ARL Institutional Repositories SPEC Kit

The Institutional Repositories SPEC Kit is now available from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). This document presents the results of a thirty-eight-question survey of 123 ARL members in early 2006 about their institutional repositories practices and plans. The survey response rate was 71% (87 out of 123 ARL members responded). The front matter and nine-page Executive Summary are freely available. The document also presents detailed question-by-question results, a list of respondent institutions, representative documents from institutions, and a bibliography. It is 176 pages long.

Here is the bibliographic information: University of Houston Libraries Institutional Repository Task Force. Institutional Repositories. SPEC Kit 292. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, 2006. ISBN: 1-59407-708-8.

The members of the University of Houston Libraries Institutional Repository Task Force who authored the document were Charles W. Bailey, Jr. (Chair); Karen Coombs; Jill Emery (now at UT Austin); Anne Mitchell; Chris Morris; Spencer Simons; and Robert Wright.

The creation of a SPEC Kit is a highly collaborative process. SPEC Kit Editor Lee Anne George and other ARL staff worked with the authors to refine the survey questions, mounted the Web survey, analyzed the data in SPSS, created a preliminary summary of survey question responses, and edited and formatted the final document. Given the amount of data that the survey generated, this was no small task. The authors would like to thank the ARL team for their hard work on the SPEC Kit.

Although the Executive Summary is much longer than the typical one (over 5,100 words vs. about 1,500 words), it should not be mistaken for a highly analytic research article. Its goal was to try to describe the survey’s main findings, which was quite challenging given the amount of survey data available. The full data is available in the "Survey Questions and Responses" section of the SPEC Kit.

Here are some quick survey results:

  • Thirty-seven ARL institutions (43% of respondents) had an operational IR (we called these respondents implementers), 31 (35%) were planning one by 2007, and 19 (22%) had no IR plans.
  • Looked at from the perspective of all 123 ARL members, 30% had an operational IR and, by 2007, that figure may reach 55%.
  • The mean cost of IR implementation was $182,550.
  • The mean annual IR operation cost was $113,543.
  • Most implementers did not have a dedicated budget for either start-up costs (56%) or ongoing operations (52%).
  • The vast majority of implementers identified first-level IR support units that had a library reporting line vs. one that had a campus IT or other campus unit reporting line.
  • DSpace was by far the most commonly used system: 20 implementers used it exclusively and 3 used it in combination with other systems.
  • Proquest DigitalCommons (or the Bepress software it is based on) was the second choice of implementers: 7 implementers used this system.
  • While 28% of implementers have made no IR software modifications to enhance its functionality, 22% have made frequent changes to do so and 17% have made major modifications to the software.
  • Only 41% of implementers had no review of deposited documents. While review by designated departmental or unit officials was the most common method (35%), IR staff reviewed documents 21% of the time.
  • In a check all that apply question, 60% of implementers said that IR staff entered simple metadata for authorized users and 57% said that they enhanced such data. Thirty-one percent said that they cataloged IR materials completely using local standards.
  • In another check all that apply question, implementers clearly indicated that IR and library staff use a variety of strategies to recruit content: 83% made presentations to faculty and others, 78% identified and encouraged likely depositors, 78% had library subject specialists act as advocates, 64% offered to deposit materials for authors, and 50% offered to digitize materials and deposit them.
  • The most common digital preservation arrangement for implementers (47%) was to accept any file type, but only preserve specified file types using data migration and other techniques. The next most common arrangement (26%) was to accept and preserve any file type.
  • The mean number of digital objects in implementers’ IRs was 3,844.

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