This meeting was supported by JISC and - Self-Archiving and Open Archives

Putting Eprints Software into the User Community: programme and proceedings

Wednesday June 23, 2004, at The School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London, 10 a.m.-4.30 p.m.

An invitation-only roundtable workshop organised by JISC and the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at Southampton University

Summary report highlighting major proposals and issues for further investigation


Joint Chairs: Steve Hitchcock (Southampton University) and Chris Awre (JISC)

The programme adopted a roundtable format, with most of the time allocated to discussion involving all participants. The opening presentations within each topic were intended to set an outline agenda and to prompt fuller discussion.

10.30-10.45 Introduction: why we're holding this meeting, the JISC and Eprints views
Chris Awre (JISC) [presentation slides]
and Steve Hitchcock (Southampton University) [presentation slides]

10.45-11.45 Technical issues: Roundtable discussion
Opening remarks by Chris Gutteridge (Eprints technical developer, Southampton University) [presentation slides]

11.45-12.45 User issues: Roundtable discussion
Opening remarks by Jessie Hey and Pauline Simpson (TARDis project, Southampton University) [presentation slides]

12.45-1.45 Lunch

1.45-2.30 Breakout sessions
Technical group [notes (Word document)]
User group [notes (Word document)] [proposed organisation chart (presentation slide)]
2.30-2.45 Report back

2.45-3.45 Management and business models, funding and marketing: Roundtable discussion
Overview of Eprints UK workshops and business models, Philip Hunter (UKOLN) [presentation slides]
Report on DSpace User Group meeting, March 2004, William Nixon (Glasgow University) [presentation slides]

3.45-4.00 Tea

4.00-4.30 Summary of the day: future agenda and plan of action


The Eprints software has the largest -- and most broadly distributed -- installed base of any of the repository software systems, according to the Open Society Institute [Crow]. From its origins in 1997 as software designed to manage the Cogprints archive of papers on cognitive science, through to its current support for OAI-compliant institutional archives, development of Eprints software at ECS Southampton University has been largely funded by JISC. As a result, Eprints is free, GNU open source software.

In terms of the growth of eprint archives, Eprints has reached a pivotal moment. We may be about to witness a significant expansion in the number of institutional archives and of usage as awareness grows of the benefits of open access provided by author self-archiving. A larger user community will demand more, and more varied, support than one developer institution alone can provide at a time when Eprint archives are beginning to assume greater importance in the digital infrastructure of institutions.

Similarly, in terms of funding, JISC and Eprints have reached a critical junction. As Eprint archives must seek institutional funds to grow, it is a natural development for Eprints software to assume the characteristics of successful open source projects, driven by shared community goals and needs.


The time and opportunity have now arisen for the Eprints user community to accept and take on a shared responsibility for the devolution of ideas and support for the software to a wider base.

Eprints has shown itself to be a system capable of meeting the needs of current institutional archives. What will be the future needs? The meeting will consider technical development, user and community development, and management issues.

What are the technical requirements of future implementations? Can technical development of Eprints be managed as distributed open source software within the community? How can the danger of fragmenting the software be avoided?

How can institutions attract users, and how can these users be properly supported? Is there a need for an expanded Eprints user forum (beyond current eprints mailing lists), and what shape should it take?

How should the transition towards more community participation be managed? What are the funding needs of a new business model, and how should these be met? Is there a market-based solution, or is some direct funding still necessary?

Who should attend?

This round-table workshop is an opportunity for invited key users to shape the strategy that will guide Eprints software through this important transition. This will be a participation-led meeting, with breakout sessions to allow interested groups to focus on technical and user issues.

Note. For those planning to attend the PALS meeting on institutional repositories in London, that meeting is on the day following this round-table.


Crow, R. "A Guide to Institutional Repository Software". Open Society Institute

DSpace User Group Meeting, March 10-11, 2004: Summary and Outcomes

For a graphical list of Eprint archives, see the Institutional Archives Registry

Meeting organisers
Chris Awre, JISC, contact c.awre@JISC.AC.UK
Steve Hitchcock, Southampton University, contact

Putting Eprints Software into the User Community supported by
JISC and - Self-Archiving and Open Archives