How to Get Faculty Support for an Institutional Repository

Your library tech geek has been working overtime.  You’ve got a sweet open source repository online.  Resolutions were passed.  Buzzwords like, scholarly communication and open access, were tossed around like creative commons used to be.  The future, someone whispered, is now.

Then, nothing happened.  Your library tech geek uploaded his prayers to Github and meandered through message boards.  Librarians burned old DVD’s of Field of Dreams.  James Earl Jones had never led them so far astray.

When all seemed lost, at one university, a young, naive librarian asked, why aren’t we looking at this from the user’s perspective?  What do faculty care about besides tenure?

The answer?  Parking spaces.  By tying together institutional repository submissions to parking lot proximity, librarians have finally found a way to gather those submissions.  Now, instead of supporting an unused infrastructure, the library tech geek was requisitioning more server space!  When interviewed, one faculty member said, “I didn’t work twenty years to park by the athletic complex and take a shuttle.”

Remember, if you’re having trouble gathering faculty support, step back and look at the problem from a broader perspective.  How can you get those submissions?  Maybe an IR that blends citation count and ego is perfect for your institution.

Tim Lepczyk

Writer, Technologist, and Librarian.

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