Raynor Memorial Libraries offers more than 1.8 million volumes, hundreds of research databases, computer access, laptops on loan, a multimedia
collection, group study spaces, 24-hour access and library staff members who help researchers from around the world.
Much of the scholarly output of university faculty members and researchers—including conference proceedings, working papers, unpublished (and
even published) articles, data sets, and audiovisual presentations—receives only limited exposure. Institutional digital repositories have been
established by colleges and universities, including Marquette University, to organize and preserve such selected educational and research materials and
to make them freely available in a reliable centralized online archive. Marquette's IR has been given the name: e-Scholarship@Marquette.
The University of Maryland Digital Repository site highlights the power of an IR to expand the exposure of its scholarly contents:
Scholars and researchers generally publish their work to disseminate it to the broadest possible audience of interested readers. The basic
concept of institutional repositories is to use the power of the Internet to make research available and maintain permanent access to this
valuable information. By providing stable storage for deposited files and gathering and publicizing basic descriptive information, these digital
documents can be found, read, and used by a global audience. Repositories are designed to make it easy for authors to deposit their works and for
any researcher to locate works of interest quickly and easily. The costs are kept very low and are covered by the institution rather than the
author or the reader.
One of the key features of an institutional repository is the free accessibility of its contents, i.e., open
access. According to the Budapest Open Access Initiative, open access refers to the "free availability on
the public internet" of scholarly literature "without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet
itself." While most IR content is open access, it should also be noted that scholars have the option of restricting access to their own materials to a
selective group of collaborators or colleagues. The institutional repository can even serve as a data storage site for works in progress.