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Is your digital repository a secret?

By Cory Lampert on August 22, 2008 8:08 AM | Permalink
It is a commonly held notion that digitization work is done to support learning and to increase access to materials. Cited in the report mentioned below, nearly 80% of large academic libraries either already have or plan to have digital repositories. Sounds great, right? Well hold on. Ithaka's 2006 Studies of Key Stakeholders in the Digital Transformation in Higher Education, presents research highlighting faculty views on the academic library. The report also tracks changes in their views over time (the years 2000, 2003, and most recently: 2006). This very interesting report reveals lots of thought-provoking topics for discussion; but the section on digital repositories was what drew my immediate attention and may be cause for some alarm. Especially this:
"Still, the vast majority - almost two-thirds - of faculty members are not even sure if their institution has a digital repository and less than a third of those aware of a campus digital repository report having ever contributed content to it. It is clear that these repositories have not become embedded in faculty workflows; in fact, many faculty are not even aware of their existence. Faculty of all different disciplines and across different size institutions were relatively equally unaware if their institution has a repository."
Clearly, this is a problem. Considering all the work that goes into repository creation, not to mention the implications for scholarly publishing and the important educational impact; this research certainly calls for a more targeted effort to not only make digital materials accessible -- but to encourage and support their use. Marketing of repositories, education about participation in repositories, and evaluation of repositories are all key areas that need future attention to change the course of the current statistics. At UNLV, we are just beginning to tap into faculty participation through our subject liaisons and outreach. What techniques have others found to be most effective in this area?

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