About Open Digital Archives/Institutional Repositories

In 2003, the Association for Research Libraries described institutional repository or open digital archives in the following way:
An institutional repository is “a set of services that [an institution] offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials,including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organizationand access or distribution. While operational responsibility for theseservices may reasonably be situated in different organizational unitsat different universities, an effective institutional repository ofnecessity represents a collaboration among librarians, information technologists,archives and records mangers, faculty, and [college] administratorsand policymakers.” [Clifford Lynch, . "Institutional Repositories:Essential Infrastructure for Scholarshipin the Digital Age." ARL.February 2003

An institutional repository can include not only scholarly articles, but also electronic books, online journals, audio files (e.g., wav, mp3), images (e.g., tiff, gif), movies (e.g., mpeg, quicktime), and reference texts (e.g., dictionaries, directories).

Examples of Digital Archives or Institutional Repositories

  • DigitalCommons@Macalester
    Tthe open digital archive/institutional repository for Macalester College.

  • OAIster
    Created by the University of Michigan, OAIster is a search engine of institutional repositories. As of February, 2009, there were over 1,000 institutions contributing. Macalester's repository, Digital Commons, is one of them. Sample search.

  • University of California Digital Library Escholarship Repository
    This University of California repository, provides persistent access and makes content easily discoverable. It is a project of the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library within the University of California Office of the President. eScholarship, whose mission is to facilitate and support scholar-led innovations in scholarly communication, is providing this and other services in response to an expressed need for alternative publishing mechanisms. This UC Office of the President/CDL initiative stands to benefit the entire university."
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