EnglishICT and Information

Institutional Repository and Library


An IR refers to a group of services and technologies that offer the mediums to gather, handle, access, spread, and archive digital materials generated in an organization. Institutional Repository collects, organize, preserve and disseminate data of any organization or member organizations. While majority of the organizational repositories are located in colleges and universities, few may also be present in the governmental bureaus, museums, firms and other institutions. Now with the emergence of new technology and interne facility, all educational, research and Government organizations are establishing Institutional Repository for their users.

Definitions of Institutional Repository:

Before dealing with the concept of organizational repositories, it will be suitable to examine the concept of digital repository. According to Wikipedia “A repository is a central place where data is stored and mined. A repository can be a place where multiple databases or files are located for distribution over a network or a repository can be a location that is directly accessible to the user without having to travel across a network” (Wikipedia, 2016). “An institutional repository is a web-based database of scholarly material for a given institution”. It could be collective and continuous (a gathering of reports). It has to be open and interoperable (using OAI complaint software). The institutional repositories gather, archive, spread digital assets and also save digital materials for long term utilization for a particular organization (Kumar.2008). To run an institutional repository effectively, it is very important to have a strong coordination among data producers, organizers, managers and Information Technology department.

The descriptions of an organizational repository may differ to a huge degree depending upon the artifacts that are to be stored in it. These materials may range from every digital material developed by a firm (Lynch, 2003) to a well-described group of materials. An organizational repository is a kind of digital library that “captures the original research and other intellectual property generated by an institution’s constituent population active in many fields”. IRs in the United States are usually looked after by scholastic libraries at higher education organizations and they provide their pertinent scholastic communities an extra place to take part in open access via a procedure that may be known to be open access archiving (Burns et al. 2013). The notion of “organizational repository” is in line with the concept of developing a “digital library”. Institutional Repositories (IRs), changeably referred to as digital repositories, organizational digital repositories. It is a digital repository of the investigative result of a firm. It is considered to be a service that a firm provides to its students, professors and analysts for the handling and spread of digital materials developed by them.

History of Institutional Repository:

As explained by Pringle, repositories represent new ways of organizing research and are taking shape in a variety of experimental forms. They vary in the types of content, the purposes of their creators, and their relationship to researchers. (Pringle, 2005) The aims of varied organizational repositories vary. An academic or investigative organization may employ them to gather and display their studies or teaching matter. The aim of a governmental repository is to spread documents to the general people. Detailed study by Jones (n.d) shows the first seeds of the institutional repository as networked electronic communication to a suitable mode for the spread of scholarly literature, how they emerged and how they are suited enough to be part of the digital library. In an article “Scholarly Electronic Theses & Dissertation Database (ETDdb), the major software package in this domain, was introduced by Virginia Technology and the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) in 1999.

The function enacted by these e-theses endeavors cannot be overlooked in the advancement of the institutional repository, since they offer the infrastructure to collect some institutional analysis under limited regulation by the firm which is complex in practicing scholastic analysis. The next crucial aspect for the development of first fully featured institutional repositories was the development of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), which made the need for interoperability and cross-searching disparate repositories a much more feasible aim. Initially organized in 1999, the OAI facet developed the initial dependable version of the rule in 2001 by using effortless Dublin Core at the chief level and by providing an effortless URL dependent query design; this rule fundamentally lowered the implementation obstacles for interoperable archives.

In short, the subsequent main aspects can be accredited for the commencement of the institutional repository (Jones, n.d):

i. Pre-existing or under-development e-theses archives;

ii. Pre-existing divisional e-print archives;

iii. Need of subject repositories such as arXiv;

iv. Institutional need to conserve documents for future;

v. Backing for the philosophy of open access;

vi. Pre-existing distributed document servers; and vii. Need to a solution of the “Journals Crisis”.


Benefit of Institutional Repository to Institutions and Researchers:

In this era of information explosion when lots of information, research papers and scholarly publications are coming out, an IR is enacting a crucial function in raising the profiles of the organizations by guaranteeing the investigative result of a firm is extremely spread and not limited to those who can provide subscriptions to costly investigative magazines, Especially in times when rising prices of journal subscriptions has led to the “journal crisis” (Jones and Andrew, 2006), Institutional Repository is an attractive option to counter journal crisis. This prominence assists to improve the organization’s name and thus it attracts high quality researchers and research funds. An institutional repository saves the intellectual product created by a university’s researchers, making it easier to demonstrate its scientific, social and financial value (Crow, 2002). Furthermore, the repository offers a vital location to store investigative results and resultant metadata and provides an opportunity to claim priority of research. Quick spread of outcomes in several investigative domains is crucial to set priority in a domain and to bring feedback on time.

Not only does society as a whole benefit from open access through more effective access to information and an expanded and accelerated research cycle, but the visibility, usage and impact of the work of individual researchers increases (Richardson, 2006). Researches have repeatedly indicated an affirmative correlation between quotation influence and open access. Houghton (2006) stated that, Evidence is beginning to emerge that work which is freely available is cited more than material restricted by fee access. Articles that have open access get a minimum of 50% more quotations compared to those researches that need subscriptions. Open access articles are quoted faster and more times compared to those that do not have an open access.

Moreover IR is good for all its stakeholders in the following different ways.

A. For the contributor/ author:

1. More chances of citation: Researches have indicated that articles than can be accessed without cost on the Internet are quoted frequently compared to their paper equivalents. .

2. Speed: Faculty and researchers publish their pre-prints by themselves instantly, with the chances of obtaining instant feedback.

3. Organized Collection: An organizational repository may include all the academic study undertaken by all teachers and analysts, encompassing material like pre-prints, post-prints, presentations, and classroom materials (dependent on copyright restrictions). Rather than being spread in varied databases, servers, or computer hard drives, this material can be easily found and reviewed by the user in a single location, and also reused effortlessly by the funder.

4. Preservation: So as to guarantee consistent access, digital files are required to be refreshed and transferred. Depositing a file into an institutional repository means that the burden of ensuring the file can be opened is placed on the curator of the institutional repository, and not on the owner.

5. Lasting location: Saving an article in the organizational repository indicates that it remains at the same location and sustains the same URL.

6. Unique permanent URL: Every unique item in an IR is assigned a unique URL called “handle” in case of DSpace based institutional repository. As reference, an author can give a permanent “link” or URL to his each item published in an IR.

B. For the Organization:

1. The analytical material generated by an organization can be viewed in one place,

2. showing the intellectual attainments of the organization, and acting as a crucial marketing medium.

2. Records showing the organizational history, both academic and non-academic, are stored for being used in the times to come, similar to a conventional archive saving investigative studies.

3. Material that is not printed conventionally can be part of the repository, comprising of records of un-printed articles or book lessons, un-printed analysis, studies by students, learning aims and creative studies.

C. For the user:

1. Material in an organizational repository can be discovered by using a search engine.

2 This material can be accessed with no subscription fee, it will be totally free of charge. IR includes material that is properly shown in the initial digital format, including audio files, video files, animations, and information groups.


Types of Repositories:

Digital world have resulted in the advancement of various types of digital repositories, notably the subject or domain specific repository, institutional repository, harvesting repository/ harvester repository and format-specific repository (theses, reports, data, etc). Repositories are crucial for all organizations to assist in handling and gathering intellectual resources as part of their information policy. Based on the data and usage, content and usage digital repositories are segregated into five segments:

1. Subject or Domain-Specific Repository: Disciplinary repository variably subject-repository or domain-specific repository is a repository that collects and offers access to the literature on a solitary topic or a group of linked themes.

These repositories are frequently regarded to be as extremely successful academic interaction initiatives, particularly in context to organizational repositories. It can also be defined as repositories oriented for research output from one or more well-defined research domains, for examples ArXiv.org and PubMed (Kelly and Letnes, 2009). As against the organizational repositories, domain-related repositories can take work from researchers from varied organizations and nations. Thus, a subject related repository enacts the function of gathering, spreading and storing investigative studies from analysts across the world in a specific domain. These sets may comprise of scholastic and investigative studies.

Subject-wise repositories can attain their details in different manners. Many depend on the writer or submissions made by the firms, like Social Science Research Network (SSRN), which focuses on the quick global spread of social analysis and is made up of several distinctive analysis networks. Others like Cite SeerX is an emerging scientific literature digital library and search engine that mainly emphasizes on the literature pertaining to computer and information science. CiteSeerX is an emphatic crawler. CiteSeerX crawls site, from both crawl lists and a provided URL crawl request. Another instance is AgEcon, set up in 1995, and evolved due to the dynamic engagement of researches and communities. AgEcon is a free, open access repository that has full-text investigative data related to agriculture and applied economics, encompassing working studies, conference researches and informative articles from magazines (Kelly & Letnes, 2010). A disciplinary repository usually encompasses one broad field, with several providers from several varied organizations endorsed by different contributors; the repositories themselves are possibly to get articles from one or more sources in the subject field. Disciplinary repositories can function as stores of information linked to a specific subject, permitting records in addition to details linked with that work to be stored in the repository. A short explanation of few of the crucial disciplinary repositories is: ArXiv, Cogprints.

2. Institutional repositories: Contain different results of a firm. Apart from the teaching and learning details, investigative inferences are crucial amongst investigative inferences. If the repository encapsulates the entire result, it works as a library and a platform for an organization. It acts as a library which holds an organizational compilation, and acts as a platform since the online open access can show the presence of any compendium which may act to excite and link, for instance, with the former students of the organization or the peers of analysts. A repository may also be a tool for the firm by backing, for instance, intrinsic and extrinsic evaluation and also the tactical designing (Crow, 2002). Furthermore, a repository of an organization may enact a crucial operation in the development of an area. It permits enterprises, public entities and civil society firms to instantly comprehend what type of proficiency is available at the domestic level. IR is a crucial element of infrastructure in the digital setting as they offer superior retrieval of the digital resources of an organization. Few instances of IRs are: Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad Institutional Repository.

3. Harvesting Repository: To endorse repository subject matter through collecting, repositories (data providers) are registered with service providers by the repository managers. The service providers ask for planned XML (meeting the OAI-PMH criteria) to execute collecting after the registration process is over. The value is augmented by service providers by developing services that include the collected data. Instances of these facilities encompass record searching operations for both people and machines thereby enhancing the obtainability of collected information. Functioning OAI collectors may actually technically be also functioning as data suppliers (Council of Australian University Librarians, 2013). Advantages of registering into a Harvesting Repository are as follows:

i. After registration, service providers are allowed to search data in the repository by employing the OAI Base URL that is offered.

ii. Collecting enhances the chances for final-users to search information from organizational repositories through general search engines like Google and Yahoo.

For examples, OAISTER OAlster.

4. National repository: National repository systems are planned to seize academic results overall and not merely conserve records related to erudition, but to back, for instance, instruction and knowledge in higher education. Such systems probably show academic results in the national parlance, underline the articles of well-known researchers and create a system for chronicling theses. One can think of such a national system to be part of a national investigative library that works for 54erudite interaction in the national parlance and backs public policy, for instance, in developing open academic assets for higher education and improving public access to information. Example: National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER).

5. Data Repository: Data Repository is a rational (and at times physical) segmenting of data where many databases which are applicable to particular purposes or groups of functions dwell. For instance, many databases (expenses, revenues) which endorse fiscal submissions could dwell in a solitary fiscal Data Repository (Open Access Directory, 2016). A database warehouse is one big data repository of all trade linked details comprising of all past details of the trade institution executing the data warehouse. When data repository is used in the data warehouse, the load can be disseminated across several databases or even across several servers. For example, rather than having one computer to deal with the database linked to clients, many databases could be dealing with the varied facets of clients. In a very big firm like a company with many branches across the nation, rather than having all the clients in a solitary database, many databases are used to deal with the varied branches client databases in a data repository. Data repository provides effortless and quick access on account of the fact that linked details are, to some extent, grouped or bunched together. For example, in the case of fiscal data repository, anyone from the fiscal division or other data user needed details pertaining to financials would not need to search through the complete part of the details in the data warehouse.

For database administrators, using the data repository is an effortless manner to sustain the data warehouse system on account of it being classified in character. When there is an issue inside the system, it may be simple to identify the source of the issue without employing a top down methodology for the entire data warehouse. In majority of the firms, a single database manager or administrator is generally allocated to a single data repository to guarantee data dependability for the entire system. Example: NAIC Financial Data Repository.

Steps for Establishing an Institutional Repository:

Establishing of Institutional Repository involves making of rules, legal, educational, cultural and technical elements, majority of which are interlinked all of which need to be adequately handled to be effective (Open Access Repository, 2009). Pre-implementation and post implementation steps for institutional repository are given below.

A. Pre Implementation Steps: Pre-implementation steps include establishing of content guidelines The following are some problems that must be handled before the execution of the software. The crucial choices related to the kind of subject matter accepted by the repository need to be made prior the execution of software, as they would have consequences on metadata and information fields.

i. Defining the Purpose of the Repository: Repository services need to be created with an evident notion for the aim of the repository being considered. Repositories may have several kinds of uses. Majority of the repositories, work on offering open access to investigative results. On the other hands, few focus on endorsing digital printing initiatives on campus; while few others intend to preserve the subject matter. Majority of the successful repository sets are the ones that back the community requirements. A characteristic requirements evaluation encompasses both informal inputs, like comprehensive debates with teachers, in addition to more official methods, generally some kind of questionnaire based investigation.

ii. Defining Repository Services: There are several varied facilities that a repository can provide. Some aspects are crucial for implementers to assist in ascertaining the kind of facilities that need to be included in the repository such as the aim of the service, the type of subject matter, crucial users, important shareholders, responsibilities with the library and subject matter community, top service primacies and recognition of primacies in the short-run and long-run.

iii. Choosing repository software: The organizations need to evaluate the accessible software platforms depending on the requirements and facilities of the repository (Crow, 2002). There exist three varied options:

a. Open Source Software: This software can be downloaded free of cost; generally, it needs some degree of proficiency to execute and maintain. The source code for the same can be retrieved and it can be modified and improved by the development community (for instance, CDSware, DSpace, EPrints, Fedora, Greenstone).

b. Commercial Software: This software is to be paid for either by way of consulting fees or additional subscription charges. Users having this software or those with a subscription, generally get regular updates. The users can customize the software though a programming interface, or APY; however the ownership, creation and maintenance of the source code lies with the software owner.

c. Software Service: Model In this, a software platform is owned and distributed by a software vendor; the vendor also hosts or manages the data of the users’. In this prototype, the software vendor offers additional facilities for some remuneration; he also has control and can update the software source code (instances include EPrints Services, Open Repository or bepress). Those implementing the software need to select the most suitable software that fulfills their requirements and extant assets (budget and personnel). For instance, organizations may want to use commercial services if they do not have the requisite proficient staff members. In context of open source software platforms, each of them are distinct with their different advantages.

iv. Developing Repository Policies:

There are three tactical domains that need to be handled in reference to repositories: collection, management, and access. Some of the important policy decisions that will have to be made are as follows:

a. Collection: It is important to understand type of collection or data to be archived by institutional repository. Identification of contributors with setting up of criteria for determining collection and authorization of members in the repository is another point to be taken care off. Building of structure of repository may be around individual teachers or writers, or by division, investigative department and the like. Authority of depositing content in repository is part of collection development policy.

b. Management: includes establishment of general rights and responsibilities of libraries, responsibilities of creator of collections of digital content and types of metadata and preservation policies.

c. Access: Developing the accessing strategy like confidentiality strategy for those who have registered in the system, repository limit access to subject matter if there is demand for the same by the writer and repository allowed prohibited periods for subject matter.

V. Staffing: The need for personnel to handle a repository differs to a large extent amongest organizations. On the other hand, there are two chief kinds of tasks included: Repository Manager- handles the ‘human’ aspect of the repository which encompasses strategies permitted to subject matter, backing, training the users and an association with several organizational divisions and extrinsic connections. Repository Administrator- handles the technical execution, adaption and handling of the repository software, handles the metadata domains and quality, develops reports related to the usage and follows the issues pertaining to conservation of data.

vi. Setting up Communities: Majority of the repositories are arranged as per the compendia, frequently referred to as communities. These are sets that provide subject matter to an organizational repository — erudite or managerial divisions, colleges, centers, units, labs and the like. Several organizations start with a pilot program for their repository facilities, indicating some initial adopter communities.

This allows the repository personnel to emphasize on uploading subject matter in the repositories, testing of the software and resolving the processes and strategies.

B. Post Implementation Steps involves working on web interface for handling, uploading, searching/ browsing, and downloading documents and this is perfect time to adapt the web interface for the repository.

1. Marketing the repository:

One of the biggest issues for repository managers is filling the repository. The continuous advertisement of the repository is essential to guarantee the prominence and efficacy. There are different techniques that can be used to promote/sell the repository (Gierveld, 2006).

i. Profiling Strategy: The aim of this policy is to enhance the profile and create an affirmative brand for the repository. The policy for instance includes the utilization of brochures, newsletters and web sites that analyze the overall advantages of IRs.

ii. Pull Strategy: The purpose of this strategy is to reward and encourage authors to deposit their work in the repository. The strategy offers specific incentives for researchers who deposit. One obvious incentive (if applicable) is that authors will have complied with an institutional or funding agency policy.

iii. Push Strategy: This strategy demonstrated the positive effects of the repository once the material has been deposited. One of the best examples of this is to highlight usage statistics for authors, since downloads of content in repositories tend to be very high. Other aspects of a push strategy can include removing existing barriers by, for example, assisting authors with their deposits and providing rights checking services.

iv. Consultation Strategy involves direct communication and consultation with faculty to improve messaging and better engage faculty in developing the repository to meet their needs. This can be done through surveys, meetings, informal conversations, etc. Faculty advocates are probably the most effective marketing tool of all because they can provide first hand testimonials to their peers about the value of the repository.

2. Training and Skill Development The intricate character of the job has resulted in the requirement for dedicated abilities and training in addition to some backdrop details for the staff members involved. So as to provide inputs to the organizational repository in a superior manner, it is crucial to provide overall training for developing metadata records by employing the chosen software. Few other sittings such as those for PDF training employing Adobe Professional, copying, pasting, making changes, linking pages, converting Word to PDF and the like is an added advantage. Post execution phase also encompasses frequent interactions with the group to talk about the revisions, modifications and questions, seminars and forums attended to get more backdrop information of problems linked to licensing, RQF and a rise in value and its consequences. To run the repository, it is essential to provide future training in metadata and html/XML.

Barriers for Institutional Repository:

There are three impediments that are statistically crucial for self-archiving. One of the chief impediments is copyright (Swan, 2006). The more the apprehensions about requiring the consent of the printer or the concern of disregarding copyright, less chances are that the teachers would resort to self-archive. The other crucial aspects that act as open impediments to self-archiving include unpredictable, unclear and tiresome printer strategies. A larger extent of constancy is needed in copyright agreements, from printers, and the Government, organizations and scholars, who have the strength to impact the criteria on which copyright agreements are set.

The next strong impediment to self-archiving is age. Younger faculties are more inclined to self-archive a higher proportion of their studies. Salo (2008) comprehends the impact of age as “Young scholars may be attracted to self-archiving as a way to game a prestige system otherwise stacked against them, but older scholars are liable to resist the idea of self-archiving and getting open-access citation”.

The third statistically significant barrier identified by Carr and Hamad ( 2005) pertains to the time and endeavor needed to self-archive. “The possibility of self-archive reduces when the time and endeavor needed is more. The time and endeavor needed is also more when the technical ability of the researcher is limited. A simple time of ten minutes per article can be overwhelming for a busy professor who has accumulation of content to upload”.

In addition some more significant barriers are as follows:

i. Lack of knowledge: Many faculties does not have knowledge related to the open access movement or the presence of the IR.

ii. Lack of understanding: Many faculty members fail to understand the advantages offered by open access or the IR. Some consider open access to be equivalent of getting no peer reviews and do not desire that their studies should be linked to unpredictable or inferior quality.

iii. Lack of interest: Faculty give time to actions that enhance the worth of their studies, authorship, or collaborations. Enhanced accessibility, publicity, and professional recognition – the advantages of open access advertised in marketing endeavors — do not promote these priorities. IR executions fail to meet the faculty concerns or fulfill their requirements; outreach endeavors are not in their parlance or they fail to deal with their issues. Additionally, for those who already self-archive on a website or disciplinary repository, the IR is unnecessary.

iv. Fear of risk involved: Some faculty are apprehensive that open access will result in piracy, being lifted, or not being able to print if publishers consider self-archiving to be earlier publication. Others consider dangers linked to IR technology or to intervention by librarians who may not have the adequate subject proficiency.

v. Lack of practice: Faculty is inclined to copy their peers. Common habits develop peer pressure that impacts the process of decision making.

vi. Lack of mandate: Self-archiving commands have been recommended and used to assist in dealing with inactivity unfounded worries, and absence interest. Studies undertaken years ago showed that majority of the writers would follow commands effortlessly.


The IR technology provides institutions and analyzers to upload their studies which help in the intended audience to retrieve the periodicals in a digital form. Institutional Repositories (IR) are becoming a crucial kind of special asset and facility given by an organization. The open access movement to majority of the data both printed and unprinted flagged the path for institutional repositories. The core of IR is to make journals freely accessible on Internet. Open access repositories enhance accessibility of records present in the IRs. The subject matter of an IR may encompass varied kinds of assets including printed books and editorials, theses, other kinds of scholastic publications, and different kinds of unprinted editorials such as magazine pre-prints, technical reports, investigative progress reports, course-ware, and other gray literature. The sharing of knowledge may result in additional development in the same filed or other linked domains. Institutional repository is now becoming a preferred platform to share information.

Original Reference Article:

  • Jain, C. (2017). Evolving a Model for National Digital Repository of Indian Government Publications using Institutional Repository Infrastructure.

Md. Ashikuzzaman

Work at North South University Library, Bangladesh.


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