Posted in Education, Management for Informational Professionals, MLIS Courses

Managing Repositories

This post originally appeared at Librarian in Progress as part of an assignment for class.


With the rise in digital publishing’s popularity, academics and researchers need a place to put their publications. Institutions, naturally, have come up with a solution: Institutional Repositories (IR). According to Margaret Barton of MIT, “[a]n institutional repository is a database with a set of services to capture, store, index, preserve and redistribute a university’s scholarly research in digital formats.” (Barton, 2004)

Unfortunately, not every researcher or academic is willing to alter their publication routine to include publishing their research in an institutional repository. Chan, Kwok, and Yip (2005) described the changes in a reference librarian’s job as institutional repositories become more popular, including the potential struggles involved in implementing an IR. Many of the potential issues outlined, from the faculty’s ignorance and apathy of IR policies to the institution’s policies regarding the IR, are new to the current reference librarians. Fortunately, current students with access to studies such as the one highlighting HKUST’s IR will be able to learn about the issues facing future reference librarians and prepare for them before they become an issue.

Fortunately for those institutions hesitant about creating an IR, there are studies available to outline the benefits of institutional repositories. For example, Gibbons (2004) outlines many benefits, including the preservation of published research, the efficiency involved in having convenient access to an institution’s faculty’s research, and the ability of the IR to spread the researched material through a wider base, among other things.

As digital preservation becomes more discussed and institutional repositories are established in more institutions, studies like the ones referenced here will become more important for students of library and information systems.


Barton, M. R. (2004). Creating an Institutional Repository: LEADIRS workbook, Cambridge: MIT Libraries.

Chan, D. L. H., Kwok, C. S. Y. and Yip, S. K. F. (2005). Changing the roles of reference librarians: The case of the HKUST institutional repository. Reference Services Review, 33(3), 268-282. doi: 10.1108/00907320510611302.

Gibbons, S. (2004). Benefits of an institutional repository. In Library Technology Reports Number 4 (chapter 3). Retrieved from https://journals.ala.org/ltr/article/view/4376/5059.

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