A Digital Institutional Repository for Boston College
Boston College Libraries have joined a growing community of academic
libraries that are building open-access, web-accessible repositories
designed to collect, organize, preserve, and provide easy access
to the scholarly material produced by members of the Boston College
The new "institutional repository," eScholarship@BC,
publishes both textual materials--preprints, postprints, working
papers, conference proceedings, etc.-- and non-print material,
such as streamed audio and video files, data sets, and multimedia
also includes digital versions of Boston College theses and dissertations,
plus several new electronic journals.
The concept of an "institutional repository" (IR) garnered
widespread notice with the 2002 publication of a position
paper by Raym Crow of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic
Resources Coalition (SPARC), an affiliate of the Association of
Research Libraries (ARL), of which Boston College is a member.
Crow makes a compelling case that Institutional Repositories,
building on the principles and successes of existing disciplinary
repositories such as RePEc (for
economics) and arXiv (for
physics), can help reform the system of scholarly communication
- broadening access to research,
- reasserting the academy's control over scholarship by the academy,
- reducing the monopoly power of commercial journals, and
- bringing economic relief and heightened relevance to the institutions
and libraries that support IRs.
Furthermore, Crow posits, Institutional Repositories "can
serve as tangible indicators of a university's quality, thus increasing
its visibility, prestige, and public value."
Library Support for Open Access
Another cornerstone of the eScholarship@BC
initiative is the Boston College Libraries' support for the principle
of open access to scholarly information. The Libraries are a signatory
of the Budapest Open
Access Initiative, which promotes the free availability of
scholarly literature on the internet, "without financial,
legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from
gaining access to the internet itself." In addition to benefiting
consumers of scholarly information, open access benefits scholars
as well, increasing the visibility, influence, and potential benefit
of their research. It helps redress global inequity of access
to scholarship by dismantling cost barriers to research dissemination.
And it returns research results more swiftly and readily to the
public, who provide much of the funding for scholarly work.
All of the material that is archived in eScholarship@BC
is available on an open-access basis. The repository also includes
links to Boston College dissertations published and hosted by
ProQuest, and the full text of these is restricted to Boston College
faculty, students, and staff, although abstracts and 24-page previews
are available to all users. The Libraries are pursuing options
to ensure that future Boston College dissertations are available
on an open-access basis.
The technology platform for eScholarship@BC
is a publishing system called Digital Commons, developed by Berkeley
Electronic Press (bepress) and marketed by ProQuest. Key features
of Digital Commons include support for web-based author submissions,
streamlined peer-review processes, flexible publication options,
and full-text indexing of published textual materials. The system
also conforms to the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata
Harvesting (OAI-PMH), meaning that descriptive information about
materials published in the repository are accessible to major
search engines such as Google and Yahoo, ensuring maximum exposure.
Site Structure and Current Content
site is organized around three major components: the main repository,
organized by academic department, research center, or other campus
unit, and the two associated e-publishing initiatives the libraries
are sponsoring: e-journals, and theses and dissertations. In the
main repository, current content includes selected working papers
from the Economics Department and the Center for Retirement Research,
newly digitized occasional papers by Boston College's first University
Historian, Rev. Charles F. Donovan, S.J., and the occasional papers
produced by the Church in the 21st Century project. The e-journals
section includes a recently launched journal, Teaching Exceptional
Children Plus, co-edited by Alec Peck of the Lynch School. Also
included is the Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment,
edited by the Lynch Schools Mike Russell, which was migrated
from a homegrown e-publishing system to the bepress platform.
is in limited production, with content from selected academic
departments, research centers, and other campus units. The BC
Libraries will work with these existing repository communities
over the 2004/2005 academic year to identify and add additional
content, streamline the submission and publication workflows,
and begin to develop policies and procedures for a full campus
rollout for the 2005/2006 academic year. An Advisory Board that
will include faculty and administrators is being formed to set
policies for the content, operation, and growth of eScholarship@BC.
For more information about the eScholarship@BC project, contact
Bob Gerrity (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or Brendan Rapple (email@example.com).