Institutional repositories capture the original research and other intellectual property generated by an institution’s constituent population active in many fields.
Defined in this way, institutional repositories represent an historical and tangible embodiment of the intellectual life and output of an institution. And, to the extent that institutional affiliation itself serves as the primary qualitative filter, this repository becomes a significant indicator of the institution’s academic quality.
Developing institutional repositories does not require that each institution act entirely on its own. For many colleges and universities, existing state or regional institutional or library consortia can provide a logical infrastructure for implementing institutional repositories via collective development. Such cooperation could deliver economies of scale and help institutions avoid the needless replication of technical systems. Indeed, consortia might well prove the fastest path to proliferating institutional repositories and attaining a critical mass of open access content.