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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Descriptive Metadata for Digitization Projects

This guide outlines metadata considerations for projects digitized in the Digitization Services unit.

Choosing an Access System for your Digitized Material

Digital Content Creation (DCC) deposits materials they have digitized into three access systems. IDEALS is the university's institutional repository which generally contains materials created by faculty, staff, and students at the University of Illinois, or published by the university. HathiTrust is an external repository that provides access to digitized books from institutions across the world. The library also supports our own Digital Library System which provides access to many digital resources including curated collections of library materials and archival collections. When digitizing materials through DCC, an access system must be chosen before the metadata for these materials can be organized. Below are some guidelines for deciding which system to choose.

Access Systems

The Digital Library System (DLS) supports access for many types of materials, including photographs, maps, posters, audio, and video collections. If your digitization project contains a curated collection of unique materials, the DLS would be a good fit. 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Digital Library

Once you've chosen the DLS as your access system, you will need to create metadata for your project. Learn more about DLS Metadata

The Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) is the institutional repository for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. IDEALS broadly collects research and scholarship created by faculty, researchers, staff, and students affiliated with the Urbana campus.

Please see the IDEALS wiki for the complete General Deposit Guidelines. If you have any questions about whether your materials are a good fit for IDEALS, please send an email to

Once you've chosen IDEALS as your access system, you will need to create metadata for your project. Learn more about IDEALS Metadata.  

Currently, HathiTrust accepts materials in book or journal form, as well as government documents. HathiTrust only provides access to materials in the public domain, published prior to 1923. If your materials fit these categories, and the print copy has a record in the catalog, they are a likely fit to be ingested into HathiTrust.

HathiTrust Digital Library