Institutional Repositories, Policies, and Disruption
Foster, Nancy Fried
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For many librarians, institutional repositories (IRs) promised significant change for academic libraries. We envisioned enlarging collection development scope to include locally produced scholarship and an expansion of library services to embrace scholarly publication and distribution. However, at the University of Rochester, as at many other institutions, this transformational technology was introduced in the conservative, controlled manner associated with stereotypical librarian culture, and so these expected changes never materialized. In this case study, we focus on the creation of our institutional repository (a potentially disruptive technology) and how its success was hampered by our organizational culture, manifested as a lengthy and complicated set of policies. In the following pages, we briefly describe our repository project, talk about our original policies, look at the ways those policies impeded our project, and discuss the disruption of those policies and the benefits in user uptake that resulted.
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