By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – A new online resource preserves the scholarly and creative work produced by the University of Nebraska at Kearney while providing free, worldwide access to these materials.
UNK is officially launching its digital repository, which collects and stores valuable content from faculty, researchers, students and staff, as well as select items from the university archives.
“This is a place where UNK’s scholarship and creative works can live,” said UNK archivist Laurinda Weisse.
The repository, administered by UNK’s Calvin T. Ryan Library and accessed at openspaces.unk.edu, will host a variety of materials, including student and faculty research, publications and reports, performances and special projects.
“This allows us to bring things together so you get a broader picture of what’s going on on campus,” Weisse said.
Janet Stoeger Wilke, dean of the library, described the repository as a tangible indicator of UNK’s quality that increases the university’s visibility, prestige and public value.
“Through digitization, research, creative activities, historical materials and other resources generally unavailable to searchers and the public can be accessed from anywhere via the internet,” Wilke said. “The repository is an example of the library fulfilling its mission of collecting, describing, preserving and providing stewardship for the work of the university.”
The digital repository allows UNK researchers to share data and findings with scholars across the globe, and a video feature can be used to document musical and theatrical performances or classroom presentations. Popular archival collections, such as The Antelope student newspapers, UNK building histories and the Country School Legacy project that gathered information on rural schools across Nebraska, will also be available there.
Additionally, Weisse wants the repository to be a permanent home for information on the numerous conferences UNK hosts each year.
“There are lots of options out there,” she said of the resource’s uses.
Access to the repository is free and open to the public. Users can search for information by topic or author, and everything is indexed in Google. Another feature allows users to receive email notifications when new information is posted for a specific topic, author or collection.
Weisse said the site provides “a very user-friendly experience.”
The repository also tracks the number of views for each item, where people are accessing the site from and how they’re finding the information.
“It’s an interesting analytics tool,” Weisse said.
The UNK repository is part of the Digital Commons Network, which provides free access to scholarly articles and other research from hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide.
Library staff will continuously add new content and options to the site. One possibility is a selected works gallery – similar to academia.edu or ResearchGate – that allows faculty to create profiles with links to their research, curriculum vitae and other work.
“That’s one feature we’re talking about to determine what level of interest there might be on campus,” Weisse said.