I try to avoid defining 'repository'. Institutional repositories and
subject repositories like arxiv.org are clearly 'repositories', but beyond
that, you're right, it is somewhat ill-defined. One might look to the
Kahn-Wilensky architecture , or the OAIS reference model , or even
Wikipedia  for definitions, but it's not clear that even the authorities
agree on what makes a repository. It's a system. It's network-accessible
and typically has a web interface of some sort. Files and groups of files
sometimes known as objects tend to be deposited in them, perhaps for some
combination of management, access, or preservation. Many run Fedora,
DSpace, and ePrints, and factor heavily in scholarly communication. Some
are document-centric. Some will accept anything. To some, a learning
management system may be a repo. To others, a content management system.
My background is in academia so my own definition is somewhat biased, but I
wouldn't say it is necessarily limited in the way you ask. Re: the I2 page
you mention: I2's work is currently separated into a few separate
"scenarios", one of which is oriented around repositories, and that's where
the survey comes from. The other scenarios are for library workflows and
electronic resources, so it's safe to assume that repository does not mean
ILS or OPAC or ERP system.
My hope is that folks have their own working definitions of the term and can
decide for themselves what it means. But great question, Karen!
On Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 15:15, Karen Coyle<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> How do you define 'repository'? I know that's a hard question, but i'm
> not sure who should answer. Is it limited to places where academics store
> their own works? The I2 page on the NISO site seems to be more inclusive,
> citing "all library and publishing environments."
> Michael J. Giarlo wrote:
>> The NISO I2 Working Group is surveying repository managers to
>> determine the current practices and needs of the repository community
>> regarding institutional identifiers. We value your time and your
>> input in the process to create a standard for a new institutional
>> We hope that you will complete the survey which should take less than
>> 15 minutes. The survey will remain open through Monday, July 6th.
>> Here is a link to the survey:
>> Please feel free to share this message with other interested parties.
>> Thanks for your participation! (And apologies for massive
>> cross-posting; this is a fragmented community.)
>> Co-chair, Repositories scenario, NISO I2 Working Group
> Karen Coyle / Digital Library Consultant
> [log in to unmask] http://www.kcoyle.net
> ph.: 510-540-7596 skype: kcoylenet
> fx.: 510-848-3913
> mo.: 510-435-8234