Document Type

Conference Paper




The Aga Khan University (AKU) is serving through eleven campuses spread across eight countries in three continents. It has a network of eleven libraries, although small in size, in five developing courtiers in three regions (South Asia, East Africa, and Europe). The university has recently implemented an Institutional Repository (IR) system to show-case the intellectual and scholarly output of the university. The selection of this system was done after a thorough study of available platforms, and in line with AKU vision and mission. The stakeholders were involved in decision making. After a careful evaluation of the teams involved, Digital Commons was selected as the AKU’s IR. Digital Commons is a suite of tools and services that enable institutions to manage, display, and publish scholarship to the web in a highly visible online showcase. Besides having all features of a traditional IR, it also offers professional-grade publishing tools with a peer-review workflow. So the institutions can publish their journals, books, conference proceedings and other stuff using this platform. It also has an additional module through which the individual faculty and scholars of an institution can develop their profiles and populate them with their scholarly works.

The purpose of this paper is to share our experience of implementing IR in our various campuses, from selection of the product to its marketing. A lot of steps were involved in implementing and populating the works. Information architecture, page setup, layout, branding, building communities, campuses and departments, content recruitment, policy making, copyright issues, measuring success were among the major milestones.

This paper also reports some technical, technological, and content related issues that were faced during the implementation process. Some issues were known and expected but some were out of the mind. Some were manageable while some were beyond the control. Investigating copyright and acquiring copyright permissions from publishers and/or authors have been among the big challenges. Acquisition of content was also a test for AKU libraries’ teams.

With the implementation of this system, the AKU faculty was satisfied with the performance of the system and they were happy to see themselves globally visible in the field of research.

In future, Aga Khan University is going to encourage graduate and undergraduate students to submit their research work online. The workflow will manage these research works from submission to publish on this platform. AKU is also planning to subscribe to an additional module of this system that will host faculty/researchers profile pages.


The paper was presented at Pakistan Library Association's conference, held in Lahore on 16-17 December, 2013.