The aim of this strand of projects is to stimulate the population of existing repositories, enhance interoperability and embed repositories within institutional working practices such as research and learning as well as supporting the establishment of repositories where this will be sustained in to the future.

Repositories Start-up and Enhancement projects

The aim of this strand is to stimulate the population of existing repositories, enhance interoperability and embed repositories within institutional working practices such as research and learning as well as supporting the establishment of repositories where this will be sustained in to the future. 

These projects are funded out of the September 2006 and the April 2007 capital calls. Institutions are providing at least 50% of the funding to match the JISC grant (except for a small number of rapid innovation projects funded out of the April 2007 call).

Projects are exploring a wide range of issues around the provision of repositories to support research, learning and teaching, and other activities. A list of the projects grouped by the the issues they are addressing can be seen on the project themes page

Through these projects, more repositories will be established that apply good practice in their start-up and management of repositories, particularly in building content deposit into workflows in learning, teaching and research. They will be supported in adopting relevant standards to improve interoperability between repositories and other services. Other benefits will be helping institutions manage digital assets effectively; an increase in the volume of content held in interoperable repositories and through the enhancement projects further development of solutions that help to improve digital repositories in both technical and organisational areas.

Cultural considerations for digital repositories

The JISC Repositories and Preservation projects are encouraged to draw from good practice that has been either developed or identified in previous work in this area. Such practice varies between domains (learning, research), so it's difficult to give general guidance. In general, it's important to show that relevant organisation, cultural, policy and legal dimensions to a project’s work have been addressed and that risks and opportunities have been identified and planned for. The following guide to sources of information about good practice should allow projects to draw from and build on previous work, and plan more effectively.

JISC has released a number of briefing papers that are relevant to repositories and preservation, which offer a high-level overview of the main issues. These include papers on Repositories in Further and Higher Education, Open Access, and e-Science Data Curation. Others have written in more detail, for example a recent book on Institutional Repositories offers guidance in that area.

Research outputs: Previous JISC-funded development work has produced substantial knowledge in this area. For example, the FAIR programme resulted in a topic-based synthesis of work, covering setting up a repository, advocacy and cultural issues, legal issues and preservation. The Sherpa project continues to offer guidance on a similar range of issues. Legal matters are a particular focus of the outputs from work arising from a JISC-SURF partnership on copyright, focusing specifically on questions around research papers. In the field of curation, the Digital Curation Centre is producing a Digital Curation Manual.

In the e-learning world, the SURF project (not to be confused with the SURF Foundation, mentioned above), which was funded under the X4L programme, developed a guide to good practice and problem areas in cultural, educational and organisational change. Jorum has released a number of review reports, including one on preservation in an e-learning context. The Trust DR project has released papers on the practical implications of IPR in e-learning.

Planning the projects – areas to consider

Institutions and projects should consider the following within their planning:

  • Business process reviews and requirements analysis
  • Stakeholder consultation
  • Specification of solutions
  • Identifying staff roles and responsibilities within and between organisations
  • Specification of enhancements
  • Identification of risks particularly around resourcing, IPR, and uptake
Technical implementation
  • Procurement of software or services
  • Implementation and configuration
  • Maintenance
  • Developing approaches to authorisation and authentication, such as the provision of repository content through the access management federation
  • Implementation and configuration of tools and enhancements, such as Using tools to enable full-text searching, Improving the exposure of metadata and content through implementing standards-based application profiles, Using tools to aid deposit and metatagging
  • Improving the integration of repositories with other systems (research information systems, virtual learning/research environments, library catalogues etc)
Policy development
  • Developing policies and processes for deposit
  • Developing policies for long-term access and strategy for preservation, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, including external services where appropriate
  • Developing policies for addressing legal issues such as IPR, third party copyright, data protection etc
Populating the repository with content
  • Training and support
  • Promotion and advocacy
  • Collecting student e-theses for future access
  • Building repository use into workflows in learning, teaching and research
Support for projects

Repository Support project - funded up to March 2009 to work with HE institutions in England and Wales to assist them in the start-up and enhancement of repositories of all types. The project will be working closely with this strand to help them implement good practice and share their learning with the sector.

Repositories Research Team - works with JISC development projects and other sources of expertise, particularly to support and synthesise the technical and architectural issues involved with a network of interoperable repositories.


Start date
30 March 2007
End date
30 March 2009
Funding Programme
Repositories and Preservation Programme
Strategic Themes