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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


This guide has information on how to deposit and access IDEALS materials for individuals and collection administrators.

Prepare to Submit

University of Illinois faculty, staff, and graduate students can deposit work in IDEALS. Undergraduate work may be submitted by a faculty member. If you are not affiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, you may submit work that was produced in affiliation with a program here, published through the University of Illinois, co-authored with an Illinois researcher, involved in inter-university research with Illinois, or affiliated with a conference held here. To do so, please contact and include contact information for your Illinois colleague.

Depositing or submitting an item into IDEALS is a multi-step process that, depending on the complexity of the item deposited, can take between five and ten minutes. At any point in the deposit process you can stop and IDEALS will automatically save your work. The data you have already entered will be stored until you come back to the deposit, and you will be reminded to resume your submission under your name on any IDEALS page. You can also cancel your deposit at any point.

To begin the deposit process, log in to IDEALS. Once logged in, you can start a new deposit by clicking "+ Submit an Item" next to the IDEALS logo. If you are viewing a collection and are authorized to submit to it, you may use the “Submit to this Collection” link on the right side of the screen.

Select a Collection

When you begin the submission process, you will first need to select the collection that you want to deposit into. All University of Illinois faculty, staff and graduate students are able to immediately submit their research to the Illinois Research and Scholarship (Open Unit) open collection, but check that there is not a more relevant collection before doing so.

You may be authorized to deposit items into another collection. If you would like to create an appropriate collection, contact to find out about getting your unit set up in IDEALS. If you can already access the collection you want to use, select it and click “Next” to proceed.

If you have clicked the “Submit to this Collection” link on a collection page, you will not need to select a collection; you will be directed immediately to the next page.

Deposit Agreement

IDEALS requires agreement to this non-exclusive distribution license before your item can appear in IDEALS. IDEALS does NOT require the transfer of copyright.

To grant the distribution license, you must have permission to do so. If you are unsure whether you may grant the license for a published work, see Submitting published or to-be-published items for some strategies on determining whether you may deposit it in IDEALS.

Please read the license carefully and refer to the IDEALS Copyright and Intellectual Property Policies. If you have any questions, please contact

Check "Yes" and click "Begin Submission" to proceed.

Choose Access and Privacy Settings

The Choose Access and Privacy Settings step allows you to restrict access to your submission if necessary. If you wish to allow open access to your submission, click "next". Providing open access does not affect copyright.

We recommend that you restrict access to your submission only when necessary (for example, if a publisher has an embargo period). Keep in mind that restricting access to your submission will block search engines (like Google) from indexing your content. This may also decrease the likelihood of your submission being cited. There are a few different ways you can limit access, detailed below. If you restrict access to an item, you are required to supply a reason. Dissertations and theses are restricted following the UIUC Thesis Office's policies.

  • You can make an item viewable to only University of Illinois users, either indefinitely (by leaving the Lift Date blank) or for a limited period of time.
  • If necessary, you can restrict all access to an item until a chosen date by choosing the Closed Access radio button. To restrict the descriptive information as well, check the box to “Hide records in search and browse.” You are not able to completely restrict access to items for an indefinite period of time without discussion with IDEALS staff; please see the Access Restrictions Policy.
  • To allow access to a specified group for a limited period of time, please contact an IDEALS staff member to create the group. This process can be expedited by preparing a list of NetIDs for the IDEALS staff. IDEALS staff can be reached at

Describe Your Item

The information you fill in on the next screen will form the metadata record that will enable users to retrieve your item using search engines. The more details in the metadata, the more ways a search will have to find your item. More information on the metadata requirements in IDEALS can be found on the Metadata Policy page as well as the Metadata Best Practices page.


Click “Choose File” and navigate to the file you want to choose.

IDEALS will accept any file format, although we offer differing levels of long term preservation support depending on the type of format added. For more information about file formats, see the IDEALS File Format Recommendations and the IDEALS Digital Preservation Support Policy.

If you are only uploading one file, click the "Next" button to proceed to the next screen.

Upload multiple files

You may wish to upload multiple files if:

  • the files are all related and make up a single research "item" (e.g. a PowerPoint presentation and the text of a talk given at a conference).
  • the files rely on each other to function properly or be understood (e.g. an XML document may rely on a particular DTD or Schema to validate and understand it)

You should not upload multiple files at once in cases similar to the following:

  • the files you are uploading have different authors, titles, or publication information
  • you want each of the files to have a different persistent link within IDEALS
  • you want to upload all of your research papers

In the latter cases, these are discrete items and each should go through its own deposit process.

If you are uploading a web page with images and other files, please see Preparation of web pages (HTML files) for submission into IDEALS for additional information.

For other material to upload multiple related files, simply click the "add another file" link. Again, browse to find the relevant file on your hard drive. You may also enter a brief description of the file in the "File Description" box, for example "Main article", or "Related data set" in order to help users distinguish between the different files. You may add as many files as are needed.

You will see that the first file that you added appears under a "Files Uploaded" heading. When you have uploaded all necessary files, click the "Next" button to proceed to the next screen.

Note that you can delete files that you have already added by clicking the check-box to the left of the file and then clicking the "remove selected files" button.

You can also edit the file description, restriction status, and file format, if this information is incorrect, by clicking the "edit" button on the right of the file.

If you edit any of this information, be sure to click "Save". You will be returned to the "Upload File" where you can either upload additional files or click the "Next" button to move to the next screen.

Submission Complete

Click "Complete Submission" to finish the submission process.

Now that your submission has been successfully entered into the IDEALS system, it will go through the workflow process designated for the collection to which you are submitting. Some collections require the submission to go through editing or review steps, while others may immediately accept the submission. You will receive email notification as soon as your item has become a part of the collection, or if for some reason there is a problem with your submission. If you have questions about the workflow procedures for a particular collection, please contact the unit responsible for the collection directly. You can check on the status of your submission by going to the My IDEALS page.

When your item becomes a part of the IDEALS repository it is assigned a persistent URL. This means that, unlike most URLs, this identifier will not have to be changed when the system migrates to new hardware, or when changes are made to the system. IDEALS is committed to maintaining the integrity of this identifier so that you can safely use it to refer to your item when citing it in publications or other communications. Our persistent URLs are registered with the Handle System, a comprehensive system for assigning, managing, and resolving persistent identifiers, known as "handles," for digital objects and other resources on the Internet. The Handle System is administered by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), which undertakes, fosters, and promotes research in the public interest.