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About DSpace@MIT: FAQ

FAQ - Creating content for DSpace@MIT

Content and Copyright

DSpace@MIT accepts all manner of digital content. Here are some examples:

  • Documents, such as articles, preprints, working papers, technical reports, or conference papers
  • Theses
  • Data sets
  • Computer programs
  • Visualizations, simulations, and other models
  • Multimedia publications
  • Books
  • Bibliographic datasets
  • Images
  • Audio files
  • Video files
  • Learning objects
  • Web pages

See also Content Guidelines for DSpace@MIT.

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

The following categories of MIT faculty and researchers are eligible to create a collection in the "Faculty and Researcher" part of DSpace:

  • Current faculty
  • Faculty emeriti/emeritae
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Adjunct Associate Professor
  • Professor of the Practice
  • Associate Professor of the Practice
  • Principal Research Scientist
  • Principal Research Engineer
  • Principal Research Associate
  • Senior Research Scientist
  • Senior Research Engineer
  • Senior Resarch Associate

See complete information at Getting Started: Options for MIT Faculty and Researchers

No, the MIT Libraries run and maintain the DSpace servers for all MIT Communities. MIT faculty, researchers, departments, labs, and centers do not have to download or run DSpace on their servers. You use a web-based submission and search interface to access DSpace@MIT. See Joining DSpace@MIT.

All work set down in a tangible form is automatically protected by U.S. copyright law. The MIT Libraries offers extensive online resources about copyright for faculty and staff. When you distribute a previously unpublished work in DSpace@MIT, that work is immediately covered by copyright.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.

However, if you would like to make your work more accessible, DSpace@MIT gives you other license options to release some of the restrictions of the copyright law. (See Creative Commons licenses below.)

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. See Scholarly Publishing @ MIT Libraries for suggestions on managing your copyrights.

Creative Commons is a group founded by lawyers in academia that has defined alternative licenses whereby you can release some of the rights you are automatically assigned by copyright law. The most open license is the Attribution license. With this you receive the greatest exposure for your work, since it allows your work to be distributed anywhere or modified to someone's specific needs, while still giving you credit for its creation. Other Creative Commons license choices specify whether you allow commercial use of the work, whether you allow modifications of the work, and whether you allow derivative works to be created based on your work.

There's a Creative Commons form built into DSpace@MIT that allows you to identify the license to be used with the item you are submitting, so people can know what they're allowed to do with your work. This form is optional in DSpace@MIT, and you can skip it if you wish to retain your full copyright.

Yes, DSpace@MIT does not require you to give your copyright, as some publishers do. We only require that you agree to the DSpace@MIT Deposit License.

Please visit this webpage for instructions on how to notify us of your copyright concern http://libraries.mit.edu/research-support/notices/copyright-notify/

Preservation

The MIT Libraries support DSpace@MIT. OR DSpace@MIT is supported by Curation and Preservation Services at the MIT Libraries. For help queries, fill out the DSpace@MIT Ask Us! form

DSpace@MIT is supported by Curation and Preservation Services at the MIT Libraries. DSpace@MIT 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 MIT, 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.

We are also collaborating with partner institutions (particularly Cambridge University in the UK) to develop new upload procedures for converting unsupported or known formats to supported ones where advisable, and to enhance DSpace@MIT’s ability to capture preservation metadata and to perform periodic format migrations.

Unlike many other repositories, DSpace addresses the myriad issues inherent in a multi-disciplinary archive, including:

  • Differing policies, practices, and cultures in individual disciplines
  • Variety of digital formats produced in today’s multi-media research environments
  • Digital preservation
  • Complexity of metadata standards needed to accommodate and maintain access to the digital formats supported by the system

DSpace@MIT has a flexible storage and retrieval architecture adaptable to multiple data formats and distinct research disciplines. Each content community has a customized user portal that promotes a user environment closely matching that community’s practices and terminology. See dspace.org for more information.

Working within DSpace@MIT

A DSpace@MIT Community is an administrative unit at MIT that produces research, has a defined leader, has long-term stability, and can assume responsibility for setting Community policies. Each community must be able to assign a coordinator who can work with DSpace@MIT staff. See full information under Community and Collections Policies.

See a list of research entities at MIT. Groups wishing to establish a DSpace@MIT Community that do not fall into this definition will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Each Community can contain one or more collections. Communities can also contain sub-communities, which in turn house collections.

When you submit content to DSpace@MIT, you click through a Deposit License. This is a contract between you and MIT, allowing MIT to distribute and preserve your work. No copyright transfer is involved.

See the Non-Exclusive Deposit License for more information.

DSpace@MIT 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 DSpace@MIT system.

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

For all Thesis related questions please see

MIT Thesis FAQ

FAQ - Getting Content from DSpace@MIT

Access and Printing

DSpace registration is not needed for access to DSpace@MIT files. DSpace@MIT registration will not provide access to MIT-only content.

As of April 27, 2015, MIT theses that have been scanned and deposited into DSpace@MIT are openly accessible to anyone. Each thesis record in DSpace@MIT has a ‘Full printable version’ PDF that can be read, downloaded, or printed from any computer.

This is not a bug with DSpace@MIT, but a problem with Adobe Acrobat and how it works when trying to open a document within your browser. It tends not to be a problem if you are using IE. However, an easy way to solve the problem is to save the file onto the desktop.

  • From the record for the document you are looking for, right click on the "View/Open" link.
  • Select "save link as ..." and place it on your computer.

Many of the items in DSpace@MIT are freely available to the public. However, there are several restrictions:

  • Access to the MIT Press out-of-print books collection is restricted to MIT students, faculty and staff. If you wish to purchase a copy of one of these books, please contact ....
  • Other collections may also have restrictions on files, depending on the needs of the department that set up the collection. If you have a question about a particular file, please fill out the DSpace@MIT Ask Us! form.

DSpace registration is not required by DSpace@MIT and does not offer you access to any files. Subscribing to a collection in DSpace@MIT merely alerts you to new items available in the collection to which you subscribe and also does not offer you access to any files.

See the previous question above for which files are accessible in DSpace@MIT. If you are still having trouble performing any tasks requiring authorization that are not described in that section, please fill out the DSpace@MIT Ask Us! form.

DSpace@MIT Records and Errors

If you are the author of the thesis both errata and page substitutions require approval. When the purpose is to correct significant errors in content, the student should create an errata sheet using the form and instructions at and obtain approval from both thesis supervisor or program chair and the Dean for Graduate or Undergraduate Education.

If the purpose of change is to excise classified, proprietary, or confidential information, the student should fill out the application form and have the request approved by the thesis supervisor or program chair and the Dean for Graduate or Undergraduate Education. Students and supervisors should vet thesis content carefully before submission to avoid both scenarios whenever possible.

If you are not a student please use the DSpace@MIT Ask Us! form, explaining where the error is. For other thesis related question please review the MIT Thesis FAQ.

For information on using the open source DSpace software, please see DSpace.org. If you are interested in adding content to DSpace@MIT, you do not need to download the software. Please refer to Joining DSpace@MIT for more information on adding your content.

Use the DSpace@MIT Ask Us! form, to report any bugs.