Scholarly article on topic 'Content in, content out: the dual roles of the reference librarian in institutional repositories'

Content in, content out: the dual roles of the reference librarian in institutional repositories Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Reference Services Review
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Academic research paper on topic "Content in, content out: the dual roles of the reference librarian in institutional repositories"

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Received 3 February 2005 Revised 4 March 2005 Accepted 15 March 2005

Content in, content out: the dual roles of the reference librarian in institutional repositories

Barbara Jenkins and Elizabeth Breakstone

Reference and Research Services, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene,

Oregon, USA, and

Carol Hixson

Metadata and Digital Library Services, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene,

Oregon, USA


Purpose - The development of institutional repositories has typically involved administrative and technical staff from libraries and campuses, with little input from reference librarians and subject specialists. Reference librarians have vital roles to play in helping to recruit authors to submit their content to institutional repositories, as well as in educating users to search such repositories effectively and retrieve the scholarly content from them. Aims to investigate these roles. Design/methodology/approach - Describes how the University of Oregon Libraries built its institutional repository, promoted and marketed it, and developed partnerships within the library and across the campus using the expertise of reference/subject librarians.

Findings - At many institutions, institutional repository development has relied heavily on technical and administrative staff. Reference/subject librarians have not played as active a role as they can and should. Because reference librarians are often also subject specialists with liaison responsibilities to specific disciplines, their knowledge of the specialized research needs and scholarly communication patterns of the different disciplines can inform every step of the institutional repository's growth. Originality/value - Experience at the University of Oregon demonstrates the efficacy of involving reference librarians in the design and development of an institutional repository from the beginning. The experience that reference librarians have in searching a wide array of databases enables them to provide a useful perspective on the design of effective search interfaces for institutional repositories.

Keywords Reference services, Knowledge management, Electronic publishing, Archiving, Academic libraries, Librarians

Paper type Case study


In the last few years, the institutional repository (IR) has emerged as an important new model in scholarly communication. An IR is defined as:

[...] a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members (Lynch, 2003).

Reference Services Review

Vol. 33 No. 3,2005 The IR has the potential to offer:

pp. 312-324

Ô0»73r24dGroupPublishingLimited A new strategy that allows universities to apply serious, systematic leverage to accelerate doi 10.1108/00907320510611348 changes taking place in scholarship and scholarly communication, both moving beyond their

historic relatively passive role of supporting established publishers in modernizing scholarly publications through licensing of digital content, and also scaling up beyond ad hoc alliances, partnerships, and support arrangements with a few select faculty pioneers exploring more transformative new uses of the digital medium (Lynch, 2003).

However, much of this potential will remain unrealized if information professionals fail to collaborate in building and promoting the IR. In the library literature, discourse has focused on IRs as an alternative to traditional publishing and, on the particulars of implementation. Absent in the discussion is the opportunity for collaboration of library staff throughout the organization. In particular, there is almost no scholarship on the role of reference librarians in the implementation of institutional repositories. The lack of involvement may stem from reference librarians' preoccupation with other issues, such as the rethinking of the reference service model and the development of virtual reference services. Furthermore, since institutional repositories initially were seen as technical implementations, many administrators did not consider reference/subject librarians as essential team members.

The IR environment is still evolving and its role in scholarly publishing still uncertain. Reference/subject librarians need to involve themselves, partner with colleagues throughout the library and across campus to help shape the IR's future. They bring to the effort an intimate knowledge of users' search techniques and an ability to deal with complex information systems. As vital partners in developing this new model of scholarly communication, reference/subject librarians can advocate the IR to authors and users, getting content in to the IR and getting content out to the public. In this article we address the reference librarians' roles in creating and promoting the IR to potential contributors and future users, providing examples of how these roles have developed with Scholars' Bank, the University of Oregon Libraries' (UO) IR.

Building the IR

There are several different IR software packages; the most commonly used are DSpace and Eprints. The UO Scholars' Bank uses DSpace, an open-source system developed by MIT Libraries and Hewlett Packard. The initial software development was grant-funded and is freely available to anyone wishing to download and use it. Although the design and implementation of an IR require a high level of technical expertise, reference librarians can readily be involved. Reference librarians need not master the infrastructure of the IR; they should focus instead on learning the basics in order fully to contribute their own expertise.

Submission process

Initially, IRs expected faculty self-submission of materials. However, self-submission means a willingness to invest in learning a new process, an understanding of some new terminology, and some familiarity with copyright issues. These are significant barriers for faculty and students, and have been a stumbling block in adding content to IRs. Reference/subject librarians know that the faculty member's interest in information issues is usually episodic and quixotic. It seems unlikely that faculty will fully embrace self-submission. Librarians, who have historically been responsible for information organization and archiving, may need to continue functioning as mediators between authors and IRs (Pinfield et al., 2002). Although Scholars' Bank was initially

RSR established to support author self-submission, in reality library staff have added the

33 3 vast majority of materials on behalf of authors. As IRs evolve, reference librarians will

have a key role in refining the ways that content is added.

Metadata and search tools

In addition to contributing a user-centered perspective to the design of content submission tools, reference librarians' understanding of the user can inform the creation of metadata and IR search tools. DSpace software supports fulltext searching of materials and searching of descriptive metadata (information such as authors, titles, keywords, abstracts). All metadata and fulltext can be searched simultaneously in the general search box. Subject searching can be done only through the advanced searching mode. One area of concern is the DSpace software's lack of authority control for names or subjects. The software does not support controlled vocabularies for subjects, nor provide for any "see from" or "see also" references. Even if a controlled list of terms were to be used, users conducting searches of the repository would need access to that list. Working with faculty and students on a daily basis reinforces the reference librarian's sense of the vital role of authority control, and the importance that subject headings play in specialized academic research. Reference librarians can attest to the value of building search interfaces on top of the software that facilitate these searching techniques.

Other technical concerns in the development of user-centered searching tools also need attention. Currently, the greatest need is to develop sophisticated searching tools to serve users in accessing materials in IRs. With the rapid growth of IRs, it is impossible to be aware of and consult each available resource separately. Harvesters like OAIster, which use the Open Archives Initiative - Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), cull metadata from and link to OAI-compliant institutional repositories in order make cross-institution searches possible. These harvesters are critical in making materials available to users. In the selection of IR software, reference librarians must advocate for the selection of tools that comply with prevailing standards. In DSpace repositories, for example, metadata can be harvested via OAI-PMH. This means that content from these IRs can be registered and included in aggregators like OAIster. Other indexing agencies, such as Google, also harvest from repositories and are working on creating scholarly portals to open-access web-based materials.

To make effective use of institutional repositories along with all the other disparate sources of information that make up today's research landscape, it is important that libraries develop integrated portals to these different resources. Access to these materials and the ever-increasing amount of information available on the web can change the nature of communication and research, but for this to happen librarians must negotiate the information glut and rethink access. The shift from scarcity to abundance, as detailed in Gandel and Katz (2004), means that increasingly refined tools are needed to sift through the growing haystack in order to find the needles.

Currently, too many libraries display a bewildering collection of separate links to the catalog, article databases, and various locally developed resources. Much work needs to be done to create a single entry point at the local level that searches and retrieves information from the different sources seamlessly. Choosing and developing sources that support the OAI-PMH makes the development of such portals possible in

today's world. Libraries must not be stymied by the fact that the initial portals will be somewhat crude because the standards and protocols vary across databases; the most important outcome is the users' discovery of the many different sources. More specific entry points can still provide access to specialized sources for more sophisticated researchers. Over time, the portals themselves will become more robust as standards converge and as the tools for searching across databases become more sophisticated.

Federated searching now offers an additional opportunity to bring IR content together with library catalogs and other databases, creating the "one-stop shop" which users so desire. In an academic world of inter- and cross-disciplinary studies, such approaches allow for quick and easy searching. Reference librarians are very familiar with the researcher's struggle to remember the multiple resources available on a given topic. Often a library user stops the research process as soon as she finds anything that will suffice; other times, a researcher will become overwhelmed by options and fail to find directly relevant resources (Agosto, 2002). The inclusion of IR content in catalogs and cross-database searches greatly increases the likelihood that they will be used.

Federated searches and harvesters, however, will create a need for increasingly fine-tuned search tools. Making more content available and creating tools to search the large amount of content greatly increases the recall of a given search. However, the precision of searches plummets as recall skyrockets. The power of the IR is partially its ability to house different formats and genres of information packets. Because navigation across multiple formats is more available, systems will be needed that allow the user to parse information types (audio, visual, articles, datasets, maps, etc.) in searches and understand differences in results. High precision in search results and format types will be essential for users with specific research queries.

Filling the IR

In order to create a successful IR, the library must find authors to submit materials, which requires campus knowledge about the existence of and an appreciation for the value of the IR. Conveying this information effectively to authors relies on understanding the culture of scholarly communication locally and beyond. Gibbons (2004a), who studied the publication patterns of various sciences, social sciences and humanities, notes that "... what is essential is to first gain a really good grasp of scholarly communication within a discipline and how an IR might fit into the existing model". Reference/subject librarians, familiar with the general academic milieu and the cultures of different disciplines, are uniquely positioned to successfully tackle these challenges.

Cultural and academic barriers

Early in the development of IRs it was recognized that "getting campus 'buy-in' was the main worry... Buy-in would require a shift in how things are done, and any shift in academia can often be a frustrating process" (Carver, 2003). Values entrenched among faculty and campus administration have prevented authors from immediately embracing the IR model. Perceptions of the IR should not be unexpected, but the strength of these concerns may surprise some librarians.

Given existing barriers, authors who submit material to the IR are, in a sense, risk-takers and academia is a risk-averse environment. The traditional culture of academic publishing accounts for some of the resistance to IRs; journal and monograph

• fear of disrupting existing relationships with publishers;

• concerns about the equivalence between IR and journal publishing;

• ignorance of copyright law;

• reluctance for research to be made public without proper vetting;

• reluctance to modify bureaucratic processes;

• reluctance to have a university stamp on their scholarly output;

• technophobia or mistrust of the long-term viability of digital content; and

• lack of time to learn how to do something different.

Within the existing academic culture, there are disciplines open to alternative methods of communication. In some disciplines, such as economics and physics, the practices of sharing work-in-progress has a long history. These authors are comfortable sharing materials with their colleagues. Other disciplines, such as the arts, are interested in multi-media applications and have been quicker to embrace digital publication. However, in many other disciplines, especially in the humanities and social sciences, there is no such tradition and faculty may have a sense of their research as proprietary. The UO IR team has identified other discipline-specific issues:

• reluctance to share versions of their work that are not completed (i.e. working papers);

• failure among professional associations to prioritize changes in scholarly publishing;

• disciplines where only a few publishers control the journals;

• disciplines with pre-existing forums for sharing scholarly work (i.e. physics, economics); and

• disciplines that are performance based (i.e. dance).

The reluctance to submit materials to an IR reaches beyond issues of academic culture. The reluctance of some faculty to engage with a new technology and the age-old challenge of getting the faculty's attention for non-classroom issues should not come as surprises. When faculty members find processes that seem to work, many hold fast to those processes, despite new and potentially useful innovations. This is particularly the case if new technology requires a significant commitment of time.

Campus administrative barriers may also be unanticipated. At the UO, some administrators have expressed concern about having an institutional stamp on content that has not been vetted properly. There have also been concerns expressed about disrupting established processes, such as those for theses and dissertations. Others

publication processes are deeply embedded in the scholarly process. Across disciplines, publishing in journals and monographs has been the standard for over 100 years, and integrating a new genre into scholarly communication is a significant challenge. Faculty depend on the traditional genres of communication not only to disseminate research, but also to get tenure and establish themselves in their field.

Other campus-wide challenges faced by librarians are not as abstract. At the UO, the IR team has encountered resistance across disciplines regarding:

have expressed uncertainty over the accuracy and stability of electronic versions, fearing that they are more likely to be tampered with.

Promotion and marketing

Overcoming the institutional and discipline-specific barriers to IRs can be accomplished, but it takes a partnership of the entire library and a commitment to a long-term marketing effort. Reference/subject librarians who are immersed in their subject disciplines can help by anticipating possible barriers, providing the IR team with information essential to success. Through their ongoing campus relationships they can identify departments and organizations as potential IR communities. For example, the Social Sciences librarian, one of the authors of this piece, is also the Honors College (HC) liaison; during a meeting with HC staff, she identified an HC information need that could be met by the Scholars' Bank.

In searching for potential authors and IR communities, reference/subject librarians can connect the IR team with faculty who may be early adopters and could serve as their departments' bellwethers. Reference/subject librarians can facilitate the spread of faculty interest in IRs within their subject areas by sharing the positive experiences of varied disciplines; those who readily embrace it may encourage those who perceive barriers. Reference/subject librarians can also provide a link to graduate students who may not already be fully embedded in a particular discipline's publishing traditions.

Academic culture cannot change in the space of one conversation, and may not, in some disciplines, change at all. IR implementation work requires tenaciousness and the ability to weave discussions of scholarly publishing alternatives into many interactions over time. Individual face-to-face meetings are the most effective ways to engage faculty and work through the many underlying cultural barriers. Ideally, the reference/subject librarian should attend meetings with departmental representatives. If this is not feasible, before any meeting takes place, it is important to consult the reference/subject librarians for those departments as they can provide insight and continuing connections. The meetings must be individually tailored and presented by staff who are personable, user-centered, technically knowledgeable, and conversant with current scholarly communication issues.

In marketing the IR, it may be helpful at the outset to position the repository as complementary to traditional publishing. This is especially the case in disciplines that lack a history of collaboration and research-sharing. In these disciplines, the institutional repository concept may need to be more extensively explained, marketed, and a variety of specific concerns addressed. Initially, IRs were envisioned as a replacement for the traditional journal publication model. More recently, however, it has been recognized that IRs will include traditional published content as well as many types of materials that have never been captured systematically before. Currently the content being deposited and archived in IRs is diverse from the standpoint of authorship, format, and content. Some of the types available in the UO Scholars' Bank and other IRs are:

• pre-prints and post-prints of published materials;

• out-of-print materials;

• conference papers and presentations;

• working or discussion papers;

RSR • journals;

33,3 • student work, such as class papers, terminal projects, theses, and dissertations;

• learning objects requiring long-term retention;

• finding aids to collections of other materials;

• electronic or digitized administrative records requiring long-term retention;

_ • web sites;

• documents, images, audio files, video, slideshows, etc.; and

• raw data.

Explaining the multiple uses of the IR will help convey its value as a supplement to traditional models.

Promotion of the repository must also use scholarly publishing terminology that is familiar to faculty. Avoid library jargon words such as "institutional repository" and use terms that are more readily understood such as "long-term electronic archive" (Foster and Gibbons, 2005). It helps to name the IR something more user-oriented. The University of Oregon has chosen the phrase Scholars' Bank, a term suggested by a reference/subject librarian. Gibbons (2004b) recently cautioned librarians to avoid the "Tower of Babylon" and find a lingua franca that has meaning for the target audience.

Tools that facilitate faculty acceptance are brief audience-specific handouts that focus on the specific benefits for that individual or department, as well as a brief demonstration of the IR features, file types, and searching capabilities. Presenters should emphasize the strengths of the IR software, but also be prepared to discuss its shortcomings. Discussions with faculty often focus on copyright, traditional publishing mechanisms and how the IR relates to them. It is useful to address these concerns in the context of larger scholarly communication issues. It is also helpful to provide examples of aggregator sites such as Google Scholar and sites for further learning like Sherpa, which tracks publisher positions on self-archiving[1]. Specific examples that show the potential impact of the IR are useful. For example, at UO a Scholars' Bank contributor was recently contacted to write an article after a publisher found her dissertation in a Google search.

Informational materials and resources for faculty are also essential before and after meetings. Quick follow up on faculty questions and concerns is essential. A user-oriented IR web site and a faculty-focused FAQ will greatly facilitate communication[2]. Handouts made available during meetings should also be available online. Do not expect immediate buy-in; repeated contact and follow-up has been the norm at the University of Oregon and elsewhere.

Changing an institution's traditional approaches requires substantial time and effort. The UO Scholars' Bank team has worked for almost two years to address the barriers to adoption of the IR. Campus communities that have embraced the IR concept at the University of Oregon include:

• undergraduate research projects and theses;

• graduate students who need to develop CVs for the job search;

• library faculty, including special collections and archives;

• disciplines involved with public policy issues;

• institutes that desire greater visibility;

• disciplines with a culture of sharing working papers;

• faculty who self-archive on individual web sites;

• disciplines that generate large research data files;

• faculty whose research uses primary source material held in the library; and

• projects that need a distribution mechanism, but have funding or technical skill constraints.

Small successes can then be shared across communities and help to leverage a more positive reception to the IR concept at the campus level.

The UO Scholars' Bank effort is based on a model of providing highly flexible support to faculty. Once a department, organization or individual has expressed interest in submitting materials, we look for opportunities to "make it work". If faculty members want to participate, but do not want to submit materials or provide the metadata themselves, we offer to do it for them. When concern arises about copyright agreements, we offer to contact publishers on their behalf. If authors worry about having people outside their discipline see their work, we emphasize our ability to create restricted-access collections. This high level support and quick response is necessary to build the faculty member's trust in this new publishing venue.

Bringing the IR to users

The primary focus thus far has been on creating and adding content to the institutional repository. A focus on user awareness of and comfort with IRs is the next step in the acceptance of repositories as a trusted method of scholarly publication. It is essential for the library community to embrace the challenges of IR content dissemination. Developing powerful and easy-to-use interfaces, aggregators and other access tools will be useless if researchers do not know that IRs exist. There are a variety of repositories and access tools scattered across universities and other academic organizations, but reference librarians need to promote these sites and tools more vigorously.

Making users aware of IR content requires significant effort. At the UO we have attempted to increase user awareness by making links to the Scholars' Bank through the online catalog: creating a record for the IR and cataloging individual items in the repository. We are also discussing the generation of MARC records from IR metadata. These are all powerful tools in increasing awareness but reference librarians need to step up to promote IRs and teach faculty and students the value of this burgeoning new resource.

To become IR advocates, reference librarians must be familiar with their own institution's repository, as well as the repositories of other libraries and organizations. The emergence of federated search tools, aggregators, and the inclusion of repository materials in catalogs, as discussed in the previous section, makes IR content more available. Continuous changes require close monitoring by reference librarians. Library-wide communication can help reference librarians stay abreast of local IR content and developments. Librarians can showcase examples of IR use in a reference context on library-wide web sites or blogs. Associations such as the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries

RSR (ARL) are committed to exploring new modes of scholarly communication and both are

33,3 excellent sources for up-to-date information. Reference/subject librarians need to take

advantage of the current professional development opportunities and make IR issues a high priority for their regional and national associations.

As their familiarity with IRs increases, reference librarians can integrate their institutions' IRs into users' research vocabulary by championing and clarifying their 320 content. This can be as simple as incorporating IRs into reference interactions, on the

- desk and during virtual reference. Integration into general and discipline-specific

research guides and instruction sessions can also bring IRs to the attention of users. Reference/subject librarians who provide instruction and reference are familiar with user behaviors and needs best understand how users will use IRs. Librarians should also communicate with departments by attending meetings and maintaining active working relationships with faculty.

In addition to advertising the IR, reference librarians can facilitate its movement into the mainstream search process by explaining its value. Repositories do not have the same system of vetting that peer-reviewed journals have, but they are still a powerful source of information. Researchers must know how to evaluate IR content, or it will not become a trusted resource. The level of vetting for any item from the IR must be transparent; reference librarians can help users understand if they are looking at the work of a professor or a student, looking at a pre-print, materials that supplement a book or article, etc. At the University of Oregon, we offer guides that provide tips for evaluating information sources and web sites[3]; these could be modified to address evaluation of IRs. Creating the means for researchers to evaluate IR content will help increase the utility of IRs for students, faculty and other researchers.

When promoting IRs, reference librarians must ensure that users are comfortable using different access tools. In "If we build it, will they come", Wilson (2003) asks, "If they get there, can they make their way around the environments we have created?". While asked in the context of usability testing, we must also apply this to library instruction. Users of IRs, just as users of library collections and the internet, possess radically different technical skills and learning styles. For many of these users, an expert searcher such as a reference librarian can make the vital connections for finding specialized research information.

In teaching researchers about IRs, reference librarians must include not only the what, but also the how. This can be accomplished by customizing instruction to specific user groups and disciplines. Librarians should promote IRs not only by highlighting them in guides and classes, but also by offering more targeted instruction on how to use the tools associated with repositories.

Developing IR partnerships

In this paper we have emphasized the role of the reference/subject librarian as a partner in the IR effort. However, we believe that the inclusion of staff with different expertise from all parts of the library is essential. Our contention is that this partnership needs to be a high priority for libraries developing an IR. To provide some ideas for increased partnering within the library, we will briefly describe the UO's approach to its IR development.

In developing the IR, the critical components have been interdivisional collegiality across divisions and strong administrative support. Although early involvement in the

IR effort is unusual for reference/subject librarians, the library was interested in appointing a diverse team when the IR was chosen as a priority in a 2003 initiative planning session. The team was co-chaired by the head of Metadata and Digital Library Services, and the director of the Center for Educational Technologies. The team members included the head of Reference, the University Archivist, and the Geography/Map librarian. All team members absorbed the IR project on top of their current workload. None of the individuals could claim prior expertise or ownership of the issues and each brought a unique perspective to the discussion. All members kept up with the various trends in scholarly publishing. Discussion ranged widely and different members monitored IR issues from their various perspectives. Because of this structure, reference service perspectives informed discussions of technical and preservation issues. Team members from non-public service areas developed a greater knowledge of user issues and perceptions. The complex issues of metadata standards, preservation, and copyright became much clearer for reference librarians. The team learned a lot about research on campus, which individuals and departments were early adopters, and how much active marketing it takes to add content to the IR.

The IR team set an early goal to find ways of connecting other library staff to the IR effort, particularly reference/subject librarians. Informal conversation about the IR did not typically engage these librarians because they did not see the direct relevance to their specialties. However, a series of presentations that included the IR as part of scholarly publishing discussions and the active participation of the University librarian further clarified its relevance for them. Reference/subject librarians are now actively promoting the IR to their departments, looking for new IR opportunities, and adding IR-related efforts to their annual goals.

A few examples highlight how reference librarians have already played a significant role in developing communities and collections within the UO's IR. One of the first communities created for Scholars' Bank was the brainchild of the Map librarian who served on the initial IR group. He identified the Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management (PPPM) as a possibly receptive group and initiated contact with them. As a result, several collections were created for this community, including a collection of scholarly papers and presentations produced by the department, projects of the Oregon Natural Hazards Workgroup, and a collection of student terminal research projects. Success at PPPM was due, in part, to a pre-existing library database describing the student terminal projects to provide intellectual access to the paper archive of the projects. With the creation of an IR collection, the library was able to combine the database descriptions with the archiving of the content in one place. This collection expanded access to these materials and set the pattern for capturing often-neglected student research through the IR.

Another growing success resulted from discussions with the School of Architecture and Allied Arts (AAA), initiated by the head of the Architecture & Allied Arts Library. Within AAA, the Arts and Administration Program has maintained a web site for archiving and describing student research. Thanks to the initiative of the head of the AAA Library, the first collection established for this community is an archive for this student research that is intended to replace the departmental web site. In addition to approving the harvesting of past research, faculty are directing new students to submit their work to Scholars' Bank after their projects have been accepted. The AAA faculty

RSR have also begun to archive a locally-produced electronic journal within Scholars' Bank

33,3 and discussions are underway for creating collections of faculty research.

The Social Sciences librarian, one of the authors of this article, has also played a pivotal role in making contact with several communities on campus. She has done this by emphasizing the value of the IR to those academic departments for which she is the designated liaison, as well as by becoming involved in the research process of her 322 constituents. She recently attended a retreat for an interdisciplinary research group

- and succeeded in generating strong interest for the IR among the faculty. These are

just a few examples of the ways in which reference librarians, with their connections to faculty and students and in-depth awareness of their campus' academic programs, can facilitate the development of IRs.


The experience of the UO in developing and promoting an IR makes it clear that such endeavors benefit from the inclusion of library staff with different backgrounds and expertise from a variety of areas. At many institutions, IR development has relied heavily on technical and administrative staff. Reference/subject librarians have not played as active a role as we believe they can and should. Because reference librarians are often also subject specialists with liaison responsibilities to specific disciplines, their knowledge of the specialized research needs and scholarly communication patterns of the different disciplines can inform every step of the IR's growth. From daily interactions with students, faculty, researchers and the general public, reference librarians can bring a knowledge of search strategies and user behavior that are essential for the integration of IRs into the spectrum of information resources. The skills of reference librarians uniquely position them for a dual role in the IR community: as facilitators in getting the content into the repository and content out to users. The UO Scholars' Bank project demonstrates how the involvement of reference librarians can create a more useful, robust repository that contributes to the long-term evolution of scholarly communication.

If libraries want IRs to operate as a new form of communication to the broader community, then user needs and behaviors must be central. To succeed in this endeavor, reference/subject librarians must participate in the development and growth of the IR. Only with the partnership of reference/subject librarians will IRs become "a part of a core information infrastructure that the university offers" (Greenstein, 2004).

Further resources

Below are some useful resources for further exploration. More can be found at http://

Examples of IRs

• University of Oregon Scholars Bank ( is the University of Oregon's IR, built with DSpace software.

• E-LIS: Eprints in Library and Information Science ( is an example of a collaborative repository, run by Research in Computing, Library and Information Science.

Examples of harvesters Content in,

OAIster ( harvests from a variety of OAI-PMH content out

compliant academic repositories.

IR software

DSpace ( is software developed by MIT Libraries and Hewlett

Packard. 323


• Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) ( sparc/) is "an alliance of academic and research libraries and organizations working to correct market dysfunctions in the scholarly publishing system." SPARC's web site includes news updates and publications, with faculty talking points.

• ACRL Scholarly Communication ( scholarlycommunication.htm) covers the ACRL's efforts to "reshape the current system of scholarly communication, focusing in the areas of education, advocacy, coalition building and research." The site includes reports, activities and other information.


• Open Archives Initiative ( is an organization that focuses on the technical side of open access and making materials widely available.

• Budapest Open Access Initiative ( came out of a 2001 Open Society Institute meeting in Budapest and sets guidelines for the creation of an IR.

1. These can be found at and respectively.

2. The Scholars' Bank FAQ is at

3. These are found at and http:// respectively.


Agosto, D.E. (2002), "Bounded rationality and satisficing in young people's web-based decision making", Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 53 No. 1, pp. 16-27.

Carver, B. (2003), "Creating an institutional repository: a role for librarians", Ex Libris, No. 181, available at: (accessed December 10, 2004).

Foster, N.F. and Gibbons, S. (2005), "Understanding faculty to improve content recruitment for institutional repositories", D-Lib Magazine, Vol. 11 No. 1, available at: january05/foster/01foster.html (accessed February 1, 2005).

RSR Gandel, P.B. and Katz, R.N. (2004), "The weariness of the flesh: reflections on the life of the mind

in an era of abundance", Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, Vol. 8, pp. 70-9, available at: (accessed December 5, 2004).

Gibbons, S. (2004a), "Institutional repositories: revealing our strengths", available at: www.arl. org/training/webcast/ir/questions.html (accessed December 9, 2004).

324 Gibbons, S. (2004b), "Aligning content recruitment strategies with faculty work practices",

- SPARC Meeting: Institutional Repositories: The Next Stage, Washington, DC, November

18-19, available at: (accessed December 10, 2004).

Greenstein, D. (2004), "Institutional repositories: revealing our strengths", available at: www.arl. org/training/webcast/ir/questions.html (accessed December 9, 2004).

Lynch, C.A. (2003), "Institutional repositories: essential infrastructure for scholarship in the digital age", ARL Bimonthly Report, No. 226, available at: (accessed December 8, 2004).

Pinfield, S., Gardner, M. and MacColl, J. (2002), "Setting up an institutional e-print archive", Ariadne, No. 31, available at: (accessed February 1, 2005).

Wilson, L.A. (2003), "If we build it, will they come? Library users in a digital world", Journal of Library Administration, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 19-28.

Further reading

Johnson, R.K. (2002), "Institutional repositories: partnering with faculty to enhance scholarly communication", D-Lib Magazine, Vol. 8 No. 11, available at: november02/johnson/11johnson.html (accessed December 5, 2004).

Shearer, K. (2004), "Institutional repositories: revealing our strengths", available at: www. (accessed December 9, 2004).