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University of Maryland Digital Repository at the University of Maryland

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About Institutional Repositories

What's so great about the institutional repository concept?

Scholars and researchers generally publish their work to disseminate it to the broadest possible audience of interested readers. The basic concept of institutional repositories is to use the power of the Internet to make research available and maintain permanent access to this valuable information. By providing stable storage for deposited files and gathering and publicizing basic descriptive information, these digital documents can be found, read, and used by a global audience. Repositories are designed to make it easy for authors to deposit their works and for any researcher to locate works of interest quickly and easily. The costs are kept very low and are covered by the institution rather than the author or the reader.

How do institutional repositories work?

Many research institutions are building repositories and sharing the descriptions of their contents with search services. Although different institutions use different software to manage their repositories, the ability to exchange information seamlessly results when common standards for sharing information are used. DRUM uses software that presents descriptive information on its stored files in standard formats so that it is understandable to a wide variety of search services.
DRUM also provides a permanent URL for each deposit. This ensures that access to files is maintained over time as there is a stable, standard reference for each deposit. Even though software will be upgraded and the repository will be moved to new computers over time, the permanent URLs will continue to point correctly to each deposit.

How do people find items in institutional repositories?

Someone looking for information on a particular topic does not have to know the information is in DRUM. He or she simply uses a search engine, finds a hit for a DRUM item, and accesses it. On the other hand, someone wishing to see what research has been going on in a particular department or what documents have been deposited by a particular researcher can come to DRUM and browse through the repository.

What other universities are building institutional repositories?

Institutional repositories are developing rapidly on university campuses across the country and around the world. Some pioneers of the concept include MIT and the University of California System. Many other institutions are building their repositories on the same timeline as the University of Maryland.

Still have questions?
General inquiries:, (301) 314-1328
DRUM Coordinator: Terry Owen,


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University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-7011 (301)314-1328.
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