One of the primary roles that my position was created to fill is that of Institutional Repository Administrator. Library workers at my institution had researched various platforms with respect to our library’s capacity to support them through funding, staffing, and available campus technological infrastructure. When I arrived, I helped to conduct a final evaluation of several platforms. As a result of this analysis, the library decided to purchase bepress Digital Commons in 2016* with joint oversight and funding provided by the Center for Legal Information at the School of Law.
The first step in preparing for the platform was to form a committee of stakeholders from both libraries. This committee shepherded the platform through its design process, deciding on a name (later changed*) and banner design.
I then began to plan for the migration of a large legacy collection of Electronic Theses & Dissertations (ETDs) consisting of 1,500+ documents from CONTENTdm to Digital Commons. I began by designing the metadata schema, trying to ensure that it would map to Dublin Core so that it could be imported easily into our library catalog. In terms of the migration itself, the metadata and documents were easy to export; associating them, however, was less straightforward. I used OpenRefine to reconstruct the public-facing URLs for the PDFs from information in the metadata spreadsheet, and imported all of the non-embargoed ETDs using the Digital Commons Batch Upload and Import File from Remote Site functions. The embargoed ETDs will require some work to retrieve PDFs from physical media and associate them with the metadata records; I’m waiting for a rainy day (or a paid assistant) to work on this project. While I was working on this, our Systems Librarian designed collections for and uploaded two legacy journals to the platform as well.
Once the site was designed and had some content loaded into it, I began to recruit new content. I liaised with different offices and departments at the university in order to discover what content they had that was not currently hosted online, or that needed a new home. This led to the collection of student research and publications, recorded lecture series, oral histories, and materials from partner institutions. In each case, I recruited a collection-level administrator so that I had a main point of contact. This also helped me to institute a train-the-trainer approach to administering a number of different collections. When working with a collection administrator, I focus on training them to use the platform, determining any required metadata tweaks, defining the areas where I can provide support, and setting their expectations regarding what settings we can control. This approach has been beneficial in terms of making connections with various groups, and also because it provides a robust source of user feedback.
The next step in the life of the repository is to make a concerted outreach effort to faculty. I hope to be able to add open access versions of faculty scholarship to the repository in order to increase awareness of open access on campus and to provide an avenue for access to those who need it. The Outreach & Communications Librarian has been instrumental in designing branded informational materials to be used for faculty outreach. I have created the Library Scholarship Collection as a proof of concept, as well as to further promote open access archiving within the profession.
*Please see the poster Flexible Marketing and Outreach: An Institutional Repository Case Study, presented at ER&L with the Outreach & Communications Librarian, for an overview of our post-Elsevier acquisition plans for this platform.