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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ExploreCU Contributor's Guide: Formatting

Information on how to submit content for use in ExploreCU


Suggested length of narrative: 400-700 words

Suggested length of photo captions: 100 words. Be sure to include an citation for your photo.

Suggested (free) text editing software: Text Wrangler for Mac & Notepad ++ for Windows/Linux. Plain text is required; any formatting from Word will not be   included, such as paragraph indents and italics. 

The following punctuation characters cause errors in the ExploreCU software, and should be avoided: 

  • Smart, or "curly" quotes
  • Smart, or "curly" apostrophes
  • Em dashes
  • En dashes
  • Square brackets


Required File Format: MP4 file format, M4V file extension, H.264 video encoding, Dual track audio encoding: AAC (core audio) and AC3 (ffmpeg)

Suggested video encoding tools: Handbrake

Suggested target size for mobile streaming: 5MB maximum, 500Kbps maximum bitrate

If you're using Handbrake, this page on setting project presets may help. 


File Format:  MP3

Suggested File Size: 1-2MB

Suggested (free) editing software:  Audacity 



Suggested number of images per story:  2-8  

Required File Format: JPEG or PNG

Suggested File Size:  40Kb to 200Kb  

Target Dimensions: 1000 pixels on the longest size

Other image guidelines:

  • All images must have a caption explaining what the image is and how it relates to the rest of the story.
  • Please name your image files akin to the following example: sitename-source-imagetitle.jpg
  • All images must have a cited source.  

Use the library's visual resources portal to help find free image editors if needed.