Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



Paul Royster

Date of this Version



Presented at SPARC Digital Repositories Conference, Renaissance Harborplace, Baltimore, MD, November 17, 2008.


During its 3 years of operations, the institutional repository at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has gathered and posted over 19,000 documents, which, together with its hosted ETD collection, make it the country’s 3rd largest IR. Usage records also indicate it is one of the busiest, as well, furnishing almost 120,000 downloads during the most recent month (October 2008).

The IR has also become the cornerstone for a bundle of electronic publishing services developed and provided by the UNL Libraries. Indeed, these services may be seen as the enablers or preconditions of the IR’s successful track record.

To facilitate and accelerate faculty uptake and participation in the IR, services are provided to supplement the “traditional” self-archiving model. We call it our “Do It For Me” model, and the terms are basically: send us your publications list, and we will do the rest. The IR staff does article collection, permissions clearing, scanning, preparation of author versions (including typesetting and proofing), and ultimately mediated deposit. More than 90% of the faculty articles in the IR have been acquired via this model. Mediated deposit also allows for greater consistency in metadata, file sizes and data integrity, quality control, and copyright/permissions compliance.

We also seek and solicit previously unpublished works—of any length—to be issued as original publications. Works that demonstrate strong demand in electronic form, where eligible, can be re-purposed as on-demand printed works, available for sale through a 3rd-party vendor. The IR also promotes itself as an archival hosting service for document collections, periodical series, and conference proceedings.

Finally, there are services that provide a “running re-sale” to stimulate interest and increase satisfaction among depositors. Our IR provides regular monthly usage reports and usage analysis to depositors; and this has proved immensely useful in increasing submissions from authors and co-authors, who are impressed with the numbers of downloads their articles receive. In order to maintain the relatively high levels of usage (the current average is over 7 downloads per month per article), the IR practices search engine optimization—by creating full and search-term-laden abstracts and by placing links on appropriate external websites.

The presentation discusses best practices for content recruitment and document preparation, policies and implementation, staffing requirements, and software customization and design. Finally, the program considers the central role of the library’s IR in an overall campus strategy for scholarly communication and publication.

Joan's SPARC 11-17-08.ppt (873 kB)
Joan Giesecke's PowerPoint

Royster Value Added.ppt (7434 kB)
Paul Royster's PowerPoint

08 Value-added User Services.mp3 (19668 kB)
Audio file (.mp3) 20 min/20 Mb