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Programs

Preserving research and scholarship

December 3, 2010

One of the advantages of living in the digital age is our ability to capture information at an accelerated pace and share it with greater ease. Universities currently have an unprecedented opportunity to make their intellectual wealth accessible to interested readers at any time of day or night via the Internet.

Going Digital
in 2009, the Libraries’ staff and students created more than 39,000 digital images from multiple formats. These include more than 23,000 water-related digital images, more than 7,600 university Historic Photograph Collection digital images, and more than 2,500 Colorado Agriculture Bibliography-related digital images. Materials from Archives and special Collections, university publications, and university theses and dissertations, were among the items digitized.

Faculty, students, researchers, and academic staff of Colorado State University are now showcasing their research, scholarship, and creative works in the CSU Digital Repository, a campus service implemented by the University Libraries.

Almost 18,000 digital objects

The CSU Digital Repository is an openly accessible database designed to store, index, distribute, promote, and preserve the institution’s scholarly record for long-term use. Established in 2007 to support the University’s strategic plan for research and discovery, it now contains a collection of almost 18,000 digital objects. They include, but are not limited to: theses and dissertations; faculty journal articles and book chapters; award-winning student research projects; department and unit publications such as the Atmospheric Science "Bluebooks" and technical bulletins of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station; datasets; and video.

Primary resource materials to support research, teaching, and scholarship, and selected materials from University Archives that document institutional history are also found in the repository.

The Benefits

Specific benefits of the repository to individual depositors include:

  • Visibility: The CSU Digital Repository maximizes dissemination and impact of faculty and student research. The descriptive information about deposited works is indexed and crawled by Google and other search engines.
  • Citation impact: Researchers want their work to be read and analyzed by others, and they want their peers to add to it, build upon it, and credit it. Studies have shown that scholarly papers that are openly accessible in a digital repository are read more widely and thus cited more frequently than those not housed in repositories.
  • Preservation: The Libraries is committed to doing everything reasonably possible to provide sustained and reliable access to deposited content for the forseeable future.
  • Persistence: The CSU Digital Repository provides permanent URLs to digital research that will not move or break.
  • Digital publishing: The repository provides an alternate publishing platform that allows wider distribution and greater control of scholarly content. A work on a specialized topic that may not be viable as a commercial publication can be disseminated to interested readers everywhere.
  • Copyright control: In some cases, a depositor may retain control and ownership of research and creative works. Even if a work has already been published, many publishers will allow deposit of a version or versions. Because control of intellectual property has specific legal implications, every situation is unique.

In addition, the CSU Digital Repository makes it possible for authors to capture and share those materials that are not, for whatever reason, destined for publication. This includes many great pieces of unpublished scholarship and artistic endeavor produced at the University, such as conference presentations, exhibitions, working papers, technical reports, and other examples of "gray" literature.

So, what’s in the Digital Repository?

A selection of noteworthy materials archived and preserved includes:

Research of distinguished professors Holmes Rolston III (Philosophy) and Temple Grandin (Animal Sciences) - Dr. Rolston, a recipient of the Templeton Prize and numerous other awards, is best known for his contributions to the fields of environmental ethics and science and religion. He is the author of six critically acclaimed books, chapters in 80 other books, more than 100 journal articles, and two dozen articles in encyclopedias and companions. Dr. Grandin, a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, is a prominent author and speaker on the topics of animal welfare and autism. She has built a successful career as a livestock-handling equipment designer and consultant in animal behavior to the livestock industry. The Libraries is currently working to archive as much of their research as allowed by copyright in the digital repository.

Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) - The repository contains 195 current and legacy theses and dissertations completed between 1921 and 2010. The collection is expected to grow markedly this spring, as students may now choose to submit either a print or electronic copy of their work before they graduate. Within a year or two, the Libraries will be accepting only electronic copies only save the handling and storage costs associated with paper copies.

Water Resources Archive Collections - The Colorado State University Water Resources Archive, a joint effort of the University Libraries and the Colorado Water Institute, consists of collections of individuals and organizations that have been instrumental in the development of water resources in Colorado and the West.  The repository contains a selection of the numerous item types found within these collections, including reports, meeting minutes, correspondence, maps, and photographs.

Journal of Student Affairs and Furthering Perspectives: Anthropological Views of the World - Current issues of these two journals, published by the Student Affairs in Higher Education Program and the Anthropology Graduate Student Society respectively, are now deposited in the the CSU Digital Repository and available free to readers worldwide.  The Libraries digitized past issues of the Journal so that all could be archived in and accessed from one central place.  

The Future

The repository benefits the University and those outside of the campus community also. Additionally, it provides:

  • Increased visibility of Colorado State University (locally, nationally, and internationally).
  • Enhanced access to rare or unique materials for all, including remote users.
  • Expanded ability of government agencies (e.g., the National Institutes of Health) and other funding bodies to track and evaluate research outputs and increase their returns on investment.

The role of academic libraries is shifting from one of a body that takes information external to the institution and makes it available internally to its members, to a body that disseminates information created by the institution to the world beyond. It is with gratitude that we recognize our "donors" to the CSU Digital Repository who realize its possibilities and wish to ensure the long-term preservation of vital academic results.

Originally published in the University Libraries Stay Connected newsletter, Winter 2010.


Contact: Jane Barber
E-mail: Jane.Barber@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-5712