The articles in the Library Trends IR issue provide a range of perspectives on IRs, including:
the IR as infrastructure to support data curation and long-term preservation of digital materials produced on campus; the IR as one of a set of services to support scholarly communication and openness on campus; the IR as a tool for librarian subject liaisons to work more closely with their faculty and move closer to the research process; the IR as a collaborative activity between libraries, university archives, and campus IT organizations (“Introduction,” 96).
Some interesting points made throughout:
- There is no clear consensus around what purpose IRs serve or what their role might be in the future (“Introduction,” 90, 96)
- The boundaries between IRs and an institution’s repository (i.e., archives) aren’t clear (“Introduction,” 91; “Perceptions and Experiences of Staff in the Planning and Implementation of Institutional Repositories,” 177; “At the Watershed: Preparing for Research Data Management and Stewardship at the
,” 203) Universityof Minnesota Libraries
- “Preservation—a stated goal of many IRs—is often an afterthought” (“Introduction,” 92), but IRs have a key role to play in digital preservation (“Institutional Repositories in the UK,” 129; “Strategies for Institutional Repository Development,” 144; “Institutional Repositories and Research Data Curation in a Distributed Environment,” 195; “At the Watershed: Preparing for Research Data Management and Stewardship at the University of Minnesota Libraries,” 207; “Case Study in Data Curation at Johns Hopkins University,” 212; “The “Wealth of Networks” and Institutional Repositories: MIT, DSpace, and the Future of the Scholarly Commons,” 246; and especially “Leveraging Short-term Opportunities to Address Long-term Obligations: A Perspective on Institutional Repositories and Digital Preservation Programs,” 267ff.)
- “Materials in institutional repositories do not fit into librarianship’s traditional quality and authority heuristics” (“Innkeeper at the Roach Motel,” 104f.)
A number of interesting points are made in the ASIST Bulletin IR issue as well, including:
- The connection between self- and institutional archiving (see 13ff. [affirmative side])
- The importance of both preservation and dissemination (see 15 [affirmative side])
- The broad range of “scholarly” content that can be included in an IR (see 13ff., 18 [affirmative sides])
There is minimal discussion of the roles of archivists and archives (but see 17f. [negative side]).
For a view of the relationship between institutional repositories and institutions’ repositories, see Elizabeth Yakel et al., “Institutional Repositories and the Institutional Repository: College and University Archives and Special Collections in an Era of Change,” American Archivist 71 (2008): 323-49. From the conclusion:
Given the centrality of archival and special collections materials to IRs and the perceived importance of preservation to both IR developers and contributors, this may be a missed opportunity for archivists.
Nevertheless, “Institutional Repositories (IRs) are becoming an extension of the institutional repository (archives)” (348).