Digital repositories are widely used as a mechanism for making scholarly works freely accessible on the web. Academic libraries are often involved in the creation and management of institutional repositories that focus on preserving and disseminating the scholarship produced by their institution’s faculty and students. This can include article pre-prints and manuscripts, technical reports, conference proceedings, data sets, and software, as well as theses and dissertations. For many libraries, ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) are the first targets for an institutional repository program, and represent an opportunity to engage graduate students and their faculty advisors in broader conversation about open access, intellectual property management, long-term management of digital content, and other scholarly communication issues. Institutional repositories are especially important for universities with open access policies that direct faculty to deposit final manuscripts of scholarly articles into repository. They are further useful in helping researchers comply with funder mandates on the accessibility of research data. Libraries are also instrumental in creating repositories for the purpose of digitizing, preserving, and showcasing cultural heritage collections.
Disciplinary repositories, such as arXiv (physics, mathematics, nonlinear sciences, computer science, quantitative biology) perform the same sorts of services as institutional repositories, but for scholars within particular disciplines or groups of disciplines. Finally, grant funding agencies, such as federal agencies, create and maintain their own repositories to preserve and disseminate the research they support. These repositories include not only scholarly articles but also the data produced and compiled in the process of the funded research.