Institutional repositories (IRs) continue to be the “online locus for collecting, preserving, and disseminating—in digital form—the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution.”1 This straightforward definition belies the complex nature of the institutional repository movement. An entire industry has been spawned around IRs. Numerous articles and book-length treatises provide libraries with solutions for creating IRs.2 Websites have sprung up to organize this wealth of information and examine every aspect of the repository movement.3 Despite the abundance of information on IRs, librarians consistently show an interest in learning more about their promises and pitfalls, and they seek practical advice on creating, maintaining, implementing, and marketing them.

To capitalize on the ongoing interest in IRs, in the winter of 2009, the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) presented a symposium entitled “Implementing an Institutional Repository: Benefits and Challenges.” The enthusiastic response to the presentations made at that meeting led to the development of a series of webinars about various aspects of institutional repository creation and then to the adaptation and expansion of some of the presentations from both the symposium and the webinars into this publication.4

The chapters are evaluated according to a stringent editorial review process; however, rather than waiting until all the chapters are complete, each is made available online as it is finished.

The first chapter, “Institutional Repositories: The Promises of Yesterday, The Promises of Tomorrow” by Greg Tananbaum, reprises both his keynote address at the 2009 symposium and the webinar that he presented in March 2009. It serves as a fitting framework for additional chapters, which examine a wide variety of topics including open access, copyright and intellectual property, marketing the IR, the value of partnerships, the IR as a publishing platform, selecting the platform, and the importance of metadata.

“Approaches to Marketing an Institutional Repository to Campus” by Marisa Ramirez and Michael D. Miller of California Polytechnic State University, provides an overview of basic marketing principles, and also illustrates how those principles can be used to promote an institutional repository within the academic environment. Chapter three, “Perpetual Beta: Assessing the Institutional Repository,” by Allison Sivac and Leah Vanderjagt from the University of Alberta, discusses several options librarians have for measuring the value and success of the institutional repository.

In “Institutional Repositories: Libraries and the Academy,” Marilyn Billings examines the role of the IR in academe.  In the fifth chapter "Implementing Open Access Policies Using Institutional Repositories" Ellen Finnie Duranceau and Sue Kriegsman discuss the issues to be faced when implementing an institutional open access policy within the framework of the IR.  

Many research and educational institutions are finding the promises of creating and maintaining an IR alluring, and in many cases libraries are intimately, often centrally, involved in this effort.  The serial format of this publication was designed to provide a cost-effective alternative to securing information on a subject of continuing importance and enable the reader to easily download “on demand” one or more chapters, depending on his or her interests.  It may also serve as a publishing model for ALCTS to provide the information community with exceptional content in a timely fashion. Your comments on both the experimental nature of the publication and on the subject matter itself is most welcome.

Pamela Bluh and Cindy Hepfer, editors 
January 2013

Reference Notes   

1. "institutional repository." Wikipedia. (Accessed 13 November 2012).   

2. Sarah L. Shreeves and Melissa H. Cragin, eds. “Institutional Repositories: Current State and Future.” Library Trends 57, no. 2, 2008; Research on Institutional Repositories (IRs). (Accessed 13 November 2012); Resources for Institutional Repositories. (Accessed 13 November 2012).   

3. Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) (Accessed 13 November 2012); Digital Scholarship. (Accessed 13 November 2012); OASIS: Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook. (Accessed 13 November 2012).   

4. Find information on current and past ALCTS Webinars, including those in institutional repositories at: (Accessed 13 November 2012).


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