What is Kérwá?
The repository Kérwá is a digital file that stores, diffuses, and preserves academic and scientific production of the University of Costa Rica. It offers open access to books, technical and work documents, articles, thesis, audio and video files, research reports, among others. This repository began in the mid 2010, and it was declared Institutional Repository in 2013.
The name of the repository is inspired in the analogy between the collection of institutional knowledge and kérwá, a cultural concept from the cabécar (an indigenous Costa Rican dialect) used for naming the set of stones that the jawáem> (indigenous doctor) employs in the ceremonies to find answers to questions.
A jawá used to tell that:
We have little stones so called [kérwá]. This little stone is given to the student, and he is sent to speak with the little stone, to see if the stone talks or not to him.(Bozzoli de Wille, 1982:19)
As river stones, each one represents the ancestral knowledge of cabécar indigenous, same as the contributions of the academic community of the University. We hope that, bringing some of these stones to light, anyone who wishes could find the stone that whispers the needed knowledge.
Objetives of Kérwá Repository
Kérwá repository begins with the iniciative of Latindex Project UCR (current UCRIndex), supported by Dr. Henning Jensen (by the time Research Vice Rector), who, in his visits to other countries faces the need of making more visible the scientific and academic production of the University. By the time, the efforts made from Latindex Project gave a hand in the detected need, by storing and giving open Access to articles published by the journals of the University.
Inquiring into the national environment, there was news that the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica already had an Institutional Repository and that later on some investigation centers and academic units of Universidad de Costa Rica had created their own specialized repositories. However, some of them had not the necessary standardization to make the contents and metadata be harvested; and so, be recovered more efficiently.
Thus, in late 2008 begins the process of establishing a repository that uses a standardized and economically viable platform for both users and University; as a result, DSpace was selected. DSpace is an open-code platform developed to mange online repositories. Kérwá repository was launched to public in July 2010, and since then it has been growing with the contributions of people who participate actively in the happenings of the Universidad de Costa Rica.
In 2013, Kérwá was recognized as an Institutional Repository of the Universidad de Costa Rica and actions are initiated to harvest data from other university repositories, in such a way that they function in an interoperable manner.
Currently, Kérwá is administered by the Vicerrectoría de Investigación de la Universidad de Costa Rica and works hand in hand with LA Reference (Federated Network of Institutional Repositories of Scientific Publications) and the Open Knowledge subcommission of the National Council of Rectors (CONARE ) to improve the quality of repositories in higher education institutions.