On Sunday afternoon, July 17, BePress sponsored a two hour session (with refreshments) featuring Sheri Lewis and Thomas Drueke of the University of Chicago D’Angelo Law Library, who presented on how they track the impact of faculty scholarship and other online publications using the BePress product, Digital Commons.
Lewis and Drueke began their presentation with a brief overview of their institutional repository program. The law school first licensed Digital Commons, an institutional repository software, in December 2012. In the summer of 2013, the D’Angelo Law Library, using Digital Commons software, created “the mothership”, a database that stores faculty scholarship. In January 2014, the University of Chicago Law School and the D’Angelo Law Library, officially launched Chicago Unbound, a site in the Digital Commons platform.
Chicago Unbound includes full text journal articles, working papers, other publications, and the table of contents of some journals. It provides citations for other publications with OpenURL links and links to the Library Catalog. At the time of this presentation, the platform includes over 23,000 citations, 9,000 PDF’s, all six journals published by the Law School, three working paper series, two law school publications, and four lecture series. The site reached 1,000,000,000 downloads as of April this year.
Lewis and Drueke said there are two ways to think about the impact of Chicago Unbound: externally and internally. Drueke presented on the external impact as reflected in metrics such as number of downloads or links provided in outside sources. He posed the questions “what do these metrics mean?” and “what is the impact of having this information available?” He defined external impact in three different aspects, (1) discovery and use, (2) quantitative, and (3) qualitative.
By reporting on these metrics, they have discovered repository links to faculty work in online books and journals, syllabus and course materials used by students and teachers, government units and policy organizations, news sources, industry reports, comment sections and internet arguments. Drueke noted that some of these links are humorous. One faculty member’s work was even cited in an online article titled “The 50 Juiciest Parts of the 50 Shades of Grey”.
Lewis discussed the internal impact of the institutional repository. One interesting feature is that it links directly to faculty webpage biographies. The storage database (“the mothership”) is used to populate Chicago Unbound as well as faculty pages on the law school website. This generates custom lists for individual faculty members seamlessly. Another internal impact is that repository creates a centralized location for many integrated law school administrative processes. In addition to the faculty scholarship listings, the repository is a space for posting working papers and material for the various law school journals.
In the future, the repository will also serve as a location for archived historical materials as well as student work and publications from former faculty members. Another new development is the more recent relationship between the law school repository and the University’s new institutional repository. The law school’s Chicago Unbound project began before the greater University acquired their own institutional repository and the two entities are working together to determine what their relationship should look like going forward.