Skip to Main Content

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.

Introduction and Purpose

Preservation, as it applies to library and archives material, can be defined as: "all managerial and financial considerations including storage and accommodation, provision, staffing levels, policies, techniques and methods involved in preserving library and archive materials and the information contained therein." (Mirjam M. Foot, 'Building Blocks for a Preservation Policy.' London: The National Preservation Office, 2001).

Within the context of an institutional repository, these combined activities allow the University to better ensure access to digital scholarly content for as long as possible by whoever needs it. Committed to building collections of digital resources and maintaining them for use by students, faculty, scholars, and the public long into the future, the University of Illinois assumes a long term stewardship obligation for the content within the institutional repository, the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS).

The IDEALS Digital Preservation Policy outlines this program's plan to support sustainable access to deposited content for the foreseeable future. This policy is subject to change as new and emerging technologies impact our ability to preserve deposited content. However, the development of a reliable digital archive that adheres to and remains compliant with changing standards and best practices remains the best opportunity for IDEALS' success as a repository for the research and scholarship of the University of Illinois.


The IDEALS mandate for ensuring the preservation of deposited digital content stems from three primary areas of responsibility:

  • Preservation of Institutional Scholarship: As an institution of higher education, the University of Illinois is obligated to support scholarship, teaching, and learning. As a repository for locally produced digital research and scholarship, IDEALS responsibilities include the identification, stewardship, and preservation of deposited content.
  • Contractual and Legal Obligation: To the extent that deposited content requires persistent, contractually mandated legally-binding access, IDEALS is mandated to preserve the content.
  • Organizational Commitment: The IDEALS partnership and funding is predicated upon the institution's obligation and commitment to developing a repository that provides access and preserves locally developed digital research and scholarship


IDEALS' objectives are to collect, preserve, and maintain access to significant components of the University's scholarly and research output. It is responsible for preserving, managing, and providing access to locally developed and deposited digital research and scholarship. In particular, it is responsible for finished research and scholarly content and associated supporting documentation and data.

IDEALS shall:

  • Provide or participate in a reliable preservation environment for digital research and scholarship developed at the University of Illinois.
  • Provide reliable and consistent access to all digital research and scholarship entrusted into its service.
  • Build a trusted service for scholars at the University of Illinois.

Operating Principles

The IDEALS initiative shall adhere to the following operating principles:

  • IDEALS strives to comply with the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model standard.
  • IDEALS strives to comply or to participate in a repository infrastructure that complies with the general requirements for a Trusted Digital Repository.
  • IDEALS adheres to prevailing community standards for preserving access to digital content whenever possible.
  • IDEALS participates in the development and implementation of standards.
  • IDEALS commits to an interoperable, scalable digital archive with appropriate storage management for content.
  • IDEALS policies, procedures, and practices are clearly documented and consistent.
  • IDEALS maintains hardware, software, and storage media containing archival content in keeping with prevailing best practices.
  • IDEALS establishes procedures to meet archival requirements pertaining to provenance, chain of custody, authenticity, and integrity.
  • IDEALS complies with intellectual property, copyright, and ownership rights for all content.

Roles and Responsibilities

Libraries and archives have long been entrusted with ensuring access to scholarly content. As a joint program operated between the University Library, the Office of the CIO, and CITES on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, the IDEALS initiative seeks to bridge two very different operational models. Yet, the primary objective remains the same - to preserve and provide access to digital research and scholarship.

Both the University Library and Office of the CIO assume joint responsibility for the long-term preservation of and access to deposited content. The IDEALS initiative is also committed to collaborating with other institutions and organizations to further technological and operational research to better serve the collective desire to digital content.

Selection and Acquisition

The collection will focus on deposits of digital research and scholarship by faculty, students and staff of the University of Illinois. Contributors may include non-affiliated scholars if they are co-authoring with University of Illinois authors or are affiliated closely with the University, e.g., are emeritus professors, Survey personnel, or hold honorary appointments. See the IDEALS Collection policy for more information.

Preservation Strategies

Digital preservation management activities in the IDEALS initiative include:

  • Development and maintenance of reliable options for the ingest of new materials into the repository, based on community standards or best practices; and
  • Provision of reliable data management services for timely access to deposited content.

In addition to its own internal digital preservation measures, IDEALS works with the UIUC Library's Medusa digital preservation service, to include:

  • Development and maintenance of secure, geographically replicated archival storage for deposited content;
  • Conducting IDEALS management and administrative activities in such a manner as to further the program's mission of preserving deposited content;
  • Monitoring and remaining active in community preservation activities, best practices and standards; and
  • Developing local preservation planning activities that will anticipate and respond to changes in the preservation environment (e.g. format migration or emulation strategies).


By default all materials deposited into IDEALS are available to any user with internet access. However in some cases, access restrictions may be necessary to comply with intellectual property or copyright agreements (i.e. publisher embargoes). The expectation is that materials accepted for deposit will be renderable (i.e. human viewable) according to the limitations and opportunities of current technologies deployed by IDEALS. This means there may be some format types (usually obsolete or obscure) that will not be fully renderable and when this is the case, IDEALS will make such limitations known in advance whenever possible. Use of materials is limited by whatever copyright notice has been provided. In most cases, authors reserve all rights and material can only be used under fair use provisions. See the Access and Use Policy for more information.


  • Technological Change: Developing a sustainable digital preservation model that will respond to technological changes as needed without under- or overestimating the needs imposed by these changes.
  • Creation of a Development Environment: Developing an OAIS compliant model requires a preservation planning environment that will permit program personnel to experiment with technological and procedural changes without risk of damaging deposited content.
  • Sustainability: Developing a sustainable model that will deal with the technical and management challenges of preserving born-digital content within the constraints of available funding.
  • Full Engagement in Preservation: Providing a thoughtful balance between access and preservation while being mindful of preservation's core role in maintaining access.
  • Sustaining the Relationship between the University Library, the Office of the CIO, and CITES: Maintaining IDEALS is the joint responsibility of the University Library and CITES. Defining, developing, and sustaining this unique relationship between the Library and CITES will ensure this program's long term stability and success.
  • Ongoing Monitoring of Submitted Material Types and Formats: As different type of materials are submitted (data sets, complex information objects), monitoring different needs (storage size, metadata, etc) of the materials and maintaining procedures and policies (i.e. Format Support Policy) based on these needs is necessary.