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Fabrizia Bevilacqua

The impact of organisational issues in the development of institutional repositories

Fabrizia Bevilacqua
Library of Classical and Medieval Philology, University of Parma

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     Last modified: October 12, 2007

Institutional repositories (IRs) may serve the needs of academic institutions not only by extending access to research and teaching outputs, but also by organising the internal body of knowledge and by facilitating communication, sharing and re-use. Communication and integration are essential functionalities for any IR implementation project. As to technological infrastructure, DSpace offers several advantages: its structure based on communities gives institutions the possibility to organise collections of digital materials according to the local structure. Furthermore, the workflow process facilitates interaction of different roles and stakeholders. However, technology by itself is not enough and each university must develop a pan-university strategy and organisation, to support collaboration among different communities and sectors, now working in isolation. If so far many IR implementation projects have not been effective in gathering content, one reason could be that, as yet, this second aspect has not been understood and addressed through specific policies and innovative organisational models.

This presentation will provide a summary of the results of an investigation on organisational issues, carried out on the Italian universities and research institutes having implemented a DSpace-based IR. The aim of the study was to understand if and how this organisational change has been realised, and what are the perceived obstacles to this process. Several aspects were analysed, such as the level of commitment, the establishment of policies and rules on content, quality and users, the groups and responsibilities involved, and the level of integration with indexing and cataloguing services. Data were collected through a preliminary examination of information available on each IR website and through semi-structured interviews with DSpace administrators. The presentation will focus on the key issues that have emerged and highlight some considerations which might be useful to the professionals involved in implementing IR projects.

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