Upload to the University Digital Conservancy

Considerations before you deposit

Before you deposit your files in the Digital Conservancy, there are some important factors to consider.  Issues like publication, private information, and copyright concerns all need to be addressed before your deposit can go online.

Published works and the Digital Conservancy

If you have already published or are considering publishing your work in the future, be sure to consider the following:

  • For previously published works, the following tools can assist with understanding and responding to publisher copyright agreements:
    • The SHERPA/RoMEO Database provides summaries of permissions normally given to authors by academic and scholarly publishers to help you determine your works' copyright status.
    • Authors may also use the official U of M Author's Addendum [PDF] when negotiating with publishers to retain their copyrights when publishing.
    • Have you signed a copyright transfer agreement with a publisher? The University Open Access Policy (effective January 1, 2015) may apply and allow you to upload previously published content.
  • If you are considering publishing your work in the future, be aware that some commercial publishers prefer not to publish works that are already available in full online. However, if you expect you'll make significant revisions or edits to the work before commercial publication (as with revising a dissertation) this is often less of a concern.

Potentially sensitive information

All works accepted into our repositories are accessible to anyone with an internet connection, worldwide. It is important to understand that some sensitive or private information should not be made publicly available. Before submitting, you are responsible for meeting all relevant legal and ethical obligations.

  • You may need to obscure or anonymize private information about identifiable individuals, and remove data such as social security, health, or education records that are protected under specific privacy laws (U of M Data Security Policy) or through other non-disclosure agreements, before you upload your work to the Digital Conservancy.
  • Indirect identifiers are pieces of information that, when used in combination, might identify and provide private information about individuals. Indirect identifiers should be minimized as much as possible.
  • Some content may be culturally sensitive and not appropriate for sharing in a public setting.  For example, Indigenous cultural patrimony, knowledge, and data might only be appropriate to share within the community.
  • In some cases, information may be so sensitive that public sharing will simply not be a good option for your work, even with the information obscured.

Intellectual Property concerns

  • The author/original copyright owner retains copyright on all deposited works.
  • If information about patentable inventions is shared publicly before the inventor applies for a patent, the patent may be denied. The Office of Technology Commercialization can help you determine what you may need to do with regard to securing a patent.
  • If your work includes partnership with external organizations, please ensure that the contents of your work may be shared publicly and does not infringe on the intellectual property rights of the organization (trademark, copyright, trade secret, etc.).

Prepare your files

Choosing a file format

Deposits can be in any digital file format, but not all formats are created equal. Some formats are easier to share and preserve, and will receive additional preservation support after they are deposited. 

  • we recommend using PDF whenever possible, such as for textual documents, presentation slides, and conference posters
  • for spreadsheets, we recommend CSV

For more information on choosing a file format, see our preferred file format guidance or contact us using the email provided elsewhere on this page.

Naming your file

File names should be brief and descriptive, giving researchers a reminder of what they are looking at or downloading; many depositors choose to use a shortened version of the item's title.  Some items, like annual reports or newsletters, benefit from adding a date.  Remove any spaces and special characters.  Substitute underscores, dashes, or CamelCase to separate words.

File sizes

No single file submitted to the Digital Conservancy can exceed 5GB in size.  If your deposit is larger than 5 GB, contact us using the email provided elsewhere on this page.  Note that the larger the file, the longer it will take for you to upload and for future researchers to download.  If your file is quite large, consider compressing it to improve accessibility.

Making your files accessible

You can make your deposit easier to find and more accessible to a wide variety of audiences by ensuring your files meet accessibility guidelines.  Rich media (video and audio content) particularly benefit from having a textual transcript and/or caption files added to the deposit.  For more information on transcribing audio or captioning video, check out Accessible U.

Last Updated: May 21, 2024 8:37 AM