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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.

This page will help you prepare files for deposit into IDEALS. See also the General Deposit Guidelines for IDEALS for more information. Questions about these procedures may be directed to IDEALS staff at

General File Preparation

We recommend that depositors consider the following issues when preparing files for IDEALS:

Is the necessary information for a citation contained in the file?

Many text-based files, in particular, are downloaded directly from the results page of a search engine, and the downloader never sees the item page in IDEALS that contains the descriptive information. Depositors should try to ensure that publication information, for example, is contained within the file itself, either in the header or in the properties of the document itself. See Search and Discovery Across Collections: The IMLS Digital Collections and Content Project for an example of publication information embedded into the header.

Have you cleaned up the metadata in the file itself? 

Many files such as those in the Microsoft Office suite, PDFs, and image files, have properties that can be edited. It can be useful to review what information is included here - it can contain outdated or private information. This information is sometimes used by search engines and other systems for indexing of items, so we do recommend that you review this before depositing. Guides are available to changing metadata in Microsoft Office formats and PDFs.

What is the best format to provide content in? 

Outside of our file format recommendations (based on preservability), you should also consider how you want to present the content you are depositing and how others might want to make use of it. For example, for textual documents, many depositors prefer to deposit a PDF version that will present the content in the appropriate style and not allow alterations; however, for a research dataset, you may want to deposit a version of the data that a user could manipulate or load into a software program for analysis.

Depositing image based PDFs (generally scanned documents)

Many communities want to deposit scans of older technical reports, working papers, and other publications. These are generally deposited in the form of pdfs of scanned images (generally .jpg-based). Generally if these PDFs are of textual items, they will need to be run through an optical character recognition (OCR) system so that the text is searchable in IDEALS and can be indexed by search engines like Google. In addition, because these are larger files they also should be optimized for both accessibility and fast web viewing. There are many software packages that will do OCR; we generally use the Adobe Acrobat Professional or Abbyy Finereader software. Both are available in the University Library's Scholarly Commons.

If you do not have access to software to OCR and optimize your image based PDFs, please contact and we can make arrangements to do this for you or direct you to assistance on campus.

Preparation of web pages (HTML files) for submission into IDEALS

HTML files, particularly HTML files with linked content like images, cascading style sheets or other HTML files, need a little more preparation to deposit into IDEALS than a standalone document like a PDF file. Follow the tips below to make the process a little more straightforward.


Flatten directory structure and rename files

IDEALS can only accept a flat set of HTML and associated files (such as .css, .jpg, .gif). This means that if you have subdirectories, you will need to flatten them so that all files for the website are at the same level. For example, you will need to take:


and flatten the structure to:

researchindex.htm [Note renaming of file]
currentpapers.htm [Note renaming of file]
classes.htm [Note renaming of file]
currentclasses.htm [Note renaming of file]

Make sure you change all of the links within each of these pages so that they point to the correct file.

Ideally, file names should not have spaces in them. For example:

about research.html

should be renamed as




While most current web browsers can cope with spaces in file names, they can cause problems in certain systems and will cause broken links.


Use relative links when linking within your website. Absolute links will break. For example, instead of using:

<a href="">Frequently Asked Questions</a>


<a href="FAQ.htm">Frequently Asked Questions</a>

Links to external pages will still need to be absolute links.


Uploading to IDEALS

When uploading a website or set of linked web pages into IDEALS, you will be uploading all of the files within the same deposit session. Once you've uploaded the first file, you'll get to the verification screen. To add the next file, click on the "Upload file & add more" button.

You will have to upload each file individually. Once you upload a second file, you'll see a column with radio buttons that reads "Default File to Display." Choose the default file to display; typically this will be the


Once you have uploaded all of the related files, you can go to the next screen where you'll be able to confirm your deposit. If the upload doesn't work the way you expected, please contact IDEALS staff at

See Data and Procedures - Twenty-five year study of populations of the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) and the meadow vole (M. pennsylvanicus) for an example of a website (with about 150 files) that has been loaded into IDEALS.