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Toshinobu Toyama
(Department of Information Management, Waseda University Library)

Waseda University Repository ● The Features of the Waseda University Repository

In a groundbreaking initiative, the Waseda University Library (WUL) began testing an institutional repository system in FY 2003 and opened it to the public in November 2005 as the Waseda University Repository, or DSpace@Waseda University.

Since its opening, many librarians and other staff have been involved. While their perspectives may differ according to their responsibilities, a uniform management policy has been laid down in the “Waseda University Repository Internal Regulations.” These were established in April 2006 with the cooperation of the Waseda Legal Clinic, an institute attached to the university.

Among these extensive regulations, one clause that clearly indicates the special character of the repository is Article IV, paragraph 3: “The Library shall use Academic Materials registered in the Repository as prescribed below: … (3) Make public the registered Academic Materials archived on the repository computer server, and transmit copies at no charge, via electronic means to a large number of unspecified persons who make requests for such data from both within and outside the University.” In other words, all of the academic results deposited in the repository are widely accessible to general users, not just to members of the Waseda community. This seems to me to fulfill the principle of open access. Further, Article II, paragraph 4 says that “Academic Materials which can be stored on a repository computer server and transmitted via electronic format” are eligible for registration. Though its significance may not be immediately obvious, this is a key element of the repository’s collection policy. It means that the repository does not merely register descriptive metadata, but acquires, registers, and makes available both the metadata and the full text of papers.

Another distinctive feature is the emphasis placed on collecting intellectual output unique to Waseda that is not in general circulation, such as dissertations and articles in academic bulletins, rather than papers so-called “Green Journals.” This emphasis reflects the view that, ideally, an institutional repository should store and make widely available to the general public academic results that are both unique to that particular institution and difficult to obtain or view elsewhere. In fact, bulletin articles and dissertations make up over 50 percent of the repository’s deposits.

Considering the user perspective, we have kept the interface simple, both visually and in terms of functions, and concentrated instead on its content. We reasoned that most users do not browse the repository directly but read its articles via search engines such as Google Scholar or academic paper databases such as CiNii. Of course, we must provide accurate metadata and a complete set of data files (PDF, etc.) for the full text of each article.

● Future Challenges

The level of awareness of the repository on campus leaves much to be desired. While the Waseda community (including its researchers) is actually huge, we have taken various steps to increase awareness, such as improving the repository’s accessibility when we redesigned the WUL website, and producing and distributing a pamphlet for Waseda researchers. Also, in collaboration with other departments, in FY 2008 we linked the repository with the Waseda University Researcher Database, but the number of results deposited via that route is only just beginning to take off. Other necessary tasks include analyzing download statistics and providing reports to the authors; also, some of the bulletin-type publications produced on campus are not yet included in the repository. We also need to consider integrating with the many databases scattered around the campus. I expect most of these challenges are not limited to Waseda. I hope that, as we did when we launched the repository, we will succeed in solving the problems one by one by pursuing in-depth studies and gaining experience by our day-to-day operations and also taking part in the SPARC Japan seminars and information-sharing with other institutions.