Power and Politics of User Experience: Implications of Different User Roles for Next-Gen Repository Services

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Institutional repositories (IRs) have existed for around two decades (Lynch, 2003). In that time, as human technological capabilities have evolved, so have IR users’ needs; IRs as receptacles of static documents are no longer good enough. To better address new use cases, libraries with IRs are starting to investigate and migrate to new systems, a shift that is in progress at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign University Library’s institutional repository: the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS).

In this paper, we use “digital repositories” as an umbrella term for systems that preserve and provide access to digitized and born-digital content from cultural heritage, research, and academic institutions. Within these bounds, digital repositories are further divided into two broad types: digital libraries and scholarly repositories. Digital libraries may also be called digital collections or digital archives, which typically feature digitized content from special collections libraries, archives, museums, or historical societies but may include born-digital materials. Scholarly repositories include institutional repositories, research data repositories, disciplinary repositories, or pre-print servers such as the famed arXiv.

Typically, institutional repositories collect and provide access to the intellectual output of an academic institution but can be affiliated with other types of organizations. Similarly, disciplinary repositories allow researchers within a certain knowledge domain to deposit research, or sometimes instructional, materials. Finally, data repositories curate and provide access to digital research data and may be institutional or disciplinary in nature. This study focuses on this second category—scholarly repositories.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWeave: Journal of Library User Experience
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 27 2022


  • Institutional repositories
  • scholarly communication
  • next generation repositories
  • digital repositories
  • user studies


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