Repository Overview

Although it is possible to copy items directly from one survey into another (as described in Reusing Questions and Other Survey Objects), repository items – questions, question tables, and Text/HTML items – provide several advantages over items borrowed from other surveys.

Guaranteed Consistency

Illume maintains some restrictions on repository items to guarantee that they are consistent on all surveys in which they appear. A repository item’s scale value codes, for example, cannot change. This allows for reliable cross-survey queries.

Cross-survey Queries

Because a repository item includes a common set of scale value codes in all surveys in which it appears, it is possible to query responses to that question across multiple surveys.

For example, a repository question asks “What is the most important factor in your decision to purchase a computer?” The options are: 1) Price, 2) Features, and 3) Ease of Use.

This question can be used in a dozen different surveys spanning a period of several months or years.

Because repository restrictions guarantee that this question is structurally the same across all of the surveys in which it appears, it is possible to run a cross-survey query on this question that will examine all of the question’s responses across all of the surveys in which it appeared.


In many cases, a question must be reused with only a slight change to the question prompt. For example, it might ask “How satisfied are you with your purchase of such-and-such product,” changing only the name of the product from one survey to the next.

This question can be added to the repository with a placeholder in the place of the product name, and then use a survey parameter to replace the placeholder on each survey in which the question appears.

The question prompt would look something like this:

  • How satisfied are you with the purchase of {ParamValue:ProductName}?

Because each survey enables the definition any parameters, this question becomes reusable on any number of product surveys.

For more information on how to use placeholders and survey parameters, see “Working with Survey Parameters and Piping Data”.

Universal Access

There may be cases in which a designer wants to reuse a question from an older survey, but the designer does not have permission to view the survey itself. When this happens, the designer has no way of accessing a potentially useful resource.

The repository provides a way to work around this limitation without compromising the security of the survey to which a designer is legitimately denied access. By adding the item to the repository, it is available to all designers.

Ease of Location

While Illume’s Survey Search enables users to locate entire surveys by category, the repository’s search tool enables users to locate individual questions, question tables, and Text/HTML items. This provides more convenient access for those users who want to locate only a single item for reuse.

Accessing the Repository

The Repository Explorer can only be accessed if the user is connected to an Illume Server. The links to the Repository will remain for objects while Working Locally, but items cannot be added or edited in the Repository.