Institutional Repositories, Libraries, and the Academy

Institutional Repositories, Libraries, and the Academy Marilyn S. Billings

The institutional repository (IR) is more than an end product that holds content. It is a complex system with a variety of participants and a development course that can most accurately be described as “perpetual beta.” As a software system with both commercial and open-source iterations, an institutional repository undergoes continuous change in functionality and development. Predictions in the early 2000s were that the IR would stimulate a radical change in scholarly publishing. That initial formative vision has not yet been fully realized. The literature on institutionally focused IRs, as opposed to discipline-focused repositories, is starting to recognize that the reductionist lenses through which librarians view the institutional repository are too limited for the systems that have been built and the support required from academia.

This chapter examines the shift from traditional to electronic scholarly publishing, a subject of widespread interest and concern among librarians, and the ways in which it is altering the role of libraries and librarians in the twenty-first century.