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SPEC Kit 292 Institutional Repositories

Charles W. Bailey, University of Houston
Karen Coombs, University of Houston
Jill Emery, University of Texas at Austin
Anne Mitchell
Chris Morris
Spencer Simons, University of Houston
Robert Wright


The Institutional Repositories SPEC Kit is now available [1] from the Association of Research Libraries (ARL [2]). This document presents the results of a thirty-eight-question survey of 87 responding ARL members in early 2006 about their institutional repositories practices and plans. The survey response rate was 71% (87 out of 123 ARL members). The front matter and nine-page Executive Summary [3] are freely available.

The document also presents detailed question-by-question results, a list of respondent institutions, representative documents from institutions, and a bibliography. It is 176 pages long.

Here is the bibliographic information: University of Houston Libraries Institutional Repository Task Force. Institutional Repositories. SPEC Kit 292. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, 2006. ISBN:


The members of the University of Houston Libraries [4] Institutional Repository Task Force who authored the document were Charles W. Bailey, Jr.; Karen Coombs; Jill Emery (now at UT Austin); Anne Mitchell; Chris Morris; Spencer Simons; and Robert Wright.

The creation of a SPEC Kit [5] is a highly collaborative process. SPEC Kit Editor Lee Anne George and other ARL staff worked with the authors to refine the survey questions, mounted the Web survey, analyzed the data in SPSS, created a preliminary summary of survey question responses, and edited and formatted the final document. Given the amount of data that the survey generated, this was no small task. The authors would like to thank the ARL team for their hard work on the SPEC Kit.

Although the Executive Summary is much longer than the typical one (over 5,100 words vs. about 1,500 words), it should not be mistaken for a highly analytic research article. Its goal was to try to describe the survey's main findings, which was quite challenging given the amount of survey data available. The full data is available in the "Survey Questions and Responses" section of the SPEC Kit.

Here are some quick survey results:

- Thirty-seven ARL institutions (43% of respondents) had an

operational IR (we called these respondents implementers), 31 (35%)

were planning one by 2007, and 19 (22%) had no IR plans.

- Looked at from the perspective of all 123 ARL members, 30%

had an operational IR and, by 2007, that figure may reach 55%.

- The mean cost of IR implementation was $182,550.

- The mean annual IR operation cost was $113,543.

- Most implementers did not have a dedicated budget for either

start-up costs (56%) or ongoing operations (52%).

- The vast majority of implementers identified first-level IR

support units that had a library reporting line vs. one that had a

campus IT or other campus unit reporting line.

- DSpace [6] was by far the most commonly used system: 20

implementers used it exclusively and 3 used it in combination with

other systems.

- Proquest DigitalCommons [7] (or the Bepress software it is

based on) was the second choice of implementers: 7 implementers used

this system.

- While 28% of implementers have made no IR software

modifications to enhance its functionality, 22% have made frequent

changes to do so and 17% have made major modifications to the


- Only 41% of implementers had no review of deposited

documents. While review by designated departmental or unit officials

was the most common method (35%), IR staff reviewed documents 21% of

the time.

- In a check all that apply question, 60% of implementers said

that IR staff entered simple metadata for authorized users and 57%

said that they enhanced such data. Thirty-one percent said that they

cataloged IR materials completely using local standards.

- In another check all that apply question, implementers

clearly indicated that IR and library staff use a variety of

strategies to recruit content: 83% made presentations to faculty and

others, 78% identified and encouraged likely depositors, 78% had

library subject specialists act as advocates, 64% offered to deposit

materials for authors, and 50% offered to digitize materials and

deposit them.

- The most common digital preservation arrangement for

implementers (47%) was to accept any file type, but only preserve

specified file types using data migration and other techniques. The

next most common arrangement (26%) was to accept and preserve any

file type.

- The mean number of digital objects in implementers' IRs was


Suggested Citation

Charles W. Bailey, Karen Coombs, Jill Emery, Anne Mitchell, Chris Morris, Spencer Simons, and Robert Wright. SPEC Kit 292 Institutional Repositories. Association of Research Libraries, 2006.