Digital Content Collection Policy

The UWM Libraries aspires to support the campus mission with an array of services designed to facilitate access to and the long-term sustainability of the scholarly and creative contributions of the university.

This policy is intended to help guide the selection and stewardship of unique digital content for the UWM Libraries. Digital content should have long-term research or instructional value for the University’s academic programs. In addition to meeting this baseline criteria, digitized and born-digital content and their attendant infrastructure will necessarily be considered on a case-by-case basis in order to evaluate the Library’s ability to provide appropriate technical support, hosting, and preservation, and to ensure intellectual property rights issues have been addressed.


The Digital Content Oversight Committee is an ad hoc committee made up of staff from the Departments of Systems and Digital Collections and Initiatives, and the Scholarly Communication Team, and other library staff as necessary who are best suited to evaluate specific requests. The committee addresses collection content, technical specifications and infrastructure, intellectual property rights, and platform and storage support.

Criteria for Selection

The committee reviews projects that require resources beyond the typical scope and existing workflows for routine digital content activities. The Library strives to provide long-term support for the digital projects it accessions and therefore must be selective in order to conscientiously administer available resources. To that end, the committee considers projects on a case-by-case basis. In order to receive consideration, digital projects must meet the following baseline criteria:

  • Projects must have long-term research or instructional value for the University’s academic programs
  • Projects must be mature and should not be in an active state of development

While not required, the committee assigns priority to projects that already meet some of the following criteria:

  • Projects that have existing UWM faculty sponsorship
  • Projects that have a relationship with existing collections
  • Projects that have secured some measure of funding
  • Projects that are compatible with existing infrastructure

Criteria for De-Selection

From time to time, it may be necessary to deaccession projects and collections that have to date been supported by the Library. Reasons for de-selection may include:

  • The project no longer has research or instructional value for the University’s academic programs
  • The project is no longer sustainable
  • Externally imposed restrictions, such as publishing agreements, require that projects are no longer publicly accessible and therefore no longer of continuing value to the Library

Related policy: This policy addresses unique digital content and infrastructure with long-term research or instructional value. It does not address digital content that is already governed by existing policies. Please see the separate policies guiding those resources.

Current Infrastructure

Currently, the UWM Libraries hosts several platforms that may provide appropriate existing infrastructure to host digital content that meet the criteria of this policy and have been approved for selection and retention by the Digital Content Oversight Committee.  These platforms currently include:

    Digitized materials from the holdings of the Libraries are hosted on this platform. This platform is most appropriate for digital content that is a collection of digitized or digital objects with item-level or multiple aggregate-level metadata.
  • Omeka
    Digital exhibits can be hosted in an Omeka instance on the Library’s LAMP server. This platform is most appropriate for digital content that is a collection of digitized or digital objects, coupled with a contextual element that frames the objects in a particular way.
  • Digital Commons Institutional Repository
    UWM faculty, staff and student research and creative work can be deposited in the Digital Commons. This platform is most appropriate for completed projects such as open access articles, reports, multi-media presentations and learning objects.

Our ability to scale beyond these platforms/services, including customization, will likely require additional resources or funding, and consideration of the technical specifications and infrastructure necessary to ensure successful implementation and responsible stewardship. We look to project leaders to take a lead role in partnering to identify and secure those resources.


We endeavor to adhere to best practices to ensure the long-term viability of digital projects, their attendant infrastructure, and their digital content. The Libraries follow best practice guidelines based on a number of federal and professional guidelines, including the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative’s Best Practices for Cultural Heritage Materials, and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s Levels of Preservation. Preservation will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Approved by ELC June 1, 2016