Digital repositories: All hype and no substance?

  • Swanepoel M
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Abstract

The development of digital repositories has been a recent one, starting in late 2000 when the UK's University of Southampton released a software package called E-Prints. Since that time, the establishment of digital repositories has gained momentum. Factors such as the falling costs for online storage, the increase of broadband and gigabit networking technologies, as well as the development of metadata standards to describe repository content, have all contributed to their current popularity. Questions to be asked are: to what extent are digital repositories, as a method for communicating scientific and scholarly information, accepted or are they just hype?; how mature are institutional repositories as a technology?; and, to what extent are institutional repositories used by faculty and researchers? The Gartner hype curve is a tool introduced by the Gartner Group in the 1990s to explain general phenomena of interest in new technologies. This framework plots the typical progression of a technology from its early introduction through its maturation to broad market acceptance. The first question is answered by an investigation into the status of digital repositories in the context of the Gartner hype curve. The second question is answered by plotting institutional repositories on the product life cycle (Sigmoid curve) and the third question is answered by applying the diffusion of innovation theory to institutional repositories.
The development of digital repositories has been a recent one, starting in late 2000 when the UK's University of Southampton released a software package called E-Prints. Since that time, the establishment of digital repositories has gained momentum. Factors such as the falling costs for online storage, the increase of broadband and gigabit networking technologies, as well as the development of metadata standards to describe repository content, have all contributed to their current popularity. Questions to be asked are: to what extent are digital repositories, as a method for communicating scientific and scholarly information, accepted or are they just hype?; how mature are institutional repositories as a technology?; and, to what extent are institutional repositories used by faculty and researchers? The Gartner hype curve is a tool introduced by the Gartner Group in the 1990s to explain general phenomena of interest in new technologies. This framework plots the typical progression of a technology from its early introduction through its maturation to broad market acceptance. The first question is answered by an investigation into the status of digital repositories in the context of the Gartner hype curve. The second question is answered by plotting institutional repositories on the product life cycle (Sigmoid curve) and the third question is answered by applying the diffusion of innovation theory to institutional repositories.

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Authors

  • Marinus Swanepoel

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