Re: Search Engine for Repositories Only?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 20:17:39 +0100

On Wed, 2 Aug 2006, Sarah Taylor wrote:

> > SH:
> > "That might be the gist of it: There are those who think IRs are for
> > digital content management and preservation, and those who think IRs
> > are for maximizing research access-provision. It might be helpful to
> > distinguish OAI DL IRs (OAI-compliant Digital-Library IRs, for digital
> > content management and preservation) from OAI OA IRs (OAI-compliant
> > Open- Access IRs, for providing research access). What the requisite
> > search services and functionalities might be, and be for, may then look
> > quite different for the two kinds of IRs."
> ST:
> Please forgive me for what I am sure is a ludicrous question, but
> is there any particular reason why we can't think of an institutional
> repository - i.e. the same institutional repository - as being a mechanism
> for both preservation AND for maximising access to research? Why must we
> have one for one purpose and one for another? Surely these two intended
> functions of an IR can complement one another?

Because immediate OA is urgent and grotesquely overdue, yet OA IRs
are filling far too slowly, partly because it is not at all clear to
institutional researchers what they are for, or why, nor why OA is urgent.

Researchers need not, will not, and should not deposit their published
articles in their own IRs for the sake of digital preservation. That is
pure nonsense and is adding to the frustrating delay in the filling of
OA IRs with their OA target content.

OA IRs can also be used for digital preservation and content curation, but we
would *all* be far better off if we did not hear another word about digital
preservation and content curation until the OA IRs are first successfully filled
to the brim with their intended OA target content, at long last.

That can and will be accomplished by self-archiving mandates from
researchers' institutions and funders -- mandates adopted for the sake of
maximising research usage and impact, hence research productivity and progress,
*not* for the sake of the preservation and curation of already published
digital content!

Stevan Harnad

    Pertinent Prior AmSci Topic Threads:

    "Archive Preservation Considerations" (Aug 1998)

    "What exactly is the digital preservation problem?" (Jan 2002)


    "Priorities: OA Content Provision vs. OA Content Preservation" (Oct 2004)

    "Against Pre-emptive Plans for Content-Bare Cupboards" (Mar 2005)

    "preservation vs. Preservation" (Mar 2006)

    "Formaldehyde and Function" (Mar 2006)
Received on Wed Aug 02 2006 - 22:01:16 BST

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