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March 14, 2005

Library to Hold Public Forum On Digital
Repository For UConn’s Scholarly Output

A public forum on institutional repositories will take place on Tuesday, March 22 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. The forum is sponsored by the University Libraries, which is launching a pilot institutional repository for the University later this month.

Speakers at the forum will be Greg Tananbaum, president of Berkeley Electronic Press, and Jonathan Nabe, head of the libraries’ pilot project.

Institutional repositories are web-based collections of digital items, which include the writing, research, and other intellectual output of a university community, such as journal articles and research reports, monographs, working papers, dissertations, honors theses, data sets, and sound and video files.

Contributors use a simple web-based interface to submit their content, with the knowledge that it will be permanently available: the URL’s will not change, and the files cannot be lost. There is no restriction on the types of formats that can be included: test files, multimedia files, images, and more, can all be incorporated. In addition, all MS Word and other word processing files can be automatically converted into searchable PDF’s, enhancing their availability and use.

Typically the repository is organized into “communities,” which can be departments, institutes, schools, or any group of related contributors. The organization of content within a community is flexible and at the discretion of the community, in consultation with the libraries. Initially, all content will be available to anyone worldwide; eventually, access will be controlled, so that communities or individual members will be able to restrict the viewing and downloading of files if they wish.

Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) software is used in the well-known California Digital Library and in the New England Law Library Repository, which includes UConn, Yale, and Cornell. Berkeley Press has partnered with a company called ProQuest to develop an institutional repository software product known as “Digital Commons,” which has been adopted by more than a dozen schools since its launch last summer. Tananbaum has been with bepress since it started in 2000.

Jonathan Nabe will oversee the UConn Libraries pilot project, which will be known as “Digital Commons@UConn.” During the pilot, the libraries will work with four to six communities on campus to populate and manage the repository and to develop policies and procedures for administering the database. Management of the system will be the responsibility of the University Libraries, while the files themselves will reside on ProQuest servers.

For more information about the pilot project, please contact Nabe at 860.486.6688 or