Initial content

Quick wins

Knocking down one domino doesn't achieve a great deal, but knocking a whole row down causes an unstoppable chain reaction. In the same way many administrators have found that it is possible to propagate the population of their repositories through concerted efforts. Some possible approaches are listed below.

Metadata only repositories

Populating your repository with metadata (bibliographic) only entries can be a quick way to score points with administrations focussed solely on numerical metrics, whilst at the same time conferring less advantage to the user research community. This can be a stepping stone to successful deposition through the identification of all papers published within an institution, you will have a clear idea of authors to target in any focussed advocacy. Likewise the necessity of working with your research support unit (or similar) to access their database of publications in the first place, may well offer unexpected synergistic opportunities.

However, it is very important that as you replace bibliographic entries with full text to allow end-users to easily differentiate between the two types of record. Finally whilst populating a repository with all the recorded published papers of the institution may give you an idea of how far you have to go to achieve a realistic level of successful ingest, it can also be a significant demotivator once you realise the scale of the task contrasted with your staff resource.

Enabling administrative staff

Departmental administrators and similar support staff can be an exceptionally successful route to both population of the repository and an extension of the marketing message. Administrators often already maintain databases of publications, both full-text and bibliographic. They also likely have the ear and confidence of the academic staff with whom they work, and are powerful intermediaries when you need to communicate a repository related issue. Involving them as the prime depositors for a group of academics following brief training can ensure a ready flow of material into the repository. This also helps to assuage academic time-demand concerns over this activity.

A draw-back to using this approach can be the de-prioritization of the repository in the eyes of the academics from a vital research function, to an ancillary administrative task. This may not be readily apparent until there is a requirement to approach a publisher directly seeking revision to retained open access permissions for an article, only to discover the academics are disengaged from the whole scholarly communications debate. Thus it is vital to continue activities that engage directly with the academics for the long term success of the repository.

Involving other staff

Wherever possible draw more staff into whatever activity you have planned, classical marketing and advocacy. Many hands may make light work and allow your message to reach a broader audience. However, it is essential to control the situation in order to ensure that all involved are aware of the key messages and ethos of the repository. Perhaps crucially they also need to possess a firm awareness of planned future developments.