Installation & customisation

Installation/customisation and ongoing maintenance generally require the same skill set, and are usually done by the same staff. The main difference is in the time commitment. While you may decide you need your own dedicated technical repository staff, you are still very likely to need to call on central IT services to help with server and database issues.

In principle, installing and customising a repository is a one-off task, requiring a relatively short burst of intense activity by staff with appropriate IT skills. It is therefore advisable for the relevant staff to be assigned full-time during this phase of the project. The period for which they will be required depends on the software you are using, the degree to which you wish to customise it, and your system architecture. The closer you stick to the out-of-the-box product, its default configurations, and recommended platforms, the quicker it will be.

Ideally, you should engage or assign technical staff to the project who have experience with the software and hardware platforms required by your choice of software. If no one suitable is available, you should allow time and money for relevant training. Your software provider may also run technical courses on their products, and it is generally well worth sending your staff on them.

The popular software choices tend to be fairly quick to install, taking the order of two weeks for a standard configuration. This assumes you do nothing in the way of customisation more than the basics of adding your institution's name and logo, the name of the repository, and the name & email address of the administrator. You should allow more time if you wish to go further in matching the repository with your institutional or departmental web look and feel - anything from a week to a month. As stated elsewhere, it important to record assiduously the changes you make, because you may need to repeat them during a future software upgrade. Such documentation adds to the time required, but it would be counter-productive to skimp on the time allocation.

If you wish to pre-load your repository with material, for instance extracted from PubMed Central or some other resource, you should also allow time for this - possibly a week to a fortnight.

Of course, much of this commitment of resources can be avoided by outsourcing - either by hosting your repository with a suitable service provider, or bringing external people in to do your in-house set-up for you. However, you still need to allow time for setting specifications, liaison and project management, and you should still seriously consider sending your own staff on any product-specific courses for the sake of ongoing maintenance.

Find out more from the JISC Digital Repositories infoKit