OAI compliant institutional repositories and the role of library staff
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(April 2004)

The role of librarians in the development and promotion of institutional repositories is discussed. It is presented as a continuation of their existing functions of acquiring, organising and making readily available the resources needed by academic staff and students. Library staff are collaborating with IT staff and academics to disseminate scholarly material and learning objects emanating from their institutions. The Open Archives Initiative and its Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, which provide the technical structure to support the repositories and enable their interoperability for searching purposes, are discussed. The benefits to institutions and their staffs are also reported. The skills needed by library staff are outlined, as well as the pitfalls and problems they may face in persuading academic staff of the virtues of institutional repositories.
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