Creating repositories

Applies to the following products: 
Questionmark Perception
Applies to the following Perception versions: 
Perception 5.7
Perception 5.4
Perception 5.1

A repository is a Microsoft Access, Oracle or SQL Server database containing question and assessment data. All the information needed to author, schedule, deliver and report on assessments is contained within a repository. Before questions and assessments can be created, an author must first create the repository (or open an existing repository) in which question and assessment data will be stored.

A repository can be located:

  • On an author's computer, in which case the author is said to be working from a local repository
  • On another computer, that authors can access over a network. In this case, the author is said to be working from a shared repository

If you are using the Questionmark OnDemand service your shared repository has already been created by Questionmark and you can find details about connecting to it in your Welcome email.

More information on these repository types is provided in the following table.

Repository Description

A Microsoft Access database with no security features. Because of this, local repositories should only be used for tryout and demonstration purposes. Local repositories should not be used in production environments, and must never be used to deliver high-stakes assessments. In these situations, a shared repository should always be used.

Authors can create local repositories with Authoring Manager, and use them to create questions and assessments. For testing and tryout purposes, you can create local repositories in which to store example questions and assessments.


An Oracle or SQL Server database with advanced security features suitable for production use.

Authors can create shared repositories with Shared Repository Manager. This tool is installed with Perception Server, and to use it you will need access to the Perception Server.

Assessments in local repositories cannot be scheduled, delivered and reported on. Therefore to follow the instructions given in the SchedulingDelivering and Reporting chapters of this guide we recommend that you use a shared repository to store your assessments. (If you are only interested in the Authoring chapter of this guide, you can use a local repository if you wish. Any question or assessment content you create in a local repository can be easily imported into a shared repository at a later date.)

If you have already created a shared repository, or if one has already been created for you, rather than creating a local repository you can connect to your shared repository and use it to follow the instructions given in this guide.

Creating shared repositories

Shared repositories cannot be created with Authoring Manager - they must be created with the Shared Repository Manager tool. This tool is installed with Perception Server. Refer to the Shared Repository Manager User Guide for more information on shared repositories

This section contains information on:

Creating a local repository

 A local repository is a Microsoft Access database with the file extension .qmr. To create a local repository:

  1. Open Authoring Manager
  2. If this is the first time you have opened Authoring Manager, or if you have not yet disabled the Welcome to Authoring Manager box, you will see the following dialog box

    If this dialog box is displayed, check Create new repository and click OK

    Alternatively, if the dialog box is not displayed, select File > New Repository… from the File menu

  3. The Repository Creation Wizard will open, enabling you to create a local repository. Click Next to begin
  4. Enter the location on your computer in which you want to create your local repository and click Next

    Note that repository names cannot include spaces or quote (") marks

  5. Enter the initial topic and assessment folder names, and click Next

    Topics are folders used to contain questions. For example, you may have one topic called 'Maths' containing questions on mathematics, and another called 'Science' containing questions on science. The initial topic is the first (root) topic that will be created in your repository.

    Assessment folders contain assessments, and like topics are used to group together related content.

    Additional topic and assessment folders can be created from within Authoring Manager once you have accessed your repository.

    If you do not want to specify an initial topic name or assessment folder name, you can skip this stage by clicking Next without entering any values

  6. Specify whether you want to import existing data from an earlier version of Perception and click Next

    In this example, we will create an empty local repository, so we will not tick this box

    If you would like to learn more about how to import data into Perception, please refer to Finding more information

  7. Confirm that the details of the repository you are about to create are correct and click Next

    If the details are not correct, use the Back button to modify earlier screens in the Repository Creation Wizard

  8. The new local repository will be created.
  9. Once the repository has been created, the final screen in the Repository Creation Wizard will be displayed. Click Finish to close the Wizard

Once the repository has been created, it will be opened in Authoring Manager, and you can begin creating questions.

Refer to Creating topics & questions for instructions on how to start creating question content.

Example repository

An example local repository is included with Authoring Manager. This local repository is named ExampleLocal and includes several example questions, as well as an example assessment. When learning how to use Authoring Manager, you may find it useful to open this repository and work with the existing content.

The ExampleLocal repository can be found in the Authoring Manager application folder. By default, this is:


Connecting to a shared repository

If a shared repository has been created for you, and you have been given the shared repository name and server address, you can connect to it in Authoring Manager. Once you have connected to a shared repository, you can create questions and assessments in the same way that you can with local repositories.

To connect to a shared repository:

  1. Open Authoring Manager
  2. Select Open > Open Shared Repository... from the File menu
  3. Enter the address of your shared repository server and click Connect

  4. Select the repository you want to connect to from the drop-down list and cliKck OK
  5. Enter your username and password to log in to the shared repository and click OK
  6. The shared repository will be opened in Authoring Manager, and you can begin creating questions.