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The purpose of this proposal is to identify the need for establishing an Institutional Repository at Marshall University to facilitate the collection, preservation, and dissemination of the intellectual output of the students, faculty, and administrative offices of the University.

Institutional Repositories (IRs) provide a digital ‘storehouse’ for academic institutions to house a wide variety of scholarly material created by students, faculty, and administrators. They also provide a readily accessible depository for selected archival material, video and still images, current news and events, procedural and policy guidelines, and other information that benefits the university community and other users, including the public. The IR platform is customizable to meet the needs of the institution and provides methods to limit access to selected materials, safeguarding the stored intellectual property. Digital open access to huge amounts of material, branded to the particular institution, has the potential to reach scholarly audiences worldwide.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Institutional Repositories has done extensive research to identify how other institutions are using IRs to publish, promote, and provide access to their intellectual property. The Committee has also identified a wide range of materials that are currently produced by Marshall University that could quickly and relatively easily be used to populate an IR. A suitable software platform, Digital Commons, has been identified that will provide the necessary interface to create and maintain the IR.

The Committee recommends that Marshall University fund a two-year pilot program to initiate a contract with Digital Commons and create a digital Institutional Repository. The Committee additionally recommends the formation of a formal campus-wide Institutional Repository Committee comprised of faculty, students, and administrators that will develop a list of content to be posted to the IR, oversee the creation of guidelines and policies for contributions to the IR, and provide a final recommendation at the end of the pilot program on the continued efficacy of the IR.