USC Libraries

University of Southern California

skip navigation

USC Digital Library

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1.
    Q.
    What is the USC Digital Library?
    A.
    The USC Digital Library (USCDL) is the digital repository for original research materials which have been selected for archiving by the Libraries.  Content made available by the USCDL facilitates new and creative opportunities for scholarship and teaching in providing enhanced access to materials which feature and highlight the Libraries' holdings or from non-Library held collections identified in collaboration with members of the USC academic community. Accordingly, the USCDL provides a wealth of primary and original source material in a variety of formats. Metadata sufficient for information discovery, if not otherwise available, is to be provided for all materials. USCDL content can be licensed or sub-licensed to parties outside of USC.
    2.
    Q.
    Who does the work to support the USCDL?
    A.
    Staff are drawn from several organizational areas within the USC Libraries to manage projects, to provide guidance in applying for grant funding, to support technical infrastructure and development, to provide digitization and digitization advice, and to provide cataloging and metadata advice.  As appropriate, it is anticipated that the project proposer will share heavily in any actual grant writing, digitization planning, and cataloging.
    3.
    Q.
    What kind of content is in the USCDL?
    A.
    The USCDL provides a wealth of primary and original source material in a variety of formats.  Content made available by the USCDL facilitates new and creative opportunities for scholarship and teaching in providing enhanced access to materials that would otherwise have limited or no public availability. This content is selected either from materials which feature and highlight the Libraries’ holdings or from non-Library held collections identified in collaboration with members of the USC academic community. Accordingly, the USCDL provides a wealth of primary and original source material in a variety of formats.  These may include, but are not limited to USC theses and dissertations; photographs; rare books, or portions thereof; manuscripts; source documents; sound recordings; moving images; data sets; 'born digital' documents; and digital representations of physical objects.
    4.
    Q.
    Does the USCDL include the USC Libraries' "electronic resources"?
    A.
    Content in the USCDL differs from the Libraries' electronic resources, which provide access to digital content acquired from commercial vendors through purchase, license or subscription. These resources are restricted to USC IP addresses and are not licensable or resalable by USC. In most instances these materials are maintained and archived by the vendor/producer. The Libraries' electronic resources also include selected free (no cost) materials to which a direct link has been provided in Homer and on the Electronic Resources page (open access materials and web pages).
    5.
    Q.
    How do I submit a proposal for a collection for the USCDL?
    A.
    See step-by-step instructions here.
    6.
    Q.
    How is a decision regarding my proposal made?
    A.
    The Digital Library Selection Advisory Committee (DLSAC) will review all proposed projects as to the appropriateness and suitability of their content for potential inclusion in the USCDL. The DLSAC makes its selection recommendations to the Associate Dean for Collections, who is responsible for making the final selection decisions. The Associate Dean for Collections will bring particularly difficult selection decisions to the Dean’s Cabinet.
    7.
    Q.
    How will I be notified of a decision regarding my proposal?
    A.
    After the selection committee has met, you will receive an e-mail indicating whether or not your proposal has been accepted and tell you to what status it has been assigned.  If your proposal has not been accepted, the e-mail will give you the reasons why.
    8.
    Q.
    When and how will I be notified of a change in the status of my proposal?
    A.
    Accepted proposals are reviewed quarterly by the group of project managers, technologists, digital specialists and metadata analysts who will be doing the actual work on the project and, depending on available resources, will update the status of a project.  Please check the Projects and Collections page for the most up-to-date information regarding your proposal.
    9.
    Q.
    Can I resubmit a rejected proposal?
    A.
    Yes.  However, it is essential to emphasize new circumstances or justifications which will support reassessment of a previously rejected proposal.  Use the same submission process (and form) as was used for the original submission.
    10.
    Q.
    How long does it take a project to become available in the USCDL?
    A.
    The size and nature of a project has a direct impact on how long it may take to become available. Since a large number of projects are currently awaiting completion, you may anticipate significant delay before your project can be put into production and ultimately published.
    11.
    Q.
    Do I have to find the funds to pay for the project?
    A.
    Large projects may require additional resources, such as funding to pay for out-sourcing of digitization, cataloging and/or technical infrastructure.  If funding is required, a project manager will assist you by providing appropriate information to help you in presenting budgetary requests to your department, or to potential donors, or to provide guidance in grant writing for external funding agencies.
    12.
    Q.
    How do I submit additional information after the initial submission?
    A.
    Submit additional information directly to dlsac@usc.edu.  Make certain to clearly identify what proposal/project this additional information applies to.
    13.
    Q.
    Do I need to attend the meeting of the DLSAC when my propopsal is being considered?
    A.
    If the DLSAC has questions that are not answered in the proposal submission, you may be contacted by the committee to provide additional information either at a meeting or otherwise to help the Committee make a more informed recommendation.
    14.
    Q.
    What is the status of projects approved for the former USC Digital Archive which were not completed as of the transition to the USCDL?
    A.
    The DLSAC is in the process of reviewing all projects approved at the time of the Committee’s creation and will make recommendations as to the appropriateness and suitability of their content in the USCDL.
    15.
    Q.
    What happened to Archiving, Imaging & Metadata Services (AIMS)?
    A.
    The USCDL builds on the foundation established by the former AIMS program and continues the services provided by AIMS in a revised organizational framework.  The services provided by AIMS are still provided by the same personnel.
    16.
    Q.
    What happened to the USC Digital Archives?
    A.
    The USCDL incorporates digital content previously developed for the Digital Archive and will also include selected materials from the USC Institutional Repository (IR).  The USCDL focuses on an expanded mission of the USC Digital Archive under its new name.
    17.
    Q.
    What happened to the USC Institutional Repository?
    A.
    The USCDL will ultimately incorporate selected digital content previously housed in the USC Institutional Repository (IR)—a discontinued pilot project.
    18.
    Q.
    What does “approved” mean?
    A.
    A project proposal has been vetted by the DLSAC and approved to move forward.
    19.
    Q.
    What does “in production” mean?
    A.
    A project is considered to be in production if it has been approved for inclusion in the USCDL. Active work may be underway, including digitization, metadata, programming, Web development, as appropriate.
    20.
    Q.
    What does “completed” mean?
    A.
    An approved project has been finished and/or is available publicly at http://digitallibrary.usc.edu.
    21.
    Q.
    What criteria are used for evaluating proposals?
    A.
    All proposals for inclusion in the USCDL are evaluated against the standard Selection Criteria for the USC Digital Library.
    22.
    Q.
    Once a collection is uploaded and made available in the USCDL what is the long term commitment to making the resource available?
    A.

    The USCDL is committed to providing online access to materials while the primary gateway is through the USCDL public user interface.

    The USCDL will retain the digital material so long as the USCDL or its successor is a supported program, based on these considerations:

    • the overall value to the scholarly and other communities in having a large and varied set of collections;
    • the time commitment made to creating and acquiring assets and metadata for the USCDL;
    • the creation and maintenance of a public gateway for accessing assets and metadata via the USCDL.

    Unless there is an explicit agreement to support a secondary access gateway, the USCDL is not committed to supporting a secondary gateway long term.  For new collections, the agreement is a written contract or memo of understanding.  Older collections lacking such written agreements will be evaluated as needed and agreements may be established on a case by case basis.  Contact dlsac@usc.edu for more information.

    23.
    Q.
    What happens to a collection when production is finished?
    A.
    Once digitized, the original materials are returned to the owner for proper storage and maintenance for long-term preservation.
    24.
    Q.
    Who is responsible for the daily management of the USCDL?
    A.
    The USC Digital Library is under the supervision of the Director, USC Digital Library (Matt Gainer).
    25.
    Q.
    Can I order prints or digital copies of images in the USCDL?
    A.
    Yes. Prints can be created from content in the USCDL, and high-resolution digital copies are also available for non-exclusive licensing. Please submit print order requests to specol@usc.edu
    26.
    Q.
    What is the maximum resolution and best image quality available for licensing or printing?
    A.
    Content available via the USCDL is digitized using a variety of tools, and resolution varies depending on the original item digitized. General parameters for image resolutions can be found here. <http://www.usc.edu/libraries/collections/digitallibrary/documents/USCDL_Formats_and_Resolutions.pdf> If you have questions about a particular item, please send an email to digitalimaging@usc.edu.