Mission Statement

The Digitization and Digital Preservation (DnD) department’s mission is to safeguard and advance the acquisition of knowledge by collecting, preserving, and providing access to digital content that embodies the intellectual, cultural, and historical heritage of the university and its community.

DnD’s primary objective is to build and maintain a Trustworthy Digital Repository that serves as a trusted resource for students, faculty, researchers, and the wider public. We are dedicated to the preservation, curation, and dissemination of diverse digital materials, including scholarly publications, research data, multimedia resources, and unique cultural artifacts.

Through our commitment to ethical stewardship, technological innovation, and collaborative partnerships with both internal and external stakeholders, we aim to

  1. Preserve for future generations: We employ state-of-the-art digital preservation strategies, adhering to the NDSA levels of preservation including maintaining multiple preservation backups in geographically diverse locations, file migration, and emulation techniques, to ensure the long-term accessibility and viability of the digital collections. We remain vigilant in monitoring technological advancements and evolving standards to adapt our preservation practices accordingly.
  2. Promote ethical and inclusive practices: We are committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work. We actively seek out underrepresented voices and marginalized communities, both in the acquisition of digital materials and in providing access to our collections. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment that respects diverse perspectives and fosters ethical engagement with the digital collections.
  3. Collect and curate: We strive to identify, acquire, digitize, and preserve born digital and digitized materials of enduring value that exemplify the rich tapestry of knowledge and creativity produced within the university community. We employ best practices and standards to ensure the integrity, authenticity, and accessibility of the digital collections we curate.
  4. Enable discovery and access: We facilitate the discovery and retrieval of digital resources by implementing robust search and discovery tools, metadata standards, and user-friendly interfaces. We prioritize open access principles to maximize the impact and reach of our digital collections, while adhering to intellectual property rights and privacy concerns.
  5. Foster collaboration and engagement: We actively collaborate with academic departments, research centers, and community organizations to promote interdisciplinary research, teaching, and learning to foster a deeper understanding of our shared heritage.

We aim to empower scholars, students, and the public with the tools and resources they need to engage in transformative research, critical inquiry, and lifelong learning. By preserving and disseminating knowledge, we aspire to contribute to the advancement of scholarship, intellectual exploration, and the broader social good.

Policies and Procedures

  1. Collection Development Policy: 1.1. The Digitization and Digital Preservation department will focus on preserving digital materials that have enduring research, historical, or cultural value to the university community. 1.2. Collection priorities will be determined based on scholarly significance, relevance to university programs and initiatives, and the availability of resources for acquisition, preservation, and access. 1.3. The department will adhere to legal and ethical considerations when acquiring materials with respect to the donor's copyright and intellectual property rights. 1.4. Universal access will be provided to all collections not hampered by copywrite and intellectual property limitations, ethical concerns, or institutional privacy requirements.
  2. Acquisition Procedures: 2.1. The department will actively solicit and accept born digital materials and material to be digitized from university faculty, staff, and departments, as well as external organizations and individuals, through a defined submission process. 2.2. Acquisition decisions will be based on the material's alignment with the Collection Development Policy, its scholarly or historical value, and its technical feasibility for long-term preservation and access. 2.3. Any external acquisitions will require a deed of gift clarifying ownership over the material.
  3. Formats and File Types: DnD will accept the following formats and file types for digital materials:
  • Preferred Textual Documents: PDF, EPUB, TXT
    • Acceptable Textual Documents: DOCX, RTF, HTML, XML
  • Preferred Images: TIFF, JPEG2000
    • Acceptable Images: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, SVG
  • Preferred Audio: WAV
    • Acceptable Audio: MP3, FLAC, AIFF
  • Preferred Video: MOV, MKV, MPEG-2
    • Acceptable Video: MP4, AVI, WMV
  • Preferred Databases: CSV, XLSX,
    • Acceptable Databases: SQL, ZIP, RAR, TAR, 7z
  • Research Data: Raw data files, spreadsheets, code repositories, metadata files (in appropriate standards)
  • Preferred Websites: WARC

Note: DnD will periodically review and update the list of acceptable formats to ensure compatibility with evolving technology and preservation standards. Formats not listed above will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Metadata Standards: 4.1. DnD will provide limited metadata that adhere to established metadata standards and best practices for describing and cataloging digital materials, ensuring discoverability, accessibility, and interoperability. 4.2. Metadata will include essential information such as title, creator, date, subject, description, and rights management.
  2. Preservation Procedures: 5.1. DnD will employ a combination of strategies, including multiple geographically separate storage platforms, migration, emulation, and fixity checks, to ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of digital materials. 5.2. Regular monitoring and periodic refreshment of storage media will be done to mitigate data loss due to media degradation.
  3. Access and Copyright: 6.1. DnD will provide open access to digital materials whenever possible, while respecting intellectual property rights, privacy concerns, and licensing agreements. 6.2. Access restrictions may be applied to specific materials based on legal requirements, donor agreements, or privacy considerations. 6.3. Users will be provided with clear guidelines on the appropriate use of digital materials, including citation practices, copyright compliance, and fair use policies.
  4. Collaboration and Outreach: 7.1. DnD will actively seek collaboration opportunities with academic departments, research centers, libraries, and external organizations to enhance the scope and impact of the digital collections.
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation: 8.1. DnD will regularly assess the effectiveness of its policies, procedures, and services to ensure compliance with evolving best practices, technological advancements, and user needs and provide updates when necessary. 8.2. User feedback and usage statistics will be collected and analyzed to inform decision-making and improve the quality of services.

These policies and procedures will guide the operations of the Digitization and Digital Preservation department, ensuring the responsible acquisition, preservation, and access to digital material.

Collection Scope

The Digitization and Digital Preservation department has outlined a comprehensive collection scope for acquiring and preserving digital materials that align with the mission and goals of UAB and UAB Libraries. The collection scope encompasses the following criteria:

  1. Scholarly Relevance:
  • DnD will prioritize acquiring digital materials that have direct scholarly relevance to the academic programs, research interests, and teaching mission of the university.
  • Materials should support the advancement of knowledge, facilitate interdisciplinary research, and contribute to the intellectual discourse within the university community.
  1. Institutional Significance:
  • DnD will focus on acquiring digital materials that have institutional significance, including materials produced or generated by the university's faculty, staff, students, and affiliated research centers.
  • Emphasis will be placed on capturing the intellectual output of the university, such as scholarly publications, research data, conference proceedings, Thesis and Dissertations, and institutional records.
  1. Cultural and Historical Heritage:
  • DnD will actively seek to collect and preserve digital materials that reflect the cultural, historical, and social heritage of the university's community.
  • This may include unique cultural artifacts, archival materials, oral history interviews, photographs, audiovisual recordings, and other materials that document the evolution and achievements of the university over time.
  1. Geographic Relevance:
  • The collection scope will encompass materials that have geographic relevance to the university's community, including materials that pertain to the local, regional, national, and international contexts in which the university operates.
  • Efforts will be made to capture materials that shed light on the university's relationship with the surrounding community and its global engagement.
  1. Diversity and Inclusion:
  • DnD is committed to collecting digital materials that embrace diversity and inclusion, representing a wide range of perspectives, voices, and experiences.
  • Materials from underrepresented communities, marginalized groups, and historically disadvantaged populations will be actively sought to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive collection.
  1. Legal and Ethical Considerations:
  • DnD will adhere to legal requirements and ethical considerations in the acquisition of digital materials, respecting copyright laws, intellectual property rights, and privacy regulations.
  • Materials that are obtained ethically and with appropriate permissions, licenses, or waivers will be prioritized for inclusion in the collection.

By adhering to this collection scope, the Digitization and Digital Preservation department will build a diverse and meaningful digital collection that reflects the intellectual, cultural, and historical heritage of the university community, while supporting scholarship, research, and teaching within and beyond the institution.

Virtual Exhibits

In addition to the acquisition, preservation, and access of digital materials, the Digitization and Digital Preservation department recognizes the value of virtual exhibits in showcasing and interpreting the collection's content. Virtual exhibits provide an innovative and immersive way to present curated selections of digital materials to a wide audience. DnD will develop and host virtual exhibits that align with the mission and collection scope, with the following considerations:

  1. Multimodal Presentation:
  • Virtual exhibits will leverage various multimedia formats, including images, audio, video, text, and interactive elements, to engage and educate users.
  • The use of digital storytelling techniques, interactive timelines, 360-degree visualizations, and other innovative approaches will be explored to create captivating and informative exhibits.
  1. User Engagement:
  • Virtual exhibits will be designed to facilitate user engagement and interaction.
  • Analytics will be implemented to assess user engagement and gather insights for continuous improvement.
  1. Accessibility:
  • DnD will strive to make virtual exhibits accessible to a diverse audience, including individuals with disabilities or special needs.
  • Accessibility features such as alt text for images, closed captions for videos, and keyboard navigation options will be implemented to ensure inclusivity.
  1. Outreach:
  • Collaborative efforts with faculty, departments, and student groups will be pursued to integrate virtual exhibits into educational programs, courses, and public events.
  1. Long-Term Sustainability:
  • DnD will ensure the long-term sustainability of virtual exhibits by employing compatible platforms, following best practices in digital preservation, and regularly monitoring and updating the exhibits as needed.
  • Ongoing assessment of technology trends, user preferences, and exhibit performance will inform decisions on enhancements and updates.

Virtual exhibits will serve as an engaging and accessible medium to showcase the diverse digital materials held by the Digitization and Digital Preservation department. By harnessing the power of technology and storytelling, virtual exhibits will bring the collection to life, foster connections with users, and contribute to the dissemination of knowledge and appreciation of the university's intellectual and cultural heritage.


The Digitization and Digital Preservation department uses CONTENTdm and Digital Commons to provide universal access to digital collections and university publications. DnD is actively creating collections and adding to existing collections in conjunction with departments from across the library and University. Digitization efforts began in 2006 but were revamped and reimagined in 2019 with the expansion of the department and the construction of a dedicated Digitization Lab located in Lister Hill Library.

Examples of current and potential content for the collection:

  • Audio and visual materials
  • Oral histories
  • Digitized books and manuscripts
  • Faculty output
  • UAB publications
  • Organizational annual reports and newsletters
  • Published articles in which copyright permits
  • Photographs, digital images and art objects
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Working papers and technical reports

The Digitization and Digital Preservation department reserves the right to refuse items that do not fit the mission and collecting scope of the department. Reasons for denial may include:

  • The item does not reflect the academic output of faculty, students, and the greater UAB scholarly community.
  • The item is in a file format that cannot be deposited for technical reasons.
  • The item (or set of items) is of a prohibitive size (storage) (as in terabytes).
  • The item is not permitted for deposit due to copyright issues.

Copyright Statement

The Digitization and Digital Preservation department is committed to upholding copyright laws and respecting the intellectual property rights of creators, contributors, and rights holders. As such, the following copyright statement applies to the digital materials within our collection:

  1. External Ownership and Intellectual Property Rights:
  • DnD acknowledges that the ownership and intellectual property rights of the digital materials within the collection resides with the creators, contributors, or other rights holders, as applicable.
  • Users accessing the digital materials within the collection are expected to respect and adhere to all applicable intellectual property rights.
  1. Internal UAB Ownership and Intellectual Property Rights:
  • A non-exclusive grant of rights to preserve, reproduce, display, distribute, and make the work available publicly without charge from the library is granted to UAB.
  • Submitters retain copyright for all content deposited into the digital collection’s portal.
  • When submitting work for deposit into the Digital Collections, submitters must meet with DnD staff to review the copyright and intellectual property status of the material to ensure that the material deposited does not infringe or violate any copyright or other rights of a publisher or any other party and distribution of the work from the UAB Digital Collections will not infringe or violate any copyright.
  1. Copyright Compliance:
  • DnD will make every effort to ensure that the digitization, preservation, and dissemination of digital materials comply with applicable copyright laws and regulations.
  • DnD will seek appropriate permissions, licenses, or waivers, when required, to use and provide access to copyrighted materials, unless they fall under fair use or other exceptions allowed by law.
  1. Notice and Takedown:
  • DnD is committed to responding to any valid copyright infringement claims promptly. If you believe that any material within the collection infringes upon your copyright or the copyright of someone you represent, please contact us with the following information:
    • Your contact information (name, address, email, and telephone number).
    • Identification of the specific material that is claimed to be infringing, including its location within the collection.
    • Sufficient evidence or documentation to support the claim of copyright infringement.
    • A statement affirming that you have a good-faith belief that the use of the material in question is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
    • A statement, under penalty of perjury, that the information provided in the notice is accurate and that you are authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner.
  1. Fair Use and Educational Use:
  • DnD may provide access to copyrighted materials under the principles of fair use, as defined by applicable copyright law, for purposes such as research, teaching, scholarship, and criticism.
  • DnD encourages users to adhere to fair use guidelines when utilizing the digital materials and to seek appropriate permissions when necessary.

The Digitization and Digital Preservation department strives to be a responsible steward of intellectual property and respects the rights of copyright holders. We will continue to work diligently to ensure compliance with copyright laws and promote the ethical and legal use of digital materials within our collection.


Format and Preservation Support

The Digitization and Digital Preservation department will add minimal metadata to each record for identification and searchability purposes including fields such as title, date, donor, and contributing department. Use of the required metadata elements will facilitate user access to archived works and provide the information needed to support ongoing access rights management and preservation activities. In most cases, Digital Collections staff are responsible for creating metadata application profiles and recommendations for metadata. We accept the author’s brief metadata (e.g. ETD collections), which will be reviewed and standardized by Digital Collections staff. More descriptive metadata may be added by the contributing department or by the DnD department on a case-by-case basis. The UAB Digital Collections Staff reserve the right to edit any metadata associated with works submitted to the digital portal. 

Works added to UAB Digital Collections should be submitted in appropriate formats as specified by DnD staff. Full support is offered for formats that are publicly documented, widely adopted, may be rendered by multiple software packages or have lossless data compression. Fully supported file formats (e.g., .pdf) are those that the UAB libraries will make readable and retrievable for the foreseeable future, employing migration and archival techniques, as necessary. Partially supported file formats are those for which DnD staff will recognize, but cannot fully guarantee support for the foreseeable future, such as proprietary formats (e.g., .doc). DnD Staff can only support unsupported file formats as bit streams. Works will be preserved in the original deposit format. When migration or other preservation strategies are required, when possible, the content, structure, and functionality of the files will be maintained. Ongoing support will be provided for as many file formats as possible within the available institutional resources. Efforts will be made to monitor file format changes that may warrant transformation, migration, and onsite backup.

Withdrawal of Material

Reason for withdrawal may include discovery of a copyright violation or publication of an article with a publisher that does not allow previous versions to be available. Withdrawals may also be initiated by the depositor or an internal or external entity. Works may be withdrawn from UAB Digital Collections at the request of the submitting author or the author’s departmental or academic unit administration or at the discretion of UAB libraries administration. Written requests for removal should be submitted to UAB libraries administration.