What is a digital repository?

e-artexte is an open access digital repository. What do we mean by digital repository?

From a photo by Commodore Gandalf Cunningham

From a photo by Commodore Gandalf Cunningham

A digital repository is more than just an online database of documents.

We can define a digital repository as “a set of services offered to a community for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by members of that community” [1].

Digital repositories are most often found in the university context, where they provide access to the publications of students and faculty, such as theses and journal articles. Many research universities have institutional repositories to this effect, and faculty and students are asked to ‘self-archive’ their publications. Self-archiving means that authors upload their own documents to the repository and provide some basic information to describe the documents.

The services offered by a digital repository include technical services designed to ensure the longevity, interoperability and accessibility of its contents, thereby aiding in the long term preservation of knowledge. Repository services also include support for authors and publishers in understanding the copyright subtleties of open access self-archiving, as well as documentation and support in completing the self-archiving workflow.

Unlike academic institutional repositories, e-artexte is a thematic repository focused on a specific area of study – Canadian art from 1965 to today – and privileges critical publications such as catalogues, monographs and periodicals.

There are several open source digital repository software programs available; the e-artexte repository uses the EPrints software, developed by the University of Southampton.


1. Clifford Lynch, “Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age.” ARC 226 (2003) n. page. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.


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