From a UVa Announcement:
Libra, a new digital repository, is designed to archive U.Va. faculty articles and scholarship from any discipline in a searchable database, said Martha Sites, deputy university librarian. The service will also host student theses and dissertations, as well as research data sets.
“It provides a way for scholars to ensure the long-term durability of the scholarship they produce,” Sites said. “That’s the overarching goal.”
Libra will provide a stable, long-term home for U.Va. scholarship that isn’t tied to a commercial endeavor, said James Hilton, vice president and chief information officer. More and more institutions are heading down similar paths, he said.
“It’s completely appropriate for academic research libraries to be developing these tools and providing these solutions, because they are the only ones charged with the mission of preserving the scholarly record forever,” Hilton said.
When a library buys a physical book, it has the right to loan that book out and preserve it indefinitely, Hilton said. But when it obtains an electronic item, such as a digital copy of a scholarly article, the library only has a license, which – unless the contract says otherwise – doesn’t include the right to preserve it.
“What I think is beautiful about Libra is that it places control in the hands of scholars,” Hilton said.
“Part of the value of Libra is that it gives faculty members a place to put their papers where the world can get at them without having to pay,” Login said. “The repository allows these articles to be available, if you know where to look for them.”
Sites said Libra was developed in conjunction with Faculty Senate efforts to increase access to scholarly works. Last year, the senate approved a policy designed to encourage scholars to retain rights to publish their research findings online a year after the articles are published in academic journals.