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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.

Depositing Works

Who can deposit works into IDEALS?

Faculty, staff, and graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign can deposit works directly into IDEALS. Undergraduate students wishing to deposit work into IDEALS must have the work deposited by a faculty member.


Do I need special software?

No, you can access IDEALS through any current Web browser.


Can researchers or students who are not at Illinois deposit material into IDEALS?

In general, no. However, if the researcher or student is affiliated with a program here (such as the Ethnography of the University Initiative), publishes in a journal, other publication, or conference held or issued through the University of Illinois (such as Library Trends), or co-authors a publication with a University of Illinois researcher (as is the case here), the material may be deposited into IDEALS. If the University of Illinois-affiliated contact cannot do the deposit, special arrangements will need to be made. In these cases, contact


Why should I deposit works in IDEALS?

  1. Dissemination: IDEALS provides high visibility and increased access to your research. The descriptive information about your deposited works will be made available to Google and Google Scholar, and other services. 
  2. Increased Impact and Citation of Your Research: Some studies have shown that research and scholarship openly available on the web have increased impact and higher citations than research and scholarship that is not. See this bibliography of studies on the impact of open access for more information.
  3. Persistence: IDEALS provides persistent, permanent URLs to your digital research.
  4. Full text searching: In many cases IDEALS provides full text searching of your research.
  5. Preservation: IDEALS makes a commitment to preserve your digital content for long term access and use.
  6. Control: When you deposit into IDEALS, you retain your copyright. Even if the work has already been published, many publishers will allow you to deposit your work into institutional repositories.
  7. Download Statistics: We offer download statistics for each item. We weed out web crawlers, mass downloaders, and other bots as much as possible, so that these downloads reflect 'real' downloads.

These are benefits to you as an individual scholar. In addition, IDEALS provides the University of Illinois with the infrastructure to collect, preserve, and manage access to this important part of the University's scholarly record, thus continuing the long term tradition of libraries and archives.


How is IDEALS different than posting research on my own web site?

IDEALS provides many benefits that are usually not available on your own web site. The submission process is straightforward and allows you to make your research available in just a few minutes. IDEALS provides full text indexing to many files containing text and makes the descriptive content available to Google Scholar and other repositories of scholarly material. IDEALS also provides you with a permanent and persistent URL to your submission that you can reliably cite without fear that it will go away. Once submitted to IDEALS your digital scholarship will be part of the University Library digital preservation program so that years from now, you and others can count on accessing and using your research. You submit the material and IDEALS takes care of the rest.


Can I still link to my papers from my own web site?

Yes, and we will provide you with a persistent URL for just that purpose. The persistent URL of an item will never change, and are generated using CNRI's Handle System. They often appear at the top of an item description page, and are similar to: IDEALS Project Charter.


How does this service differ from Box? Illinois Compass?

Box is an online service that allows University faculty, staff, and students to access their files from anywhere in the world. Box also allows you to share work in progress with collaborators. IDEALS is meant as a "final" resting place for your digital work. IDEALS preserves material for the long term and provides wide access to your research through systematic dissemination.

Canvas @ Illinois - UIUC is a learning management system that gives faculty, instructors, students, and others a collaborative online space with tools for managing and delivering course assignments, tracking and publishing grades, and keeping course material available to students outside the classroom walls. While some course materials may be added to IDEALS, these should be:

  1. a testament of a (at the time of contribution) novel pedagogic approach;
  2. learning objects intended for sharing with other instructors;
  3. a part of a corpus of a scholar's work, showing how the scholar's research manifests itself in teaching; or
  4. a part of a cross curriculum or community based project that may include student works with their permission.


Can I use IDEALS to publish an electronic journal?

You can use IDEALS to archive an electronic journal. It is not, however, meant to be an electronic journal publishing system and has no workflows for peer review, for example. However, if you are interested in publishing an electronic journal, please contact or the Library's Scholarly Commons at for possible resources.


How do I get started?

See Deposit an Item in IDEALS for instructions.