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Comparing repositories

Dear colleagues,

We would like to discuss a new distinction among repository 
types, not just differentiating institutional and subject-based 
repositories, but also research repositories and national 
repository systems. For this purpose we have written a working 
paper that we would like to invite you to respond to. We imagine 
that this new four-fold distinction would help repository 
managers and stakeholders in improving repository services in a 
targetted manner. Please answer to the list (or, if you prefer, 
write to me directly).

- Armbruster, Chris and Romary, Laurent, Comparing Repositories 
Types: Challenges and Barriers for Subject-Based Repositories, 
Research Repositories, National Repository Systems and 
Institutional Repositories in Serving Scholarly Communication 
(November 20, 2009).  Available at SSRN: 

After two decades of repository development, some conclusions may 
be drawn as to which type of repository and what kind of service 
best supports digital scholarly communication, and thus the 
production of new knowledge.  Four types of publication 
repository may be distinguished, namely the subject-based 
repository, research repository, national repository system and 
institutional repository.  Two important shifts in the role of 
repositories may be noted. With regard to content, a well-defined 
and high quality corpus is essential. This implies that 
repository services are likely to be most successful when 
constructed with the user and reader uppermost in mind. With 
regard to service, high value to specific scholarly communities 
is essential. This implies that repositories are likely to be 
most useful to scholars when they offer dedicated services 
supporting the production of new knowledge.  Along these lines, 
challenges and barriers to repository development may be 
identified in three key dimensions: a) identification and deposit 
of content; b) access and use of services; and c) preservation of 
content and sustainability of service. An indicative comparison 
of challenges and barriers in some major world regions such as 
Europe, North America and East Asia plus Australia is offered in 

Best wishes, Chris Armbruster

Other publications and working papers of potential interest:

- Romary, Laurent and Armbruster, Chris, Beyond Institutional 
Repositories. International Journal of Digital Library Systems 
1(1) (forthcoming, 2010). Available at 

- Armbruster, Chris, Whose Metrics? On Building Citation, Usage 
and Access Metrics as Information Service for Scholars. Learned 
Publishing 23(1) (forthcoming, 2010). Available at 

- Armbruster, Chris, The European Research Conundrum: When 
Research Organizations Impede Scientific and Technological 
Breakthroughs Despite Targets, Money and Policy to Foster These 
Activities (October 27, 2009). Available at