Modern engineering industry is relying more and more on the use of knowledge in product development. This paper advocates design repositories as a natural progression from traditional design databases to systems that are created to more actively support knowledge-based design. In contrast to traditional design databases, design repositories serve not only as archives, but as repositories of heterogeneous knowledge and data that are designed to enable representation, capture, sharing, and reuse of corporate design knowledge. This paper describes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Design Repository Project, an ongoing project within the Engineering Design Technologies Group at NIST. The project objectives are to develop a computational framework for the creation of design repositories, and to provide a proof-of-concept prototype to demonstrate their benefits. A number of research issues associated with the envisioned role of design repositories in industry are addressed. The current state of the project and a prototype implementation are presented as well.