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Policies and Guidelines

The University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy (UDC) provides long-term preservation and access services for the intellectual and creative output of the University's academic, research, and administrative communities. This includes archival maintenance of official organizational records and publications of the University as part of the collecting program of the University of Minnesota Archives. The Digital Conservancy is an open access repository and makes submissions freely available, worldwide, with the noted policies and guidelines below. The Digital Conservancy is also home to the Data Repository for U of M (DRUM) which has additional selection criteria and policies.

Content Guidelines

The University Digital Conservancy is a program of the University of Minnesota Libraries that provides long-term open access to a wide range of University works in digital formats. It does so by gathering, describing, organizing, storing, and preserving that content.

Works produced or sponsored by the U of M faculty, researchers, staff, and students are appropriate for deposit in the Digital Conservancy. Works might include pre- and post-prints, working papers, technical reports, conference papers, research data and theses.

Works produced or sponsored by administrative and academic units may also be appropriate for deposit in the Digital Conservancy; see Regent's Policy on Libraries and Archives. Works might include digital departmental newsletters, administrative reports, compilations of University data, meeting agendas and minutes.

The following statements are meant to guide contributors in determining appropriate types of submissions for the Digital Conservancy.

  • Contributors must be U of M affiliates with a valid Internet ID to place the works they deposit in the Digital Conservancy.
  • Works should be free from access restrictions and appropriate for open access by all users of the Digital Conservancy.
  • The Digital Conservancy must be granted permission to distribute and preserve all works placed in the repository, though, the author/original copyright owner retains copyright on all works.
  • The Digital Conservancy welcomes works in most digital formats. Digital preservation support will be provided at different levels for specific formats as specified in the Digital Conservancy Preservation Policy.
  • The Digital Conservancy is also home to the Data Repository for U of M (DRUM) which has additional selection criteria and policies.

Copyright Policy

Using materials in the Digital Conservancy

Individuals who use this site are solely responsible for their uses; copyright permissions or other legal or ethical issues may need to be addressed in order to make use of Digital Conservancy materials.

Contributor(s) retain all copyrights and related rights in their works. Where open licenses or other usage rights are not indicated, users should contact contributors for any permissions needed to use materials that are available on this site.

Sharing Your materials via the Digital Conservancy

Contributors must have the legal right to upload their materials to the Digital Conservancy, and to grant the necessary non-exclusive licenses to the Digital Conservancy for access and preservation. A jointly-owned Work may be deposited by any of the joint owners, provided the Contributor promptly notifies the other joint owner(s) of the deposit. (Many jointly-authored works are also jointly-owned.)

A work for hire may be deposited by the employer or contracting party that owns the rights of copyright in the Work.

A Work that has been disclosed to the University's Office of Technology Commercialization ("OTC") shall not be deposited in the Conservancy without OTC's prior approval.

A Work held by a unit of the University may be deposited on behalf of the unit if determination of authorship is impossible or impractical.

Information about rights You grant to the University

Contributors do not at any point lose copyright ownership or any other rights in the materials that already exist. Contributors (or their proxies) grant non-exclusive rights to the Regents of the University of Minnesota. Non-exclusive indicates that these rights are also retained by the existing rightsholders, and that they can be granted again in the future to other parties. The University asks for the rights needed to preserve your materials for as long as possible, and to share them with the world; this includes the rights to distribute your materials, and to make copies and change file formats in order to keep them accessible. For more details, read the Deposit Agreement, below.

Deposit Agreements

Contributors to the Digital Conservancy are asked to comply with the deposit terms by means of a deposit agreement.

There are two agreements available to facilitate contributions:

  • Deposit Agreement for Individuals (web form) or printable PDF - used by authors and/or their proxies who want to submit works to which they own the copyrights.
  • Deposit Agreement for Organizations (PDF) - used by individuals authorized by an organizational unit of the University to submit works to which the University unit may or may not own copyrights.

Preservation Policy

The Digital Conservancy is committed to providing long-term access to the digital works it contains. Adhering to best practices, the Digital Conservancy and University Libraries staff use digital preservation strategies that adapt to the changing technological environment.

Preservation steps may include format migration, normalization, and/or emulation. Which steps the Digital Conservancy will take to perpetuate accessibility of a file are determined by the nature of the file format. For example:

  • PDF, TIFF, JPEG, CSV and WAV: More extensive actions will be taken to preserve accessibility for objects in file formats that are fully disclosed, well documented, and widely adopted.
  • Microsoft files, Photoshop, and most video formats: Fewer actions will be taken to preserve usability for file formats that are proprietary and/or undocumented, and those that are considered working formats (e.g., Photoshop .psd) and/or are not widely adopted.

To assist depositors with selecting file formats that are best suited for preservation, the following tables details support levels for commonly used file formats. More information about the Libraries’ digital preservation strategies can be found in the Digital Preservation Framework document on the Libraries Digital Preservation website


Digital preservation support levels

Support Element Full Support Limited Support
Assigns a persistent identifier that will always point to the object and/or its metadata. X X
Creates provenance records and other preservation metadata to support accessibility and management over time. X X
Provides secure storage and backup. X X
Performs periodic refreshment to new storage media. X X
Performs routine fixity checks using proven checksum methods. X X
Undertakes strategic monitoring of file formats. X
Plans and performs migration to succeeding format upon obsolescence. X

File support and preservation best practices

The following tables detail the Digital Conservancy preservation support levels for commonly used file formats. Preservation best practices are also described.

Preservation levels by file type

Text and Microsoft Office file formats

Best practice guidelines:

  • PDF/A is the preferred version of PDF for archival preservation.
  • Consider converting Microsoft formats with "Limited" support to PDF, PDF/A or CSV for full support.
  • Submissions of HTML files must also inlcude all other referenced files such as CSS files.
  • .txt files should be saved in the UTF-8 (Unicode) character set.
  • Full support of XML and SGML files requires the depositor to include the DTD along with the well-formed XML or SGML file.
Format Extension Support Level
PDF .pdf Full
HTML .html, .htm Limited
Microsoft Word .doc, .docx Limited
Microsoft PowerPoint .ppt, .pptx Limited
Microsoft Excel .xls, .xlsx Limited
CSV .csv Full
Rich Text .rtf Limited
Plain Text .txt Full
SGML .sgm, .sgml Full
XML .xml Full

Image file formats

Best practice guidelines: For long-term preservation, images saved without compression are best. If compression status is not known, preserve the highest quality version (usually the version with the largest file size).

Format Extension Support Level
BMP .bmp Limited
GIF .gif Limited
JPEG .jpg Full
JPEG 2000 .jp2 Limited
PNG .png Limited
Photoshop .psd Limited
TIFF .tif Full

Audio file formats

Best practice guidelines: For long-term preservation, save audio files in non-proprietary formats. Wave files are currently the Digital Conservancy recommended standard. If you have questions about converting audio formats to another please contact the Digital Conservancy.

Format Extension Support Level
MPEG audio .mp3 Limited
Real Audio .ra, .rm, .ram Limited
Wave .wav Full
Windows Media Audio .wma Limited

Video file formats

Best practice guidelines: There are currently no well defined standards for preserving video files. The Digital Conservancy will closely monitor developments in this area and update policies accordingly. In general avoid proprietary and compressed file formats.

Format Extension Support Level
AVI .avi Limited
MPEG-1 .mp1 Limited
MPEG-2 .mp2 Limited
MPEG-4 .mp4 Limited
QuickTime .mov Limited
Windows Media Video .wmv Limited

Withdrawal Policy

Content submission to the University Digital Conservancy is permanent. Under certain circumstances an item in the Digital Conservancy may be removed from view (e.g. due to a violation of University Digital Conservancy deposit agreement). In order to retain the historical record, upon an item's removal the following statement is displayed:

"Item Withdrawn. The item you are trying to access has been withdrawn from the University Digital Conservancy. If you have any questions, please contact Digital Conservancy staff."

The following are University of Minnesota Policies that may be related to submitting content to the Digital Conservancy.