Academe first took notice of institutional repositories (IRs) in 2002, when universities began offering in-house services to manage and disseminate digital materials created by students and faculty. These repositories developed in response to profound changes, both in the needs of faculty and students and in scholarly communication itself. As the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) notes, “…This increased visibility [and] demonstration of value can translate into tangible benefits, including the funding – from both public and private sources – that derives in part from an institution's status and reputation.”1

The Cal Poly Provost and the Library Director viewed an IR as a mechanism to increase the visibility of - and access to - scholarship by Cal Poly faculty, students and campus constituents. At the same time, Cal Poly would join its peers in higher education by contributing to the emerging model of distributed, interoperable repositories that provide the foundation for the new model of scholarly publishing. The Provost pledged an initial 3-year funding commitment to the Library, with expenses from subsequent years to be covered by other means.

At the request of the Provost, a Task Group consisting of Library and Campus Information Technology Services convened in 2006 to investigate the feasibility of launching an IR at Cal Poly. After investigating the resources required to launch a campus IR using open-source and hosted repository options, the committee arrived at the recommendation of using a hosted repository system (Berkeley Electronic Press’ DigitalCommons platform), and hiring two positions (Digital Repository Librarian and Library Assistant).

The Kennedy Library deliberately chose a hosted software solution from Berkeley Electronic Press to keep new staffing at minimum and to focus on contributor recruitment and content management. The Digital Repository Librarian would reach out to contributors and to manage digital assets and their metadata. A support staff position would secure intellectual property permissions and communicate with publishers. Using student assistants, the repository staff members would manage the internal process of bibliographic searching and digitizing articles for ingest into the repository. Organizationally, DigitalCommons staff was located in Special Collections & University Archives to benefit from existing collections and knowledge of the campus. A later reorganization has relocated staff to report to the Director, Information, Resources and Archives within the Library.

1Crow, Raym (2002). The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). Retrieved from http://www.arl.org/sparc/bm~doc/ir_final_release_102.pdf


Library and Information Science



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/lib_fac/97