MIRACLE Project’s Institutional Repository Survey

The MIRACLE (Making Institutional Repositories A Collaborative Learning Environment) project at the University of Michigan’s School of Information presented a paper at JCDL 2006 titled "Nationwide Census of Institutional Repositories: Preliminary Findings."

MIRACLE’s sample population was 2,147 library directors at four-year US colleges and universities. The paper presents preliminary findings from 273 respondents.

Respondents characterized their IR activities as: "(1) implementation of an IR (IMP), (2) planning & pilot testing an IR software package (PPT), (3) planning only (PO), or (4) no planning to date (NP)."

Of the 273 respondents, "28 (10%) have characterized their IR involvement as IMP, 42 (15%) as PPT, 65 (24%) as PO, and 138 (51%) as NP."

The top-ranked benefits of having an IR were: "capturing the intellectual capital of your institution," "better service to contributors," and "longtime preservation of your institution’s digital output." The bottom-ranked benefits were "reducing user dependence on your library’s print collection," "providing maximal access to the results of publicly funded research," and "an increase in citation counts to your institution’s intellectual output."

On the question of IR staffing, the survey found:

Generally, PPT and PO decision-makers envision the library sharing operational responsibility for an IR. Decision-makers from institutions with full-fledged operational IRs choose responses that show library staff bearing the burden of responsibility for the IR.

Of those with operational IRs who identified their IR software, the survey found that they were using: "(1) 9 for Dspace, (2) 5 for bePress, (3) 4 for ProQuest’s Digital Commons, (4) 2 for local solutions, and (5) 1 each for Ex Libris’ DigiTools and Virginia Tech’s ETD." Of those who were pilot testing software: "(1) 17 for DSpace, (2) 9 for OCLC’s ContentDM, (3) 5 for Fedora, (4) 3 each for bePress, DigiTool, ePrints, and Greenstone, (5) 2 each for Innovative Interfaces, Luna, and ETD, and (6) 1 each for Digital Commons, Encompass, a local solution, and Opus."

In terms of number of documents in the IRs, by far the largest percentages were for less than 501 documents (IMP, 41%; and PPT, 67%).

The preliminary results also cover other topics, such as content recruitment, investigative decision-making activities, IR costs, and IR system features.

It is interesting to see how these preliminary results compare to those of the ARL Institutional Repositories SPEC Kit. For example, when asked "What are the top three benefits you feel your IR provides?," the ARL survey respondents said:

  1. Enhance visibility and increase dissemination of institution’s scholarship: 68%
  2. Free, open, timely access to scholarship: 46%
  3. Preservation of and long-term access to institution’s scholarship: 36%
  4. Preservation and stewardship of digital content: 36%
  5. Collecting, organizing assets in a central location: 24%
  6. Educate faculty about copyright, open access, scholarly communication: 8%
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