Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Institutional Repositories

I just attended a webinar hosted by BEPress entitled Kick-Starting IR Success at Any Stage. NELLCO was an early adopter in the repository game and we continue to host and partially underwrite the NELLCO Legal Scholarship Repository (LSR). The LSR has two different components. Under the heading NELLCO Institutional Repositories in Law you will see a listing of the NELLCO members who have implemented a local Digital Commons repository environment. Under the (perhaps misnamed) heading NELLCO Legal Working Paper Series, you'll see the NELLCO libraries that are sharing in a single consortium implementation of Digital Commons. These are two different approaches to the same goal; a repository solution for scholarly and other communications within an institution.

If you glance through the participating libraries' publication sites within the Legal Working Paper Series you'll see varying levels of currency. Not everyone has had great success providing this service to their faculty. Why not? The cost of participating in the shared repository model is minimal given that NELLCO underwrites a significant amount of the annual cost for members. So here is a tool for libraries to engage faculty and provide a persistent and discoverable access point for their scholarship. So why isn't this happening as aggressively as might be expected? We all know it's not a lack of content. Is is lack of support? Lack of understanding? Lack of will?

Michelle Pearse at Harvard was interested in pursuing the role that NELLCO could play in supporting scholarly communication. To that end, we convened a conference call with members to start a conversation and begin exploring possibilities. Only 2 people attended.

Next week is Open Access Week. I'd like to challenge everyone to think about the state of scholarly communications in your institution and where the library could or should be playing a role. Then I'll pose this simple question that resonated with me from the BEPress webinar: How Can We Help?

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