Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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The Open Access movement is a social movement. The movement traces its history at least back to the 1960s, but became much more prominent in the 1990s with the advent of digital communications, in particular the Internet. Before the advent of internet, File Transfer Protocol, gopher, and the World Wide Web were used to increase availability of scholarly material by lowering the barriers to distribution. It has since become the subject of much discussion among researchers, academics, librarians, university administrators, funding agencies, government officials, commercial publishers, and learned-society publishers. Prior to the advent of the Internet publishers and academic societies dominated scholarly communication, and researchers channeled their research output solely through authoritative publishers and academic societies. Now different models are being developed to provide access, manage costs, and manage an organization's scholarly output, especially at colleges and universities. The currently evolving model is referred to as Open Access. The two schools of thought within Open Access are the journal reform school, and the self-archiving school.

IR: Some thoughts

Institutional repositories are becoming prevalent in academic sector. In the face of rising costs, flat budgets, and restricted access to information, as well as rapid changes in technology, scholarly practice, and patron expectations, libraries of any type or size have been challenged to maintain their depth of collections and high level of services. IRs are being established for a variety of reasons:

i) to support open access movement;

ii) to provide access to the public funded research;

iii) to provide open access to the institution's output; and

iv) to support preservation and so on.

A repository can hold wide range of materials in different forms and formats for scholarly communications. It can support research, learning, and scholarly communication processes of an organization. If it is properly developed, it advances a number of goals and addresses an impressive range of needs.

Few years ago, Institutional repository initiatives were initiated only in some developed countries. In India, Institutional repository movement was started in 2004 and is gaining momentum and new initiatives are emerging around the country. Institutional repositories are already well established in many IITs, IIMs and other institutes having national importance. Institutional Repository has become an essential part or component of digital library that provides an alternative platform for sharing knowledge globally. Institutional Repository has four characteristics as defined by Johnson (2002). They are mentioned below:

  • institutionally defined (as opposed to discipline- or subject-focused);
  • scholarly (containing the products of faculty, research staff, and students);
  • cumulative and perpetual (the content will be preserved on a long-term basis); and
  • open and interoperable (attentive to the Open Archives Initiative—Protocol for Metadata Harvesting).
  • Definition

In simplest terms, a digital repository is where digital content, assets, are stored and can be searched and retrieved for later use. A repository supports mechanisms to import, export, identify, store and retrieve digital assets.

According to the SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) position paper on institutional repositories "an institutional repository is a digital archive of the intellectual product created by faculty, research staff, and students of an institution, with few if any barriers to access"(Crow, 2002)

According to Lynch (2003), "a university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution."

Government Initiatives

University Grants Commission (2005) has already developed a policy document on building University level Institutional Digital Repository ( in India. UGC has recommended that all the universities should set up theses repository to facilitate e-submission, archiving, maintenance and access to these repository at the university level. University Grants Commission (2005) enacted "UGC (Submission of Metadata and Full-text of Doctoral Theses in Electronic Format) Regulations, 2005" to strengthen national capability of producing electronic theses and dissertations, and, to maintain university-level and national level databases of theses and dissertations. This Regulation proposed two sets of planned actions, such as:

  • Creation of Indian National Theses Database (INTED):
  • Submission of PhD Theses in Electronic Form

Another government organization, National Knowledge Commission (2007) strongly advocates open access to public-funded research literature and recently has taken initiative for building nation wide institutional Repository. Bangalore declaration (2006) drafted a model National Open Access Policy for Developing Countries also support this view and advocated for open access institutional repository. Some professional associations and societies like Developing Library Network (DELNET), INFLIBNET (Information Library Network) are also involved in modernization of libraries, training and setting up the IRs.