Expand AU Menu

Digital Repository: Community and Collection Guidelines

The AU Digital Repository (DR) is built upon software called DSpace, which was developed by MIT. DSpace uses a hierarchically system of communities and sub-communities, each of which may have their own collections of materials. DR uses American University’s structure of Schools & Colleges and Offices & Services for its hierarchy.

A DR “Community” may be scholarly unit such as a school, department, institute, center, or full-time faculty member or staff at American University. Graduate students will be given space for a collection of their academic work within their school or college. Undergraduate student work may be sponsored and submitted for specific courses only. Individuals or groups wishing to establish an DR community that do not fall into this definition will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

There is no single model of how DR communities and collections will be managed. A school or college may have its own DR Community Coordinator who will establish and manage local collections. Or, individual faculty members may work directly with the University Library DR Coordinator to establish individual collections within the appropriate place in the DR hierarchy. However, everyone managing a community or collection must work in collaboration with the University Library DR Coordinator.

The responsibilities of the DR Community Coordinator include the following activities:

  • Work with University Library DR Coordinator to provide submitters with an orientation to DR

  • Create communities and collections that fit within the established DR hierarchy

  • Secure signed copies of the American University Digital Repository (DR) Non-Exclusive License for Authors/Content Creators and/or the American University Digital Repository (DR) Non-Exclusive License for Submitters and provide a copy of the signed agreement to the University Library DR Coordinator

  • Arrange for submission and description of content to the collection

  • Identify and establish the submission workflow for each collection

  • Ensure creation of appropriate metadata for collection

  • Facilitate resolution of copyright questions

DR Contributors:

A contributor is any person who submits content to an DR collection. All contributors must be approved by an DR Community or Collection Coordinator. DR Contributors submit to specific DR collections to which they have been given access. DR contributors may be the author/creator of content, or third parties who are authorized to submit content on an author/creator’s behalf.

The responsibilities of an DR Contributor include the following activities:

  • If an author/creator, sign and return a copy of the American University Digital Repository (DR) Non-Exclusive License for Authors

  • If a third party contributor, sign and return a copy of the American University Digital Repository (DR) Non-Exclusive License for Submitters

  • Determine copyright status of work. Work with the Collection Coordinator and/or University Library DR Coordinator to resolve copyright ownership questions and/or to secure the appropriate release/permission forms

  • Ensure that he/she either holds copyright for items submitted and has obtained appropriate copyright permission for items submitted when he/she is not copyright holder. Ensure that the items submitted meet the DR content guidelines

An DR contributor retains the following rights:

  • Copyright for a work is retained by copyright holder and does not revert to the DR or American University

  • Limit access to content at an item level to world wide, AU-only, or to specific individuals or groups as appropriate (Note: Whenever possible, the most open level of access should be granted.)

  • Determination of use parameters for content. It is recommended that Creative Commons licenses be selected to govern use of content where appropriate

The responsibilities of the University Library include the following activities:

  • Provide orientation and training for new Collection Coordinators

  • Act as liaison between DR user community and DR host (WRLC)

  • Assist in resolution of copyright questions where appropriate

  • Provide general guidelines for metadata creation

  • Provide information on DR and other electronic scholarly communication research

The rights of the University Library include the following:

  • Redistribute or amend metadata for items in DR

  • De-accession items or collections under certain circumstances – as outlined in “Withdrawal Policy”

  • Perform appraisal for long-term archiving when Communities cease to exist or within 30 years of the creation of a collection

  • Remove items for which appropriate copyright permission is not held or obtained – as outlined in “Withdrawal Policy”

The responsibilities of WRLC include the following:

  • Retain and maintain content submitted to DR

  • Distribute content according to institution and community decisions

  • Preserve content using accepted preservation techniques

  • Notify DR communities of significant change to content, e.g. format migration

  • If WRLC ceases to support the Digital Repository, return collections to existing communities and transfer to institution’s archives collections of communities that have ceased to exist.

The rights of WRLC include:

  • Redistribute, sell or amend metadata for items in the WRLC Digital Repository

  • De-accession items or Collections under certain circumstances - as outlined in "Withdrawal Policy".

  • Set quotas (size of files, number of items) to determine what constitutes free service and after which point to charge a fee.

  • Renegotiate terms of original agreement with member institutions

  • Perform appraisal for long-term archiving when Communities cease to exist or within thirty years of the creation of a Collection

  • Move Collections to reflect current agreement between WRLC and Communities

  • Migrate items for presentation purposes or at the institution’s discretion

  • Charge a fee for activities requiring extensive centralized support from WRLC (for example, for a large amount of de-accessioning)

Withdrawal of items from DR:

American University Library foresees times when it may be necessary to remove items from the repository. It has been decided that under some circumstances items will be removed from view, but to avoid loss of the historical record, all such transactions will be traced in the form of a note in the <Description.provenance> field of the Dublin Core record. The content of the note should be one of the following:

  • "removed from view at the request of the author"

  • "removed from view at American University’s discretion"

  • "removed from view by legal order"

Since any item that has existed at some time may have been cited, we will always supply a "tombstone" when the item is request, which will include the original metadata (for verification) plus one of the above withdrawal statements in the place of the link to the object. The metadata should be visible, but not searchable. These items will also be made unavailable for metadata harvesting.

Acceptable DR content:

  1. The work must be produced, published, or sponsored by an AU faculty member or university unit.
  2. The work must be a) educational or research oriented or b) official institutional records.
  3. The work must not be ephemeral.
  4. The work must be in digital form.
  5. The work should be complete and ready for viewing at the time of submission. If parts of the item require different file formats, all of the digital pieces must be provided as a set. (For example, a .pdf document with its associated data file(s)).
  6. The author/owner should be willing and able to grant AU the right to preserve and distribute the work via DR.
  7. If the work is a part of a series, other works in that series should also be contributed so that the institutional repository can offer as full a set as possible.

DR accepts many digital formats:

(Note: It is strongly recommended that documents be converted to pdf format for submission whenever possible.)

  • Documents (e.g. articles, preprints, working papers, technical reports, conference papers)

  • Books

  • Book chapters

  • Theses & Dissertations

  • Data sets

  • Powerpoint presentations

  • Multimedia publications

  • Computer programs

  • Podcasts

  • Visualizations, simulations, and other models

  • Learning objects

  • Web pages

  • Others as deemed appropriate in consultation with University Library and WRLC