Introduction

Welcome to my Weblog. This site is dedicated to my thoughts, views and understanding on anything that touches upon records management, archives management as well as information management in Malaysia. I believe in becoming a 'functional and meaningful' information professional, the term I refer to as person who can function in many ways possible for the betterment of this discipline. Interested parties, may reproduce or quote materials published with the condition that they are credited to alwiyunus.blogspot.com Comments must be accompanied by names or pseudonyms. Anonymous postings and those containing profanities and obscenities will be rejected. http://adf.ly/8Y1UN

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Institutional repository?? Corporate memory?..Digital archiving...??

Salam to all....

Many organizations have not taken serious initiatives to truly embark on the above initiatives in whatever endeavor they are in....or some are just doing it for mere exposition of their organization's long standing and colorful history in the form of gallery that brings nothing except to showcase their past glory. This is one of the problem when the true concept of having institutional repository or the so called corporate memory is loop sided in exchange of heavy investment in some other areas that bring minimal impacts of return to organization. 

Therefore, read my view on this:

An organization which is in diverse operations has created milestone success and achievement, and at the same time created tremendous amount of records and documents in many formats. There are photos, images, maps, drawings, audio and video recordings of substantial amount and not neglecting the massive amount of transactional records of agreement, letters, memos, annual reports, etc.
How can all of these diverse items be captured, archived, organized and readily accessible on the web in one location for public access? An institutional repository can provide the perfect solution.
In our current technological age, most communications and scholarship are born digital and are often scattered across various servers and hard drives. Most of these virtual items are not as carefully archived or preserved as are traditional print publications. In today's computer dependent environment, our extensive archival expertise is timely and germane. One particularly effective means for filling the void and seizing the opportunity is to establish an institutional repository to collect the intellectual output of your institution.

Institutional repository

Simply stated, an institutional repository is a formally organized virtual locus for collecting and disseminating the digital intellectual output of an organization. The scope of the institutional repository is flexible and can be defined by each individual organization. Content can include solely corporate or academic materials or can be broadly defined to serve as an archival repository for all mission-related items of an institution ranging from official documents such as annual reports or litigation memorandums to public relations materials such as press releases or client brochures.

Benefit of an Institutional Repository

 The benefits of an institutional repository are:
1.    Enhancing  organization's reputation 
a.    A primary benefit of an institutional repository is that it will enhance the reputation and visibility of an organization. A digital repository will showcase organization's intellectual quality as well as preserve and disseminate the collective capital of its  constituents. Generally, an institution's intellectual output is spread across various websites, servers and numerous publications. Centrally storing the intellectual product of your organization in a repository better demonstrates the value of your institution's research as a whole and its impact on the larger community.

2.   Furthermore, a repository can make an organization institutional history, milestones heritage, development, research and publications available to an international community on a scale impossible to achieve in paper. The information and publications can be quickly disseminated to a worldwide audience. Long delays often attributed to the cumbersome traditional publication process can be eliminated.

Open access to publication
a.    An institutional repository also permits organization to provide open access to its publications. Traditional publication models and subscription barriers often limit the readership and availability of its institutional origin. Open access publications provide the obvious benefits of instant access to digital materials, round-the-clock, without physical boundaries.

4.   Well-organized materials readily available on the web
a.   An organization that lacks a central system with standardized document storage is at risk for suffering time inefficiencies. Searching for documents in multiple locations can be time-consuming. A repository with consistent metadata describing its contents empowers organization information consumers by providing them with a self-service option for retrieving frequently requested materials. An added benefit is that multiple patrons will be able to simultaneously use popular items.

5.   Self-service depositing documents to institutional repository
a.    It is possible to set up a repository that requires minimal intervention by staff. When establishing an institutional repository, administrators have a choice of allowing authors to self-submit items to the repository. As a repository administrator, once approval is given, it will automatically populate the repository. It is also very simple to incorporate depositing documents in the repository as part of the normal administrative workflow. Once the subject framework of the repository has been solidified, document submission is a quick and simple process.


Outlet for digital content
a.    It should also be noted that institutional repositories provide an outlet for storing materials created in a variety of formats. Repository items are not limited to traditional text only publications. Multimedia items can be easily accommodated. Research and publications that have been created in a variety of digital formats including audio, video, and images can be archived. Repository content can include lectures, slide presentations, music, photographs, artwork, data sets from empirical research or any other hidden treasures in your collection that are digitally formatted.

Organization is suggested to embark on an open source repository system. A significant advantage of open source software, of course, is that it is free. The downside is that open source software typically requires skilled expertise to install, customize and maintain. Open source solutions that are currently available include:

·         Fedora (Flexible Extensible Digital Object and Repository Architecture)
·         VITAL - VTLS

Establishing an institutional repository is a natural task as technology continues to evolve exponentially and as the amount of electronic information mushrooms. Repositories can provide significant benefits after an initial investment of time and fill a void that currently exists. There is a need for an agency to rise to the challenge and take on the task of evaluating the information needs of its constituents and ensuring that a solid infrastructure is developed for the repository. Additionally, other staffs will profit from the new relationships and collaborations that emerge as a result of implementation.

Repository software is optimized to ensure that repository items are discoverable by popular search engines so there is a high probability that you will encounter a repository item when providing research assistance in the very near future. Understanding the concept of institutional repositories will help librarians evaluate the credibility and usefulness of any repository resources that are discovered during information retrieval searches.