Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Repositories at Master's Institutions: A Census and Analysis

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Repositories at Master's Institutions: A Census and Analysis

Article excerpt

Since Lynch and Lippincott published a comprehensive census of institutional repositories (IR) in 2005, numerous studies have examined topics relating to the growth, development, and content of academic repositories. (1) Subsequent investigations often focused on repositories at major research institutions, particularly members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) since these institutions were early adopters of IRs. (2) Much of the IR literature is survey- or interview-based, soliciting information and experience from librarians, repository administrators, faculty, and students about the maintenance of the repository or user awareness of it. (3) Other researchers conducted content analyses of repositories, but many of those projects are dated or considered as a subset of operating repositories in the United States. (4) Investigators indicated a need for more research on IRs at smaller academic institutions, analyses comparing faculty and student content, and assessments of scholarly and non-scholarly content. (5)

Master's-level colleges and universities provide a unique contrast between institutions that focus primarily on teaching undergraduates and those with a dominant research agenda. The majority of repository content at smaller and teaching-oriented institutions may consist of student research. (6) Faculty at master's institutions often have larger teaching assignments yet still have a strong interest in and an obligation to conduct research. As at research-focused universities, faculty at master's-level institutions may be very interested in promoting their research accomplishments through an IR.

The main purpose of this study was to conduct a thorough census of institutional repositories supported by Carnegie-classified master's colleges and universities (small, medium, and large programs), thus providing a comprehensive and updated inventory of master's repositories. (7) In addition to documenting the existence of these repositories, this project sought to investigate the type of content that they contained. Considering research expectations at master's institutions, the study focused primarily on determining the percent of repositories that contained some type of faculty content but also recorded other types of content to compare results with previously published studies on academic repositories. A third goal of the study was to analyze discoverability using these possible pathways: entry for the IR in an established directory (Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) or the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR)), tracking discoverability through the open web, and through the home organization's webpages. (8)

Literature Review


Several authors have attempted to define the number and growth of institutional repositories throughout the United States. Lynch and Lippincott conducted the first major study in 2005. Their analysis focused on Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) members, a joint project of ARL and Educause. Survey respondents were consortial members from ninety-seven doctoral-granting institutions and thirty-five liberal arts colleges. At the time of the survey, 40 percent of the CNI members had an IR in place and 88 percent of the remainder planned to implement one. Only two of the liberal arts institutions, however, had a working repository at that time. (9)

As a follow-up to the 2005 census, McDowell broadened the potential study pool by using ROAR and membership lists from DSpace and bepress' Digital Commons repository software. She also conducted Google searches of all doctoral-granting institutions and the top ranked liberal arts colleges to locate as many repositories as possible regardless of institution size or focus. This study revealed that the IR movement was not limited to ARL or large doctoral-granting institutions. By late 2006, more than half of the repositories in the United States were at institutions with enrollments below 15,000 students and 53 percent of the seventy-three repositories were at non-ARL institutions. …

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