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Digital Research Archive: Collection Guidelines

The AU Digital Research Archive (AUDRA) is comprised of a hierarchical system of collections and sub-collections that encompass the University’s Special Collections and Institutional Repository. The collections included in the American University Digital Research Archive- Institutional Repository (AUDRA-IR) are: Faculty Research; Student Research; University Library Collections; Academic Unit Collections; and Course Syllabi.

There is no distinct model of how an AUDRA-IR collection will be organized or managed. A school or college may have its own sub-collection coordinator who will establish and manage local collections. Or, a faculty member may work directly with the University Library AUDRA-IR Coordinator to establish an individual collection within the Faculty Research collection. However, everyone managing a collection must work in collaboration with the University Library AUDRA-IR Coordinator.

Graduate students will be given space for a collection of their academic work in the Student Research folder. Undergraduate student work is generally not included in AUDRA-IR unless sponsored by a faculty member and recognized for scholarly significance. Individuals or groups wishing to establish a collection in AUDRA-IR and whose work does not fit into a current collection will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The responsibilities of an AUDRA-IR Collection Coordinator include the following activities:

  • Work with University Library AUDRA-IR Coordinator to provide submitters with an orientation to the site

  • Create collections that fit within the established structure

  • Secure signed copies of the AUDRA-IR Non-Exclusive License for Authors/Content Creators and/or the AUDRA-IR Non-Exclusive License for Submitters and provide a copy of the signed agreement to the University Library AUDRA-IR 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

AUDRA-IR Contributors:

A contributor is any person who submits content to an AUDRA-IR collection. All contributors must be approved by a collection coordinator. Contributors submit to specific collections to which they have been given access. 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 AUDRA-IR Contributor include the following activities:

  • If an author/creator, sign and return a copy of the AUDRA-IR Non-Exclusive License for Authors

  • If a third party contributor, sign and return a copy of the AUDRA-IR Non-Exclusive License for Submitters

  • Determine copyright status of work. Work with the Collection Coordinator and/or University Library AUDRA-IR 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 AUDRA-IR content guidelines

An AUDRA-IR contributor retains the following rights:

  • Copyright for a work is retained by copyright holder and does not revert to American University and will be removed on request

  • Limit access to content at an item level to worldwide, 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, described on, 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 AUDRA-IR user community and server host, Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) headquarters.

  • Assist in resolution of copyright questions where appropriate

  • Provide general guidelines for metadata creation

  • Provide information on AUDRA-IR and other electronic scholarly communication research

The rights of the University Library include the following:

  • Redistribute or amend metadata for items in AUDRA-IR

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

  • Perform appraisal for long-term archiving when collections cease growing, user communities dissipate, 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” (below)

The responsibilities of WRLC include the following:

  • Retain and maintain content submitted to AUDRA-IR

  • Distribute content according to institution and community decisions

  • Preserve content using accepted preservation techniques

  • Notify AUDRA-IR coordinators of significant change to content, e.g. format migration

  • If WRLC ceases to support AUDRA-IR, they will transfer collections to individual institutions’ archives.

The rights of WRLC include:

  • Redistribute, sell or amend metadata for items in AUDRA

  • 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 collections cease growing, user communities dissipate, or within 30 years of the creation of a collection

  • 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 policy:

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 AUDRA-IR content:

  • The work must be produced, published, or sponsored by an AU faculty member or university unit.

  • The work must be a) educational or research oriented or b) official institutional records.

  • The work must not be ephemeral.

  • The work must be in digital form.

  • 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)).

  • The author/owner should be willing and able to grant AU the right to preserve and distribute the work via AUDRA-IR.

  • If the work is a part of a series, other works in that series should also be contributed so the repository can offer as full a set as possible.

AUDRA-IR 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