) system 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 scholarly communication, but it is
still in its infancy.
For the purposes of this survey an IR is 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, technical
reports, etc.) that is available for public use and supports metadata harvesting. If an institution shares an IR with other
institutions, it is within the scope of this survey. Not included in this definition are 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.,
This survey is intended to collect baseline data about ARL member institutions’ IR activities. The survey authors recognize that
there are many possible service models for supporting an IR, ranging from a single, centralized support service provided by a
single entity (such as the library) to a much more diffuse support model involving multiple entities (library, campus information
technology unit, etc.) playing different cooperative roles. They also recognize that digital archives and repositories are not
neat and tidy entities, and they may defy easy categorization. They understand that some institutions have followed carefully
prepared IR project plans, some have taken an experimental approach that results in frequent adaptive changes of strategy,
and some have done a bit of both. Survey respondents are asked to use their best judgment and try to adhere to the general
definition above when responding to the survey. The authors also acknowledge that, in cases where IR responsibility is diffuse,
survey respondents may need to gather information from multiple parties. They and ARL thank you for making this extra effort.
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