A Bigger Splash: Enhancing Discoverability of Theses via Digital Commons

A session at USETDA 2013

Wednesday 24th July, 2013

2:45pm to 3:45pm (PST)

Kravis Center 102


Stacey Knight-Davis, Head of Technology, Booth Library, Eastern Illinois University

Todd Bruns, Institutional Repository Librarian, Eastern Illinois University

Eastern Illinois University, a medium-sized public comprehensive university, has offered digitized Masters theses since 2008. Deposited these are fully cataloged in the local online catalog, a shared state-wide catalog, and in WorldCat.

In 2011 Booth Library launched the EIU institutional repository, The Keep. The Keep is built upon the bepress Digital Commons platform, and is being utilized as a research and scholarship showcase as well as an electronic University Archives for EIU. The digitized Masters theses collection presented a ready-made early document collection for the repository, giving The Keep a “jump start” in scholarly content. Early discussions about the collection included arguments about increased access via The Keep’s search engine optimization, arguments that were initially treated with some skepticism: Since the theses were already discoverable via local, consortial, and worldwide catalogs, having them in The Keep as well couldn’t increase access by that much, could it?

Analysis of server logs and Digital Commons reports has in fact shown a dramatic increase in discoverability of the theses due to the institutional repository. Some theses have seen download increases by factors of ten. Also of interest, the topics of theses retrieved through the institutional repository are quite different than those retrieved through the catalog. This presentation will highlight this increase by looking at real numbers and statistics, giving some weight to the common assumption that institutional repository open access does dramatically improve discoverability.

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Time 2:45pm3:45pm PST

Date Wed 24th July 2013


Kravis Center, The Claremont Colleges

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