Sunday, June 11, 2006

Self-archiving for librarians: the options are multiplying!


Not very long ago at all, librarians had few or no options for self-archiving. This is changing dramatically. In the near future, for example, a university librarian in British Columbia may have six or more open access respositories to choose from: a university IR, the COPPUL ANTS repository, BCcampus SOL*R, E-LIS, DLIST, and other LIS repositories, as well as conference options for conference papers. There are advantages to having all these options. A little friendly rivalry can only help to sharpen the repository software. Some repositories can accomodate formats, such as audiovisual, that others cannot. The challenge for all of us involved in open access repositories will be to figure out how to work together, so that we are all promoting self-archiving first, as well as our own options. We also need to keep the user in mind, and find search options that make it easy for the user to find what they are looking for, regardless of which archive houses the item.


One of my favorite themes to write about is the Dramatic Growth of Open Access.

One sign of this growth for librarians is what I am seeing as a dramatic expansion in opportunities for self-archiving for librarians.

A couple of years ago, when I first started thinking about self-archiving, I wasn't sure what archives were available. LIS Archives are still pretty new - E-LIS was just established in 2003.

Now, many a librarian in BC has a number of options for self-archiving already, and the options are expanding. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has an institutional repository program, so every university librarian either has an institutional repository handy, or will within the next few years.

Building on one of these repositories, D-Space at the University of Calgary, the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL) have a new repository, still in pilot stage, called ANTS (Animated Tutorials Sharing Project), which is capturing imaginations throughout western Canada.

For BC librarians, there is also a provincial repository originally designed for learning objects, the SOL*R repository of BCcampus. BC academic librarians are very excited about the potential of participating in this repository for sharing of learning materials such as tutorials. The Academic Librarians in Public Service (ALPS) group of BCLA has formed a new subcommittee, the BCcampus Shareable Online Resources Team, to develop a space for sharing within the BCcampus repository. [Disclosure: I am the current Chair of ALPS].

Then, of course, there is our very own subject repositories - E-LIS, DLIST, and others, which many of us at OA Librarian are very much involved with.

For conference presentations, there is often an option to post presentations on the conference website as well.

This is all fabulous, of course! This means choice for the author, and a little friendly rivalry won't hurt to encourage development of the repositories. At the moment, there are real advantages to having many repositories. Some of the repositories can accomodate multimedia, for example, while others cannot.

The challenge for all of us involved in LIS self-archiving will be to figure out how to work together. Encouraging self-archiving, and making it easy for the user to find materials regardless of which archive houses them, is more important than who deposits in which archive.

If anyone knows of yet more repository options for librarians, I'd love to hear about them - please post a comment!

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.


nichtich said...

You can also build meta-services like MetaLIS with OAI. Not especially for LIS but also relevant is - you should take a look at the categories Digital Libraries and Information Retrieval.

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