Repository Institutionalization: What makes it worth becoming infrastructure?
Repository Institutionalization: What makes it worth becoming infrastructure? Since the advent of inexpensive or open-source institutional repository software, libraries and other institutions have attempted to wrestle with delivering services that could justify supporting the repository through chargebacks of some kind; yet a major problem has been persuading people to fill the repositories with content of adequate value to prospective user communities. Since 2003 we have been running DSpace repository software in the School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, at first simply as a testbed for student work but since spring of 2005 as an institutional archival repository. In the course of this experience, following the ?seed-evolve-reseed? model developed by Gerhard Fischer at the University of Colorado for collaborative development of computing environments, we have begun to demonstrate the value of such a repository in several different directions: fulfilling the state of Texas statutory requirements for preserving official documents (in which the official version of administrative information is posted on the School?s website); providing faculty (and students) with preprint and postprint exposure of their work; providing secure storage for learning objects, including presentations and tutorials; providing secure archiving for digital materials of historical value both to the School and to the discipline; providing an environment for students to work on the problems of digital archiving, populated with objects that will over time and in their turn demonstrate further problems of digital archiving; and providing the Information Technology service with a secure archive for versions of installed software and content. These uses within the School alone are beginning to weigh securely enough in the balance to warrant commitment of funding for the provision of infrastructure to the tasks of administering and delivering educational services.