Institutional Repository (IR)

1. Introduction: An Institutional Repository (IR) is an online locus for collecting and preserving in digital form the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution. The main objectives for having an institutional repository is to provide open access to institutional research output by self-archiving it and to store and preserve research journal articles, digital versions of theses and dissertations, other digital assets generated by normal academic life such as syllabus, course material, administrative documents, course notes, or learning objects, other institutional digital assets, including the unpublished or otherwise easily lost (grey) literature (e.g., technical reports).

IRs are partly linked to the notion of a digital library i.e., collecting, housing, classifying, cataloguing, curating, preserving, and providing access to digital content, analogous with the library's conventional function of collecting, housing, classifying, curating, preserving and providing access to analog content.


2. Definition: An Institutional Repository is the concept of capturing, managing and disseminating an organization’s digital information or knowledge assets created by faculty, research staff, students, and administrative staff to store, preserve, and disseminate globally.

According to C Lynch (2003) “a university-based institutional repository is a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members”.


3. Purpose: The institutional repositories are needed for the following reasons-

a) A Necessity for the Libraries: The web revolutions, technological advancement, information explosion, need for information quickly, are some of the facts for which Institutional Repository has emerged as a necessity for libraries. The institutional repository will help to keep the library upfront and into focus in the days to come.

b) A Necessity for the Authors: The libraries are charged enormous subscription fees for access to the traditional journal, which means that fewer and fewer can afford these subscriptions. And ultimately, the community which the author / scholar wish to address in many cases no longer has access. Institutional repository can widened the accessibility of the knowledge assets.

c) To Manage Institution’s Knowledge Asset: To capture or collect, manage and process the institutional knowledge asset including unpublished or otherwise easily lost (“grey”) literature (e.g., theses or technical reports).

d) To Provide Universal Access to the Knowledge: An institution displays its valuable institution’s scholarly research to the world via repositories. It intends to ensure and strengthen the institute in terms of exhibiting and creating scholarly communication. It provide a single interface and access point to the institute’s knowledge assets for the whole world.

e) To Improve Impact of the Document: IR will promote and place the information and knowledge at the doorsteps of communities and by this way it will make the publications more usable by contemporary and future scholars as well as other professionals like policy makers and social workers.

f) To Act as a Permanent Deposit: Institutional Repository is for the permanent deposit of research and conference papers, e-theses, student projects and teaching and learning materials produced by the community of staff and students. 

 4. Scope and coverage: The resources to be considered for IR can include the following (but will not be limited to).

a) Research journal articles;

b) Book chapters;

c) Conference papers (pre-prints & post-prints) and Seminar and conference proceedings;

d) Digital versions of theses and dissertations;

e) Digital assets generated by normal academic life like course notes, learning objects, audio lectures, audio-video materials, multimedia, etc;

f) Administrative documents, progress reports, technical report, project report, photographs, etc.

g) Institute publications, newsletters, etc.

h) News clippings, newspaper cutting related to the institution.

i) Student’s assignments, exam question papers, prospectus, project report and such others.


5. Institutional Repository Software Packages: There are different softwares for building institutional repositories like CERN Document Server Software (CDSWare), DSpace, EPrints, Fedora, Ganesha Digital Library, Greenstone Digital Library Software (GSDL), etc. Some well known software packages are described bellow-

a) DSpace: DSpace was developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) libraries & Hewlett-Packard labs. It runs on Unix or Linux machine and Apache web server, Tomcat servlet engine and the postgre SQL relational database system are required. The software is released under BSD license. Website:

b) EPrints: Eprints was developed by University of Southampton and released under GNU General Public License. It runs on Unix machine and Apache, MySQL database, Perl language is necessary for its installation and operation. Website:

c) Green Stone Digital Library software (GSDL): The Greenstone Digital Library Software is a suit of Open Source, multilingual software package for building and distributing Digital Libraries. It provides a new way of organizing information and publishing it on the Internet or on CD-ROM. The software has been developed by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Greenstone is supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Human Info NGO, based in Antwerp, Belgium for spreading the benefits of this software to developing countries. It is released under GNU General Public License and runs on Windows, Linux / Unix machine that have Apache web server, MySQL database and Perl language. Website:

d) Fedora: Researchers at Cornell University jointly with University of Virginia Library originally developed Flexible Extensible Digital Object and Repository Architecture (FEDORA) ( as an architecture for storing, organising and accessing digital content inspired by the Kahn and Wilensky Framework. Fedora provides web-based repository services with well-defined APIs. In addition, Fedora provides a number of supporting features and technologies including search, OAI-PMH, messaging, administrative clients, and more to publish, share and preserve digital contents. The fedora community consists of registered users, sponsors, service providers and code developers.


6. Types of Institutional Repositories: Institutional repositories generally can be divided into the following three categories.

a) Institutional Repository: An institutional or department repository target to host and provide access to the resources related to or produced by a particular department or institute. Institution specific repositories contain all the outputs and resources owned by and related to the institution itself.

b) Discipline Institutional Repository: An Institutional repository that hosts the resources deals with a subject or discipline or a particular type of resource. This type of IRs are confined to specific subject field of interest and meant for preserving and storing the scholarly knowledge on a particular subject but not affiliated to any institutes, giving the ample scope to expose more in the respective subject.

c) Aggregator: A repository that collect the resources from other institutional repositories.

7. Examples of Institutional Repository: In the following a few Indian Institutional repositories are described.

a) Shodhganga: Shodhganga ( is a joint venture of UGC and INFLIBNET. INFLIBNET takes an active role in making it mandatory to submit the electronic copy of a thesis whenever the research scholars submit their thesis to the respective university or institutions for the PhD degree in India. As on 4th April, 2017, Shodhganga hosts 135630 thesis from 281universities in India.

b) INFLIBNET's Institutional Repository: INFLIBNET Centre develops INFLIBNET's Institutional Repository ( by using DSpace software. It hosts INFLIBNET’s Press and Media related documents, INFLIBNET's Annual Reports, INFLIBNET's Convention Proceedings, INFLIBNET's Special Seminar, training material, press clippings, newsletters, etc.

c) Publications of IAS Fellows: Publications of IAS Fellows ( is an open Access Repository of publications of Fellows of the Indian Academy of Sciences. It attempts to collect, preserve and disseminate the intellectual output of the Academy available as publications by its Fellows in peer-reviewed journals. Publications of the IAS fellows repository is running on EPrints open archive software.

d) EPrints@IISc: EPrints@IISc ( repository collects, preserves and disseminates in digital format the research output created by the IISc research community. It enables the Institute community to deposit their preprints, post prints and other scholarly publications using a web interface, and organizes these publications for easy retrieval. While eprints@IISc can be accessed by anybody, submission of documents to this repository is limited to the IISc research community only. ePrints@IISc repository is running on EPrints open archive software.

e) EPrints@CMFRI: EPrints@CMFRI ( is the Open Access Institutional Repository of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Research outputs of CMFRI - journal papers, conference papers, reports, theses, patents etc. - are uploaded/self-archived by CMFRI scientists who do research on fisheries and related areas.


8. Assessment of IR: There are several internal and external factors to assess or evaluate the institutional repositories. Those are:

a) 24 hours Access: The server hosting the IR should be made available 24x365.

b) Mandate: The IR should be integrated with planning and submission of document may be made mandatory for the stakeholders. Integration with large institutional planning is important for sustainability of any repository.

c) Coverage: The IR should host sufficient number of relevant documents; otherwise user will hesitate to visit.

d) Continuous Funding: Continuous funding to manage the IR should be ensured.

e) Promotion: User and stakeholder’s awareness about the IR will play a key role.

f) Relation with others: Relationship with digitization centers and involvement of stakeholders will play a key role.

g) Index Status by Google: How many pages or items are index by Google or available through a Google search.


9. Conclusion: Institutional repository can increases the visibility and prestige of an institute and acts as an advertisement to funding sources. In case of Society, IRs provide access to the world’s research and ensures long-term preservation of institutes’ academic output. To have an IR, the institution should have the server, scanner, digital library software (like DSpace, EPrints, etc), domain, hosting, bandwidth and technical person to handle the jobs. In India, efforts to have an IR were made by a large number of institutes. However, though they have their own success in launching an IR, in most of the cases, they failed to provide continuous access to the IR they developed. A large number of IR are available only in intranet and in cases of the IR over Internet, they are only reachable during the office hours. So, in most of the cases the repository managers still struggle to bring together either a critical mass of content or demonstrate their overall impact on research.

How to Cite this Article?

APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.

Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.

MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.