Two Personal Repository Services

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This year has seen the release of two personal repository services: and the U.K. Depot. These two services have an admittedly different focus, but I think it is still interesting to compare and contrast them to see what we can learn.

The Depot

The Depot provides one-stop place for U.K.-based researchers to deposit refereed articles, book chapters, and conference papers. It is "one-stop" in that The Depot can forward the author to his/her institution-based repository or, in the case where the author's institution does not have a repository, upload and host the content right from The Depot.

The deposit interface, for those putting content directly into the centralized Depot repository, has four main stages. First, the "Type" stage, specifying whether the object is an article, a book chapter, or a conference paper: The Depot - “Type” Screen

Next, the "Upload" stage, where one can upload the file and supply a few more properties: The Depot - “Upload” Screen

Then the "Details" stage, where the descriptive metadata (minus the controlled vocabulary subjects -- that comes in the next screen) is input: The Depot - “Details” Screen

And finally, the "Subjects" page, with an AJAX-driven expanding-and-collapsing hierarchy of subjects:The Depot - “Subjects” Screen

To retrieve contents from the repository, there is a "browse" interface for looking by 'year' or by 'subject' -- no other browse facets and no search interface. The Depot was just formally released this month, so I would bet that functionality like that is in the works.

PublicationsList is a commercial service with a free, limited-functionality version. Unlike The Depot (and similar institutional repository systems), the focus is on putting together and publishing a personal bibliography with the deposit function taking a secondary role (and only for paid subscribers of the service).

The single item entry page is a just-the-facts interface. Note that the content hosting service is only available to those who have upgraded to the "Publications List Professional" version (which costs £9.99, or approx $20/€15, per year).
PublicationList single item entry

The system can also accept a variety of citation manager file formats for bulk entry. (See snapshot to the right.) PublicationsList Import PublicationsList also has a built in search-and-select interface to PubMed for finding publications matching your name and automatically populating the metadata fields in your personal citation.

Then end result is a web-based bibliography with links to the publications (either hosted on PublicationsList or on other sites). The free version is hosted on (see the service founder's page as an example) and the professional version can embed the publications list in your own page.

PublicationsList does provide discounts and additional functionality for groups (such as departments, research centers, etc.).


Both The Depot and PublicationsList provide interesting suites of features for academics seeking to get their content online, but neither really addresses the problems of getting academics to put their content online. ((For a really good discussion of that problem, see Davis, P.M., & Connolly, M.J.L. (2007). Institutional Repositories: Evaluating the Reasons for Non-use of Cornell University's Installation of DSpace. D-Lib Magazine, 13(3/4). Retrieved March 14, 2007, from The search-and-select interface for PubMed is very helpful in cutting down on the data entry required to populate a citation entry. If OhioLINK were to replicate this service, we could tap into not only PubMed but also the wide variety of index/abstract databases and electronic journals that we host. The automatic handling of various forms of citation management data is also nice. I don't think PublicationsList offers an export feature, which would be good to have so that an author can add entries found through the search-and-select interface back into their personal bibliographic management software.

The one-stop, redirection service in The Depot is a good concept, too. If a researcher wanted to deposit their content in a repository and they weren't sure if their institution had a repository to hold it, OhioLINK would be a natural place to look for a content hosting service in the state and we could redirect the author to the appropriate location on a campus. OhioLINK could also be playing the role of repository-of-last-resort for Ohio academic researchers by providing a space and services for published content, whether or not the institution in question has set up a formal repository space on the DRC.

The text was modified to update a link from to on August 22nd, 2013.