Integrating Scholarly Repository Services into Consortial Organizations and Statewide University Systems
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In 2003, Clifford A. Lynch published his influential essay Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age arguing that, through institutional repositories (IRs), universities hold the potential to permanently change the landscape of scholarly communication. Lynch's paper was a response to MIT's launch of its DSpace repository and SPARC's position paper advocating IR development, both in 2002. These events suggested the promise of IRs to increase the visibility of scholarship, provide stewardship of the least permanent element of an institution's intellectual output, and demonstrate institutional effectiveness. They would promote collaboration, provide a valuable resource for the public, create an outlet for digital scholarship, and promote sharing of learning objects to enhance teaching. By the end of 2009, 229 IRs have been established in the U.S., and scores of thinkers have generated papers and presentations about them. Organizations such as the Association of Research Libraries and the Association of College and Research Libraries support IRs as part of their efforts to reform scholarly communication and achieve open access to publicly funded research. Despite this surge in interest and their potential benefits, IRs have yet to create the far-reaching changes to scholarly communication that Lynch's paper envisions, particularly in the U.S. Hindered by a lack of resources and expertise, only three percent of colleges and universities in the U.S. host an IR. Among public institutions, access to IRs tracks closely with library funding: seventy-eight percent of IRs are hosted by universities with ARL membership. Yet ARL institutions represent only three percent of public post-secondary schools and ten percent of four-year institutions. A majority of respondents to the 2007 IR census by Karen Markey, et al. had no plans for establishing an IR, although they reported a sleeping beast of demand at their institutions. Masters and baccalaureate institutions in particular, cite insufficient resources and expertise to launch and maintain a repository. Only one public historically black college or university in the U.S. has an IR, and the potential of digital repository services for two-year colleges is virtually unexplored. In 2009, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded the Georgia Institute of Technology a 3-year grant of $857,000 to initiate the GKR statewide repository service in Georgia. The GKR's merit lies in its replicable practices and technology solutions. The GKR service will provide: 1) hosting of independent DSpace instances for GKR participating institutions; 2) a repository of harvested metadata from existing and hosted DSpace sites along with a single search site using open source software; 3) IR-related services that include guidance and training on metadata and content submission and rights management, digital preservation, , and content digitization; and 4) a new, open source repository collection mapping tool to create a common discipline-based taxonomy across repositories with dissimilar academic and research vocabularies. With this open source tool, the GKR addresses a central challenge for statewide repositories - joining content from partner institutions into a common system, which users can both browse and search centrally. The GKR mapping tool allows partners to map entire repository collections to discipline-based collections in the central repository using just a Web browser. The resulting mapping data will be used when ingesting partners' metadata to bring together their disparate content under a common taxonomy. The GKR service also will develop and implement a symposium on statewide and consortial repositories for other states and consortia considering the establishment of IR services. The GKR program will be presented and examined in this session for the LITA National Forum.