Do you really need a repository?

Emily DiLeo
2 min readNov 1, 2023

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As soon as people learn that I’m an archivist/librarian working in UX Research Ops, they ask me, “How do I create a Repository?? OMG my team really needs one — we can’t find anything!”

In many cases, these teams don’t actually need a repository (yet). They need to get their own house in order by applying principles of knowledge management.

Principles before practice

There are certain knowledge management principles that I consider the building blocks of a successful research repository. If you and your team can learn them (or at least maintain an awareness of them) your research repository journey will be much smoother, and the end result will be more targeted and effective.

The first of these principles is a single point of access. Research studies typically include a number of assets, which live in multiple tools. This creates an onerous search process. Creating a “front door” will keep your assets discoverable and findable.

A single point of access can live anywhere. In a shared folder, a project management tool, even a research report. Whatever you use, it needs to be a location that everyone on your team can access, and it must support file sharing and links.

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The second principle is description for access. For archivists, description IS access. If you tell someone what something is and what it was used for, you help that person determine whether this thing is relevant to them. Read more about description.

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The third principle is curation. This one is based on the conversations I’ve witnessed (and supported) when a team plans a repository. Teams should align on what are the most valuable artifacts from a their research (tip: don’t just dump everything into your repository).

You might also focus on the quality of your insights. Are they tactical? Behavioral? Evergreen? Curation is very strategic, and the clearer you are about your repository strategy, the more effective it will be.

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Emily DiLeo

I’m a research ops professional with a background in qualitative research and information science.