SPEC Kit 338: Library Management of Disciplinary Repositories · 11
Disciplinary repositories are open access, host schol-
arly materials,1 accept deposits from national or inter-
national contributors, and are disciplinary, multidis-
ciplinary, or interdisciplinary resources. They are a
significant component of the scholarly communication
environment, and can be highly visible and impor-
tant mechanisms for sharing disciplinary research to
dedicated communities. This survey was developed
to gain a better understanding of the ways in which
research libraries are involved in the administration of
disciplinary repositories. It was distributed to the 125
ARL member libraries in July 2013 and these results
are based on data submitted by 49 libraries (39%) by
the deadline of September 3, 2013.
Thirteen respondents reported that their institu-
tion hosts or manages a disciplinary repository. The
survey identified 34 disciplinary repositories man-
aged by ARL institutions, both with and without li-
brary involvement. For the purposes of this study,
the 12 repositories that are managed entirely or in
part by the library are analyzed.2 The 12 repositories
are based at seven ARL institutions, which comprise
6% of ARL membership, demonstrating that disci-
plinary repository management is not widespread
among ARL membership. While most respondents
reported management of a single repository, two insti-
tutions manage many repositories. The University of
Pittsburgh Libraries manage six disciplinary reposito-
ries in partnership with other campus departments or
other institutions. At Purdue University, the Libraries
manage one disciplinary repository, and other cam-
pus departments manage 16 disciplinary repositories.
The development and management of disciplinary
repositories seem to be unique to local circumstances,
and disciplinary repositories are certainly not as
common as institutional repositories. Institutional
repositories are nearly always based in an institution’s
library, but disciplinary repositories have several
models of management, only some of which involve
a library. Some disciplinary repositories are managed
solely by the library. Others use a library partnership
with a parent institution department, a library part-
nership with a non-parent institution, a department
as sole manager, multiple departmental partnerships,
or multiple institution partnerships. Diverse manage-
ment models may be a contributing factor to the lack
of information published about disciplinary reposi-
tory management (Adamick and Reznik-Zellen 2010).
Library management of disciplinary repositories
supports one of ARL’s basic principles that “Research
libraries are active agents central to the process of the
transmission and creation of knowledge” (Association
of Research Libraries). A repository itself can help to
document and define an area of study by collecting
disparate research and making it discoverable in one
place. The library can bring significant added value
to a disciplinary repository, for example, through
the development of a controlled vocabulary. Eight of
the twelve repositories have developed a controlled
vocabulary, which can help to define and document
disciplinary terminology. Preservation is another
value that libraries add to disciplinary repositories,
although in most cases it was not a reported driving
factor for repository development.
Like institutional repositories, disciplinary repos-
itories require substantial staff mediation, quality
control, and outreach efforts to build and maintain
their specialized collections. Low contribution rates
reported by a few of the respondents indicate that
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