Institutional repository

From New World Encyclopedia

An Institutional Repository is an online locus for collecting, preserving, and disseminating, in digital form, the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution.

For a university, this would include materials such as research journal articles, peer reviews, and digital versions of theses and dissertations, but it might also include other digital assets generated by normal academic life, such as administrative documents, course notes, or learning objects.

An institutional repository is published online and is basically open to the public. While most academic journal articles are available only to subscribers and not retrievable by general search engines, such as Google, research papers in an institutional repository are fully accessible by the public free of charge and are accessible by general search engines. Popular software such as DSpace, EPrints, and Bepress are also open sources. As of January 2009, there are about 1,239 institutional repositories in the world.


The four main objectives for having an institutional repository are:

  • To create global visibility for an institution's scholarly research;
  • To collect content in a single location;
  • To provide open access to institutional research output by self-archiving it;
  • To store and preserve other institutional digital assets, including unpublished or otherwise easily lost ("grey") literature (for example, theses or technical reports).

The origin of the "institutional repository" [IR] is twofold: IRs are partly linked to the notion of digital interoperability, which is in turn linked to the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and its Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The OAI in turn had its roots in the notion of a "Universal Preprint Service,"[1] since superseded by the open access movement.

IRs are partly linked to the notion of a digital library—that is, collecting, housing, classifying, cataloging, curating, preserving, and providing access to digital content, analogous with the library's conventional function of collecting, housing classifying, curating, preserving and providing access to analog content.

Today, there is a mashup that indicates the worldwide locations of open access digital repositories. This project is called Repository 66 and is based on data provided by Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) and the OpenDOAR service (a directory and tool for worldwide open access repositories) developed by the SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access). As of 2007, data from this service indicates that the most popular IR software platforms are Eprints, DSpace, and Bepress (Digital Commons).

Examples of institutional repository software


DSpace logo

DSpace is an open source software package that provides the tools for management of digital assets, and is also commonly used as the basis for an institutional repository. It supports a wide variety of data, including books, theses, 3D digital scans of objects, photographs, film, video, research data sets, and other forms of content. The data is arranged as community collections of items, which bundle bitstreams together.

DSpace is also intended as a platform for digital preservation activities. Since its release in 2002, as a product of the HP-MIT Alliance, it has been installed and is in production at over 240 institutions around the globe[2] from large universities to small higher education colleges, cultural organizations, and research centers. It is shared under a BSD license, which enables users to customize or extend the software as needed.


The first version of DSpace was released in November 2002, following a joint effort by developers from MIT and HP Labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In March 2004, the first DSpace User Group Meeting (DSUG) took place at Hotel@MIT, and it was there that the first discussions concerning the DSpace community and its future governance were discussed in earnest. The DSpace Federation formed a loose grouping of interested institutions, while the DSpace Committers group was formed shortly after, consisting of five developers from HP Labs, MIT, OCLC, University of Cambridge, and University of Edinburgh. Later two further developers from Australian National University and Texas A&M University also joined this group. DSpace 1.3 was released in 2005, and at around the same time the second DSpace User Group Meeting was held at the University of Cambridge. Following this, two further smaller user group meetings were spawned, the first in January/February 2006 in Sydney, and the second in April 2006 in Bergen, Norway. In March 2008, the DSpace Community released DSpace 1.5.

DSpace Foundation On July 17, 2007, HP and MIT jointly announced the formation of the DSpace Foundation, a non-profit organization that will provide leadership and support for the DSpace community.

Community development model

The DSpace community has attempted to base its formal structure along the same lines as the Apache Foundation community development model. That is, there is a user-base, within which is contained a subset of developers, some of whom are contributors to the core codebase. The developments by these contributors are then added to the distribution under the curation of a core team of committers, whose job is to ensure that the code meets the various guidelines laid out in the developer documentation, and that it contributes effectively to the direction of DSpace development (which should be/is decided by the community as a whole). The community is serviced technologically by a development base at SourceForge, and a number of mailing lists for technical queries and development discussion, as well as a general list for non-technical community members.

Membership of the community is implied by being interested and involved—there are no formal membership fees or lists.


DSpace is written in Java and JSP, using the Java Servlet API. It uses a relational database, and supports the use of PostgreSQL and Oracle. It makes its holdings available primarily via a web interface, but it also supports the OAI-PMH v2.0, and is capable of exporting METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) packages. Future versions are likely to see increasing use of web services, and changes to the user interface layer.


EPrints is an open source software package for building open access repositories that are compliant with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. It shares many of the features commonly seen in Document Management systems, but is primarily used for institutional repositories and scientific journals. EPrints has been developed at the University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science and released under a GPL license (GNU General Public License).

The EPrints software is not to be confused with "eprints" (or "e-prints"), which are preprints (before peer review) and postprints (after peer review), of research journal articles: "E-prints" = preprints + postprints.


EPrints was created in 2000 as a direct outcome of the 1999 Santa Fe meeting that launched what eventually became the OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting).

The EPrints software was enthusiastically received, became the first and one of the most widely used[3] free open access, institutional repository software, and it has since inspired many emulations.

Version 3 of the software was officially released on the January 24, 2007, at the Open Repositories 2007 Conference. and was described by its developers as "a major leap forward in functionality, giving even more control and flexibility to repository managers, depositors, researchers and technical administrators."[4]


EPrints is a Web and command-line application based on the LAMP architecture (but is written in Perl rather than PHP). It has been successfully run under Linux, Solaris, and Mac OS X.[5] A version for Microsoft Windows is being developed but will be released under a non-GPL license.[6]

Version 3 of the software introduced a (Perl-based) plugin architecture for importing and exporting data, converting objects (for search engine indexing) and user interface widgets.

Configuring an EPrints repository involves modifying configuration files written in Perl or XML. Web based configuration tools are in development. The appearance of a repository is controlled by HTML templates, stylesheets and inline images. While Eprints is shipped with an English translation it has been translated to other languages through (redistributable) language-specific XML phrase files. Existing translations include Bulgarian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian.[7]


Bepress is another major hosted repository platform. This hosted service is licensed by the Berkeley Electronic Press (Bepress is taken as its abbreviation). It is used by associations, consortia, universities and colleges to preserve and showcase their scholarly output. Digital Commons is one of their products.


Bepress (the Berkeley Electronic Press) first offered its institutional repository software in 2002 for the California Digital Library's eScholarship Repository.[8] Digital Commons was later introduced at the American Library Association annual conference in June 2004.[9] From 2004 to July 2007, Digital Commons was licensed exclusively by ProQuest Information and Learning. As of July 2007, the Berkeley Electronic Press has resumed licensing Digital Commons directly to customers. Today, the Bepress Institutional Repository platform powers over 50 schools (in addition to the University of California System) under the name Digital Commons.[10]


Institutions can add their content to their repository through batch uploads, by linking to external sites, or via a submit form. Digital Commons allows for a variety of publication types and auto-converts Word, WordPerfect, and RTF documents to PDF. A unique web page is generated automatically for each article that includes title, author, abstract, and citation information. All pages maintain a persistent URL and meet web accessibility standards. Digital Commons supports data harvesting and feeding. Content is optimized for fast and accurate indexing by Google and Google Scholar and is OAI compliant. Digital Commons provides user notification tools. This includes RSS feeds and automatic email notification for reports of newly published content, Mailing list manager to announce new research, and the "Tell a colleague" email functionality. Digital Commons also provides individual readership statistics.

Institutions using Digital Commons

See also


  1. Herbert Van de Sompel, The Santa Fe Convention of the Open Archives Initiative, D-Lib Magazine, February 2000, Volume 6 Number 2. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  2., DSpaceInstances.
  3. ROAR, Software Version Listing. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  4. E Prints, Introducing EPrints 3. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  5. EPrints, Tech. Documentation—Introduction. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  6. Richard Poynder, A conversation with Microsoft's Tony Hey. December 12, 2006. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  7. E Prints, EPrints Files. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  8. CD Library, eScholarship Repository Release. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  9. ProQuest, Digital Commons@ Winning Broad Market Acceptance. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  10. Digital Commons, Users. Retrieved January 11, 2009.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Bailey, Charles W. Institutional Repositories. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, Office of Management Services, 2006. ISBN 9781594077081.
  • Bankier, J. G., and I. Perciali. 2008. "The Institutional Repository Rediscovered: What Can a University Do for Open Access Publishing?" SERIALS REVIEW. 34 (1): 21-26.
  • Collins, Maria D. D., and Patrick L. Carr. Managing the Transition from Print to Electronic Journals and Resources: A Guide for Library and Information Professionals. Routledge studies in library and information science, 3. New York: Routledge, 2008. ISBN 9780789033369.
  • Donovan, James M., and Carol A. Watson. Behind a Law School's Decision to Implement an Institutional Repository. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia School of Law, Alexander Campbell King Law Library, 2008.
  • Gaffney, Megan.2008. "Involving the Library and Campus Community in Institutional Repository Projects." The Serials Librarian. 55 (4): 568-576.
  • Gibbons, Susan. "Establishing an Institutional Repository." Library Technology Reports 40 (4).
  • Graham, John-Bauer, Bethany Latham Skaggs, and Kimberly Weatherford Stevens. 2005. "Digitizing a Gap: a State-Wide Institutional Repository Project." Reference Services Review. 33 (3): 337-345.
  • Jones, Richard, Theo Andrew, and John A. MacColl. The Institutional Repository. Chandos information professional series. Oxford: Chandos Publ, 2006. ISBN 9781843341833.
  • Piorun M., and L.A. Palmer. "Digitizing Dissertations for an Institutional Repository: a Process and Cost Analysis." Journal of the Medical Library Association. 96 (3): 223-9.
  • ROAR. Registry of Open Access Repositories. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
  • Yakel, E., S.Y. Rieh, B. St. Jean, K. Markey, and J. Kim. 2008. "Institutional Repositories and the Institutional Repository: College and University Archives and Special Collections in an Era of Change." American Archivist. 71 (2): 323-349.

External links

All links retrieved March 3, 2018.


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