Indiana State University Sycamore Scholars

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Frequently Asked Questions

About Sycamore Scholars

Contributing to Sycamore Scholars



About Sycamore Scholars

What is Sycamore Scholars?
Sycamore Scholars is a digital archive of scholarly works created by students, staff, and faculty at Indiana State University. Sycamore Scholars began as a means to enable ISU graduate students to submit their theses and dissertations electronically, but the repository can include journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, working papers, data sets, tutorials, music, photographs, and other digital items.

Items in Sycamore Scholars are freely available via the Web and are indexed by and accessible through Web search engines. Unlike most web sites, files within Sycamore Scholars are maintained for the long term. Items in Sycamore Scholars are assigned a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), similar to a URL, but more permanent. Also, ISU and DSpace are committed to making items accessible far into the future.

What software is used for Sycamore Scholars?
Sycamore Scholars uses DSpace software, which was developed jointly by MIT and Hewlett-Packard and is now freely available as open-source software. DSpace provides tools for submitting, reviewing, indexing, searching, and archiving items in many different digital formats.

Do other universities have repositories like Sycamore Scholars?
Listed below are just a few of the universities that have established repositories using DSpace:

Who manages Sycamore Scholars? The Indiana State Sycamore Scholars is a digital project of Cunningham Memorial Library. Sycamore Scholars is developed and maintained by ISU Digital Repository Committee.

How do I find scholarly works deposited in Sycamore Scholars?
You can search Sycamore Scholars by keyword or browse through Communities or Collections by title, author, or date. Instructions on using the search function are available by clicking on the Help link from any page. Items in Sycamore Scholars will also be indexed by popular web search engines.

Contributing to Sycamore Scholars

Who can add content to Sycamore Scholars?
Any ISU faculty member or researcher,student, and staff can add content to Sycamore Scholars. Content must be added to a community that exists, or into a new community. Departments, Labs, Centers and other ISU units can also establish communities in DSpace. See What is a Sycamore Scholars Community for more information.

What kind of content can I add to Sycamore Scholars?
Sycamore Scholars accepts all manner of digital formats. Here are some examples:

  • Documents, such as articles, preprints, working papers, technical reports, or conference presentations
  • Books
  • Theses
  • Data sets
  • Artifacts
  • Artifacts
  • Maps
  • Specimens
  • Images
  • Audio files
  • Video files
  • Leture Notes

What kind of file formats can I add to Sycamore Scholars?
Sycamore Scholars accepts many kinds of digital formats. For more information about file formats, see Sycamore Scholars Supported Formats on .

How can I deposit my work into Sycamore Scholars?
Before you can submit items, a "collection" needs to be established to receive your work. Please contact Kayla Siddell, Special Collections, Cunningham Memorial Library, 6 1/2 Street, Terre Haute, IN 47809, 812-237-3052, Contact us. Members of Digital Repository Committee are available to meet with your department to demonstrate Sycamore Scholars and discuss it's benefits.

After a collection is set up, you can go to Sycamore Scholars register first,then log in and submit to your collection. Adding items is a simple, online, fill-in-the-blanks process. Items you submit are reviewed and optimized for discoverability before being archived in Sycamore Scholars.

Can I deposit an article that has been published in a journal?
Probably. Even if you transferred copyright to the publisher, most publishers allow you to deposit a copy of the article in a repository such as Sycamore Scholars. Many publishers stipulate that you must use your reviewed, revised manuscript and not the formatted version that appeared in the journal. When you submit your work to Sycamore Scholars, the library will verify the publisher's policy and contact you if there are any questions.

I'm an ISU alum. How can I get my thesis added to Sycamore Scholars?
If you are a recent ISU graduate and have access to the file that your paper thesis was printed from, you can convert this file to PDF and send it to the ISU library to add to Sycamore Scholars.

You may also request that the ISU library scan your thesis and add it to Sycamore Scholars. Scanning of paper theses is completed on a cost recovery basis.

What if I have a co-author who isn't affiliated with ISU? Can I still deposit the work?
As long as your co-author does not object to depositing the work in the Sycamore Scholars, only one author needs to be affiliated with ISU. It is also acceptable to deposit a work into more than one institutional repository. For example, you could deposit the work in the Indiana State Sycamore Scholars and your co-author could deposit it into his or her institutional repository.

I have only print copies of my articles. How can I add them to Sycamore Scholars?
Print materials can be scanned and the files submitted to Sycamore Scholars.


What is a Deposit License in Sycamore Scholars?
When you submit content to Sycamore Scholars, you click through a Deposit License. This is a contract between you and ISU, allowing ISU to distribute and preserve your work. No copyright transfer is involved.

See the Copyright and publication for more information.

What rights do I give up when I deposit a work into Sycamore Scholars?
You do not give up your copyright or any other rights when you place an item in Sycamore Scholars. The Deposit licensing agreement for Sycamore Scholars asks only for non-exclusive rights to s tore your work, preserve it, and make it available on the web. "Non-exclusive" means that you retain all rights to your work and can sign agreements with other organizations to publish your work.

What copyright do I own?
All work set down in a tangible form is automatically protected by U.S. Copyright Law. When you distribute a previously unpublished work in Sycamore Scholars, that work is immediately covered by copyright. Copyright restricts the use of works by others unless the user explicitly asks for permission to use your content.

If your work has previously been published, you may no longer hold the copyright to your work and may therefore have limited options regarding electronic distribution of that work. Publishers’ policies differ on this point. Some publishers do allow re-distribution via digital repositories.

Do I retain the copyright to my work in Sycamore Scholars?
Yes, Sycamore Scholars does not require you to give your copyright, as some publishers do. We only require that you agree to the Sycamore Scholars Deposit License.


How does Sycamore Scholars preserve digital material?
Sycamore Scholars identifies two levels of digital preservation: bit preservation, and functional preservation. Bit preservation ensures that a file remains exactly the same over time – not a single bit is changed – while the physical media evolve around it. Functional preservation goes further: the file does change over time so that the material continues to be immediately usable in the same way it was originally while the digital formats (and the physical media) evolve over time. Some file formats can be functionally preserved using straightforward format migration (e.g., TIFF images or XML documents). Other formats are proprietary, or for other reasons are much harder to preserve functionally.

At ISU, for the time being, we acknowledge the fact we cannot predict or control the formats in which faculty and researchers create their research materials. Faculty use the tools that are best for their purposes, and we will get whatever formats those tools produce. Because of this we’ve defined three levels of preservation for a given format: supported, known, or unsupported.

  • Supported formats will be functionally preserved using either format migration or emulation techniques.
  • Known formats are those that we can’t promise to preserve (e.g., proprietary or binary formats) but which are so popular that we believe third party migration tools will emerge to help with format migration.
  • Unsupported formats are those that we don’t know enough about to do any sort of functional preservation.
For all three levels we will do bit-level preservation so that “digital archaeologists” of the future will have the raw material to work with if the material proves to be worth that effort.

What sort of persistent identifiers does Sycamore Scholars use?
Sycamore Scholars uses the Handle System from CNRI to assign and resolve persistent identifiers for each and every digital item. Handles are URN-compliant identifiers, and the Handle resolver is an open-source system which is used in conjunction with the Sycamore Scholars system.

Handles were chosen in preference to persistent URLs because of the desire to support citations to items in Sycamore Scholars over very long time spans – longer than we believe the HTTP protocol will last. Handles in Sycamore Scholars are currently implemented as URLs, but can also be modified to work with future protocols.


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