Interoperability and Open Access
Providing no- or low-barrier access to the intellectual product generated by the institution increases awareness of research contributions. The goals motivating an institution to create and maintain a digital repository—whether pan-institutional, as a component in the changing structure of scholarly communication, or institution-centric—require that users beyond the institution’s community gain access to the content. For the repository to provide access to the broader research community, users outside the university must be able to find and retrieve information from the repository.
Institutional repository systems must be able to support interoperability in order to provide access via multiple search engines and other discovery tools. An institution does not necessarily need to implement searching and indexing functionality to satisfy this demand: it could simply maintain and expose metadata, allowing other services to harvest and search the content. This simplicity lowers the barrier to repository operation for many institutions, as it only requires a file system to hold the content and the ability to create and share metadata with external systems.