Measuring the International Usage of U.S. Institutional Repositories

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Purpose – In an educational world with increasing internationalization, digitization, assessment and financial justification, US institutions, especially academic libraries, must justify each new project. Institutional Repositories (IRs) are no exception. The authors attempt to identify factors that might affect the international usage of US IRs as part of assessment efforts to determine an IR's return-on-investment.

Design/methodology/approach – A survey was disseminated to IR administrators asking for demographic information, international usage counts for website hits and downloads, and any internationalization efforts connected to the IR in order to determine any influencing factors on an IR's international usage.

Findings – While many IRs reported various rates of international usage, the largest group of respondents did not report an international usage rate for both page hits and downloads, despite overwhelmingly expressing an importance of international traffic to their IR and parent institution.

Research limitations/implications – It is not clear if this non-reporting of international usage could be due to ignorance, apathy, or lack of technological support on the part of the IR administrators.

Practical implications – Determining international usage as a part of an IR assessment might be problematic or even impossible for many US IRs.

Originality/value – This study suggests that many IR administrators either do not know, do not care, and/or cannot record international usage data for their respective IRs, which could hinder determining an international return-on-investment for the IR.