Collaborate, Create, Communicate

Why build digital repositories?

One great way to make your research outputs available, accessible and applicable is to maximize visibility on the Internet with digital repositories.

 Why place your research outputs in a repository?     

  • Organization. It captures research outputs in a structured manner that’s easily retrievable.
  • Visibility. Each output is recorded in some detail so that searches can be made against it much like a library catalog. This ‘metadata’ as it is called can further be ‘mined’ or ‘harvested’ by external services to provide greater visibility. Your research stands a greater chance of being found, used and re-used.
  • Move with the times. Preservation of data, information and knowledge now goes beyond print archives. Turning your print research outputs into digital content makes it accessible to a wider audience. Documents stored electronically do not suffer from physical wear and tear.

 However, there is more to building repositories than merely cataloging and storing research outputs. Creating a repository that is well-managed and sustainable requires some groundwork.

 What is needed?

  • Institutional policies that address legal issues in archiving/ copyright/ content re-use; accepted by all stakeholders in the institution; and enable sustainable development of the repository
  • Define content type: what is to be deposited – research articles, reports, books etc.
  • Format: Word file, PDF, html etc.
  • Metadata
  • Workflow and management of repository

If you are considering developing a repository for your institution, have a look at Group 2 of the CIARD Pathways. The pathways describe what needs to be done and how to go about putting policies in place and building a repository. They also share several case studies on the development and management of repositories.

Learn how to turn your print research outputs into digital content. Find out how you can preserve your repository content and keep on top of rapidly changing software and hardware options. Whether you are a research manager, scientist, technical developer, information or communications professional,  these pathways guide you towards creating useful and sustainable repositories.

Do you think –   “If I build a repository, will they come?”  Build it on the internet, they most certainly will!

Till next time.

“photo credit: MoodleMan blog”