Managing the Intellectual Assets of the University

One of the main requirements of an institutional repository is to bring together and provide uniform access to the objects that have been deposited into the repository. Currently many of the assets created by members of the university community are scattered through out the community. Some are on paper, some are on people's hard drives, some in the library archives, some possibly on a web server somewhere in the university. Many assets weither research data sets, student thesis and dissertations, lesson plans or teaching aids have simply been lost. Unfortunatly this is more so the case with digital objects that seem to disaper or get misplaced more rapidly than physical objects.

An institutional repository is a set of centralized, web-based services for organizing, managing, preserving, and providing open access to digital scholarship and other intellectual assets created by members of the institution. Examples of these assets might include technical reports, working papers, conference papers, preprints, post prints, books, thesis, datasets, course materials, and digitalized library collections in a variety of formats such as text, images, audio and video.

One of the key ideas behind an IR is that the University itself is the best steward for the intellectual property that is produced by the University community. Often the indiviual faculty member relies on the journal or textbook publisher to assure that his work is made avaiable. An IR is institutionally defined and is focused on presenting and preserving the work of faculty, staff, and students.

When a digial asset is deposited in the repository an accompaning metadata record is created for the asset. This record is used for searching locally but can also be harvested by web search engine crawlers like Google. This metadata record facilitates the discovery of assets in the repository by users through out the world hopefully extending the University's visibility.

This metadata record can also be harvested by other OAI compatible repositories. This allows other intitutions or businesses to selectively aggregate records from multiple repositories. These aggregated databases may be disciplined base or research area based.

An IR allows (requires) local stewardship of the assets while trying to provide the widest possible exposure to those assets.