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From conceptual to perceptual reality: trust in digital repositories

Adolfo G. Prieto (Pollak Library, California State University, Fullerton, California, USA)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 4 September 2009




Digital repositories offer a great benefit to people in a variety of settings, especially since an ever‐increasing amount of information is being gathered, transmitted, and preserved through various technologies. The purpose of this paper is to underscore trust as a critical element in the infrastructure of digital repositories and to look more closely at trusted digital repositories from the perspective of the user communities for which they are designed.


The paper looks to the literature in reviewing the concept of trust and its role in an online environment. Attention is then paid to trusted digital repositories, with close examination of the user communities’ perceptions of trust and the impact of these perceptions. Special attention is given to users within the academic community.


While digital repositories may be trustworthy because of adherence to technological standards, accepted practices, and mechanisms for authenticating the authorship and accuracy of their content, it is ultimately their respective stakeholders – both those who deposit and use content – whose perceptions play a central role in ensuring a digital repository's trustworthiness.

Research limitations/implications

A future empirical study would be beneficial in order to measure perceptions of trust as contributing factors to the trustworthiness of digital repositories.

Practical implications

This paper provides a useful resource for persons wishing to review the topic of trusted digital repositories or increase their awareness in this area.


This paper offers a focused look at various levels of trust as they relate to the dissemination of scholarly communication in the academic world, particularly through institutional repositories.



Prieto, A.G. (2009), "From conceptual to perceptual reality: trust in digital repositories", Library Review, Vol. 58 No. 8, pp. 593-606.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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