What is a Digital Repository?

By Rachael Zipperer, Masters Candidate at the University of Texas School of Information

Key to engaging participants in digital preservation is understanding what a digital repository is and its role in preserving digital content. When physical items are preserved, they live in libraries, museums, or archives, in climate controlled environments that prevent pests and mold and away from light that could be damaging. Items in a library or archive are monitored so the professionals who care for them know the items’ locations and maintain control over their collections.

To be preserved properly, digital items need special housing and management too. A digital repository is like the electronic equivalent of the library stacks; digital items are organized and searchable there, and they have a specific, persistent location so repository managers maintain intellectual control and researchers can find what they’re looking for. A digital repository does more than simply house digital objects online, it preserves their integrity in the long term.

One of the many services TDL provides to members is hosting digital repositories in DSpace, an open source repository software. Having a hosted repository can be essential to institutions that otherwise wouldn’t have the digital space to store their collections. You can learn more and find links to hosted member repositories here.

To learn more about Rachael’s project and view her exhibit click here.

Posted in Institutional Repositories, Texas Digital Library

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