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Kenyon College


Collection Development Policy: Digital Collections

Digital Collections Policy

The purpose of this statement is to establish written management guidelines for the continuing growth and maintenance of Kenyon’s Digital Collections. This policy is intended to provide a general framework by which current and future Digital Collection decisions can be made. By articulating our collection goals and policies, we help ensure that the Digital Collections support the needs and interests of the Kenyon community. This document is designed to be dynamic and flexible and we rely on input from faculty, students, administrators, and librarians to provide recommendations and suggestions on our strategies. As Kenyon’s information needs and the nature of the Digital Collections develop and change, we expect this document to evolve. Ultimately, we hope it will provide structures and procedures for reviewing, interpreting, and implementing policies and integrating new submissions to our Digital Collections.


This policy for the Digital Collections operates within the framework of the library's general Collection Development Policy as well as relevant departmental policies.  Kenyon's Digital Collections are intended to support teaching, learning, and scholarship at the College.


  • The collections must be produced, submitted or sponsored by Kenyon College faculty, staff, or students.
  • The collection must be scholarly, research oriented, or highlight Kenyon or local area history or culture.
  • The collection items must be in an acceptable digital format or can be suitably converted.
  • The collection items must be submitted with the purpose of long term availability and access.
  • The submitter should have and be willing to grant the rights to preserve and distribute the collection items via Digital Kenyon.

College faculty and students are are welcome to suggest collections from personal academic research or Kenyon’s special collections and archives to be digitized and made available through the Digital Kenyon web site.

Working with Digital Kenyon not only ensures that the digitized materials will remain in a stable environment for long term access, but that they will be made accessible through a reliable, trustworthy, and credible source.

If there are materials (preferably a “collection” of materials) in the Kenyon special collections and archives a faculty member would like scanned and made available online for pedagogical purposes, LBIS requests that:
Faculty contacts and coordinates project parameters and expectations with special collections and archives staff.
Faculty agree in writing (email is fine) with the special collections and archives on what the final outcome of the project will look like before the project is begun.

If the submitted materials are from personal research, the submitter will create a draft project plan and request a meeting with the Digital Resource Librarian to discuss options and challenges. Research must also comply with all standards and requirements of the Institutional Research Board.

Once the project is defined, the submitter will approach and Digital Resource Librarian and finalize project scheduling, material requirements and metadata standards.

Digital Kenyon would like to work with faculty on projects that are important to their teaching and research; however, the department must balance a small staff between many projects. Not every project can be accepted and could be rejected because:

  • The collection does not match the general parameters of research and scholarship produced at Kenyon College or does not reflect its intellectual environment.
  • The collection contains a file format(s) that cannot be deposited for technical reasons.
  • The size of the submission (in terabytes, for example) is prohibitive. For example, some sets of research data may not be accepted because of their size.
  • The collection may not be deposited because of copyright issues. For example, it may violate a publisher's copyright agreement with an author to deposit a journal article as published (i.e. as a pdf from the publisher's site).

Digital Kenyon provides support for as many file formats as possible within the constraints of the available institutional resources. The proprietary or executable nature of some file formats, however, may make it impossible to guarantee persistent access as digital technologies evolve and this possibility should be considered and addressed before submission. File formats for all collections are to be agreed upon between submitter and the Digital Kenyon administrator(s) before submission.

Materials deposited to Digital Kenyon require a minimum set of descriptive information (metadata) to be provided at time of deposit. Some metadata is generated automatically by the Digital Kenyon software, or can be set to generate automatically. Other metadata, i.e. title, author, date, etc., must be provided by the submitter. A minimum amount of metadata is required for each item, but additional fields may be added or subtracted as appropriate for each collection.

Metadata must conform to existing professional standards as well as the extent and limitations of the Digital Kenyon software.

Placement of materials in Digital Kenyon is equivalent to publication so authors/submitters must exercise due diligence in clearing any needed rights (including any third party copyrights).

Collections in Digital Kenyon are, by default, accessible world wide, that is, they are openly and freely available via the World Wide Web. Open access to deposited items encourages the distribution, dissemination, promotion, and use of the research and scholarship produced at Kenyon College. LBIS strongly encourages depositors not to place access restrictions on deposited research.

However, LBIS recognizes there may be situations which require access restriction including embargo periods. Embargoed material can be deposited in Digital Kenyon, but the maximum embargo period should not exceed 5 years.

If a collection requires either complete access restriction or an embargo period, terms must be agreed upon between the depositor and LBIS before submission of any items.

LBIS provides ongoing support for as many file formats as possible within the constraints of available institutional resources. Materials deposited in Digital Kenyon will be preserved using best practices for data management and digital preservation. The proprietary or executable nature of some file formats, however, may make it impossible to guarantee persistent access to all deposited materials as digital technologies evolve.

Periodic audits should be scheduled for materials to ensure continued access, reduced file degradation risk, and to upgrade files as necessary. Any submission requests should include a section on anticipated future needs of the collection and an upkeep schedule. This can be discussed with the Digital Kenyon administrator(s) and adjusted as necessary.

The nature of digital collections often precipitates the need for platform and file updates. If/when a migration of materials to a new platform becomes necessary, the Digital Kenyon administrator(s) will be responsible for the transfer of materials to the new platform. Submitters and collection managers will be notified of platform and/or file changes when appropriate.

Digital objects and collections will be reviewed and disposed of as necessary, based on the LBIS collection development policy.
A collection may be removed for reasons including but not limited to:

  • The collection is abandoned, i.e. no longer supported by the submitter or their approved collection manager.
  • The collection materials or digital object becomes obsolete to current scholarship.
  • The collection materials or digital object becomes obsolete technologically and an update is not available or technically feasible.

Jenna Nolt
Digital Initiatives Librarian
Olin Library 210
(740) 427-5698

Policy created March 2014 by Abigail Miller.

© 2015. LBIS, Kenyon College
103 College Drive, Gambier, OH 43022-9624
Tel: (740) 427-5186