Hart, Randal Cooke

Hart (2003)
Randal Cooke
Courtesy of UCA Research Online

This toolkit is made available under a Creative Commons License:

Creative Commons Licence

What is advocacy?

Definitions of advocacy

It is worthwhile to start with a definition of advocacy so it is clear exactly what is meant by this term and how it can be applied in the context of institutional repositories. For Institutional Repository managers advocacy is about promoting the repository service and tailoring the message to different stakeholder groups.

  1. "verbal support or argument for a cause"
    (Pearsall and Trumble, 1995:19)
  2. "Advocacy by an individual or by an advocacy group normally aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions; it may be motivated from moral, ethical or faith principles or simply to protect an asset of interest."
    (Wikipedia, 2011)

The first definition can be seen as a task that is carried out on a day to day basis by repository managers who are supporting the cause of increasing deposit and demonstrating the value of institutional repositories. These are just two of the reasons for conducting advocacy and the second definition could be seen in terms of the bigger picture. Advocacy needs to be undertaken to influence decisions which are made at a higher level within an institution.

Promoting the repository

In terms of the toolkit advocacy is essentially about promoting the institutional repository but in terms of what the institutional repository can do for the different stakeholder groups. This could be thought of in marketing or selling terms and it is therefore important to research the needs of the users before promoting the institutional repository. Each group of stakeholders will have different needs, for example the institution will want to promote the research work in order to recruit students, and researchers will want to showcase their work and raise their profile both internally and externally. So when conducting presentations or workshops target your material to match the audience.

Advocacy in the arts

Advocacy in the arts can certainly follow general approaches but the difference lies in the detail of how advocacy is promoted. For those working in arts repositories it is necessary to be able to promote the service in both a visual and textual way in order to make it pertinent to the various stakeholders and especially to researchers in different disciplines.