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Subject librarians' perceptions of institutional repositories as an information resource

Daniel G. Dorner (School of Information Management, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand)
James Revell (The Library, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 13 April 2012




The purpose of this paper is to report on a research project aimed at gaining an understanding of subject librarians' perceptions and promotion of institutional repositories as an information resource for their clients.


The researchers used the five attributes of innovations and the change agent concept, both drawn from Rogers' diffusion of innovations theory, as the basis of semi‐structured interviews with nine librarians, spread equally across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences at three universities.


The researchers found that subject librarians have varying levels of knowledge about institutional repositories as an information resource and hold both positive and negative perceptions. The librarians perceived institutional repositories to be still underdeveloped, with greatest value for humanities clients and least value for science clients, offering little value to undergraduates, but a good resource for accessing theses.

Research limitations/implications

Due to their current perceptions of the value of institutional repositories, subject librarians are not yet promoting them as an information resource. If institutional repositories are to be successful, library managers must not only ensure that content is being input into the repositories, but also that they are being promoted to library clients as valuable information resources, so that the content is being accessed and used.


While there has been much research in recent years about institutional repositories, the focus has been predominantly on issues related to motivating individuals to input content into them. This research shows that institutional repositories are not yet being perceived or promoted as a valuable information resource by academic subject librarians, who view them as having varying value to their clients.



Dorner, D.G. and Revell, J. (2012), "Subject librarians' perceptions of institutional repositories as an information resource", Online Information Review, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 261-277.



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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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