Starting a Repository: Best Practices from Your Peers

The Google Group recently had a very productive thread and we’ve culled key suggestions from your peers to answer the critical question: “What do you wish you had known when you started your repository?”

Scott Frey at Western State College of Law began this fruitful query, and Paul Blobaum from Governors State University immediately answered with:

  •   Batch upload and batch revision.
  •   Uploading files stored in GoogleDrive. You can generate URLs in GoogleDocs spreadsheets with a script for batch uploading. Works like a charm.

Chip Wolfe at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University suggested:

  • Use the “bucket system” so that “all faculty submissions would go into the same ‘bucket’ regardless of their department”—this will help if you need to move things around later. “I would suggest discussing it with your rep from the very beginning.”

Carolyn Runyon at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga agreed:

  • I second the “bucket” idea. We corral our ETDs into a single series. It makes everything much easier for our submitters and we don’t have the problem of having empty series awaiting content. It’s also much easier to make batch updates since I can download the metadata in a single spreadsheet.

Emily Stenberg of Washington University in St. Louis qualified this suggestion:

  • We moved away from a bucket series for our ETDs to separate series for each College because the submission requirements and processes were just different enough. We collect into a larger bucket. I do agree about department name changes. This is also something to keep in mind when naming series and communities — don’t create more than you need (we had a bunch of named but empty series) and think about a naming convention to follow in the future that takes into account types of collections and not just department names.

Finally, Kim Myers of The College at Brockport (SUNY) added:

  • It is important to thoroughly understand the structure of your institution as it applies to graduate students. Our situation is exactly what Emily describes, so theses are uploaded to individual collections and then collected into the bucket series. Something that falls under “I am glad we went this way” … was our decision to grow our repository structure organically. We really wanted to avoid the “drill down to an empty series syndrome” that is common when you create your hierarchy in advance. My one “I wish” would be to have had policies in place from the beginning.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on “Starting a Repository: Rich Resources Available for You” on the DC Telegraph!