Behind a Law School’s Decision to Implement an Institutional Repository

19 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2010

See all articles by James M. Donovan

James M. Donovan

University of Kentucky

Carol A. Watson

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: March 4, 2008


An institutional repository [IR] is a means to collect the intellectual digital output of an organization. Among the primary goals of the IR are the following: 1. To collect an organization’s documentary output into one virtual location. 2. The genre of these contributions includes not only the traditional papers, but also videos, slide presentations, and anything else that can be preserved in a variety of electronic formats. 3. After collection, the IR offers open access to those materials. 4. The combination of diverse contents and open access culminates in the institution’s heightened visibility on the internet. Assessment of the merits of any IR plan can usefully be framed in terms of these four goals. However conceived, the decision to create an IR represents a significant investment for any institution. The following sections address some of the issues associated with the commitment to initiate and sustain a productive IR.

The authors’ home institution, the University of Georgia School of Law chose Digital Commons [DC], the product created and supported by The Berkeley Electronic Press, or “bepress,” as its IR platform.5 For present purposes, therefore, “IR” and “DC” will be used interchangeably. Digital Commons is related to another bepress product, SelectedWorks [SW]. SelectedWorks allows an individual to post his or her papers to a customizable individual page, which can be institutionally branded and related back to the institution’s DC. The following comments are based upon the authors’ own experiences, but are intended to be broadly applicable to any setting considering whether and how to implement an IR.

Keywords: Institutional repository, justification

Suggested Citation

Donovan, James M. and Watson, Carol A., Behind a Law School’s Decision to Implement an Institutional Repository (March 4, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

James M. Donovan (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky ( email )

J. David Rosenberg College of Law
620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States

Carol A. Watson

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States
706-542-5078 (Phone)

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