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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.

General Deposit Guidelines

  • The work must be wholly or in part produced or sponsored by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty, researchers, staff, or students. Undergraduate students may submit work to IDEALS only under the sponsorship of a faculty member.
  • The work must be scholarly, research oriented, educational, creative, or generally reflect the intellectual environment of the campus as defined in the IDEALS Collection Policy.
  • The work must be in digital form. We have a guide to the best formats for digital preservation under File Format Recommendations.
  • Deposits are intended to be permanent contributions to the repository; therefore, a work should be complete and ready for dissemination. However, we highly encourage deposit of works that may be published in another format at a future date (for example, preprints and working papers).
  • The author/copyright owner should be willing and able to grant the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign the right to preserve and distribute the work via IDEALS. The author/copyright owner retains copyright for all works submitted. See the Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy and the Deposit Agreement for more information.
  • If the work is part of a University series (such as discussion papers or technical reports), we encourage the submission of other digital works in that series so that IDEALS can offer as full a set as possible.

Submitting published or to-be-published items

IDEALS actively encourages the submission of items that have been submitted for publication, accepted for publication, or published, as long as copyright allows deposit into an institutional repository.

Copyright on works that have been published is typically transferred from the author to publisher. Many publishers allow authors to deposit their work into institutional repositories (which would include IDEALS). The SHERPA/RoMEO list of publisher copyright policies and self-archiving is a good place to start to determine whether your publisher allows deposit into an institutional repository. We encourage authors to negotiate for the retention of some specific rights from the publisher including:

  • the right to use copies in their classroom
  • the right to distribute copies to colleagues
  • the right to make derivative works (for example, using a conference paper as the basis for a fuller journal article), and
  • the right to deposit an archival copy of the final published version into the campus institutional repository, IDEALS.

Scholarly Communication and Publishing offers more information on author rights.

If you have already transferred copyright to the publisher, you can take the following steps to see whether you can deposit the item into IDEALS:

  • Check the original copyright agreement, if you have it, to see whether there is language that specifies that you may make your work available via an institutional repository or a website maintained by your employer. Often this means that you can deposit into IDEALS; however, if you have any doubts, please contact your publisher with questions.
  • Use the SHERPA/RoMEO list of publisher copyright policies and self-archiving to search for the journal title or publisher if you do not have access to the copyright transfer agreement. The SHERPA/RoMEO database provides information about whether publisher allows 'self-archiving', that is, posting the paper on the author's web page, in an institutional repository such as IDEALS, or into a disciplinary repository like arXiv. The SHERPA/RoMEO database is an excellent place to start, but, whenever possible, authors should double check the policy with their publisher (either directly or through looking at the policy on the publisher's web site).
  • Contact IDEALS staff at for assistance. If you do not have access to the copyright agreement and cannot find the publisher in the SHERPA/RoMEO database, IDEALS staff can work with you to contact the publisher directly.
  • Once you have determined that you can deposit the item into IDEALS, you should determine whether you can deposit the published version (i.e. with the publisher's formatting, page numbers, etc) or whether you need to deposit the final manuscript version. Again, this information can generally be found in the SHERPA/RoMEO list of publisher copyright policies and self-archiving. At the same time you should determine what other information needs to be included. Many publishers require that you include a full citation to the published version somewhere in the descriptive information (metadata) about the item and a copyright acknowledgment. Final manuscripts often have to include a citation and copyright acknowledgment on the first page of the item itself.

See the IDEALS Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy for more information, or contact IDEALS staff at with any questions.

File Format Recommendations

IDEALS will accept your research no matter the file format. However, as you prepare it for submission to IDEALS, please keep in mind the following file format preferences. These recommendations are intended to complement the Digital Preservation Support Policy.

IDEALS ranks file formats based on how "preservable" we feel they are, and how comfortable we are with maintaining each format. In particular, we are looking for all the following in formats ranked with the Highest Preference:

  • Is openly documented;
  • Is supported by a range of software platforms;
  • Is widely adopted;
  • Uses lossless data compression (or no compression); and
  • Doesn't contains embedded files or embedded programs/scripts.

Many proprietary formats (e.g. Microsoft Office formats) are not openly documented or viewable using third-party or free software. Based on this, most proprietary formats often are limited to Moderate Preference at best. For more information on our ranking criteria, see our Digital Preservation Support Policy.

  • Textual Formats (including Office/Presentation Formats):

    1. Highest Preference (Category 1) - Comma-Separated values (.csv), Plain Text (.txt), XML (.xml), XHTML (.html), Formats

    2. Moderate Preference (Category 2) - Rich Text (.rtf), HTML (.htm, .html), Microsoft Word (.doc), Microsoft Excel (.xls), Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt), Acrobat PDF (.pdf), Postscript (.ps)

  • Image Formats

    1. Highest Preference (Category 1) - TIFF (.tif, .tiff), JPEG 2000 (.jp2)

    2. Moderate Preference (Category 2) - GIF (.gif), PNG (.png), JPEG (.jpg)

  • Audio Formats

    1. Highest Preference (Category 1) - AIFF (.aif), FLAC (.fla), Ogg Vorbis (.ogg), Wave (.wav)

    2. Moderate Preference (Category 2) - AAC (.aac), MP3 (.mp3), Real Audio (.ram), Windows Media Audio (.wma)

  • Video Formats

    1. Highest Preference (Category 1) - AVI (.avi), Motion JPEG 2000 (.mj2, .mjp2)

    2. Moderate Preference (Category 2) - MPEG-2 Video (.mp2), MPEG-4 Video (.mp4), Windows Media Video (.wmv), Quicktime (.mov)