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Digital Case

Policies & Procedures


What is Digital Case?

Digital Case is Case Western Reserve University's digital library, institutional repository and digital archive. Digital Case stores, disseminates, and preserves the intellectual output of Case faculty, departments and research centers in digital formats (both "born digital" items as well as materials of historical interest that have been digitized). Kelvin Smith Library manages Digital Case on behalf of the university. With Digital Case, KSL assumes an active role in the scholarly communication process, providing expertise in the form of a set of services (metadata creation, secure environment, preservation over time) for access and distribution of the university’s collective intellectual product.

What content is appropriate?

Any content is appropriate if

  • all its incorporation is technically and economically feasible;
  • applicable Digital Case and university policies and laws are followed (e.g., the author has retained copyright and is legally entitled to deposit the content in Digital Case);
  • the sponsoring faculty member, department, center, etc., in conjunction with Digital Case staff, decides it is appropriate

"Born digital" materials (i.e., those which were initially created in digital form) are especially welcome in Digital Case.

It is the responsibility of the contributor to create the content in digital form or convert the assets to digital file formats. Kelvin Smith Library will advise potential depositors in the specifications that will best preserve digital documents; however, we do not provide digitization services free of charge.

How much does it cost to deposit content in Digital Case?

There is no cost to the unit or department or individual faculty member to deposit a reasonable amount of content in Digital Case. Kelvin Smith Library reserves the right to limit the amount of content from any single contributor. If, in the judgment of KSL staff, the technical and storage demands of a particular user are extraordinary (for example, very large data sets), KSL staff will work with the Digital Case depositor to seek funding for a special project.

Can content be hidden from public view?

Yes, at the request of the depositor, content can be "embargoed" from public view for a limited amount of time; for example, for pending patent applications, or for reasons of personal privacy. However, Digital Case requires an end date to the embargo, at which time the content will become freely available for viewing in Digital Case.  Embargoed content cannot be viewed by anyone except system administrators.

Can content be removed?

Content is not removed once it is deposited in Digital Case except under extraordinary circumstances, including those related to copyright violation or academic fraud.  In the rare instance when an item is removed, the metadata for the item is retained with a notation that the item was removed from the archive.  Depositors are welcome to deposit additional later versions of their work, in lieu of replacing existing versions.

What agreements must the author make before a work can be deposited?

Authors are required to complete and sign a deposit agreement that specifies the use of the document(s) being deposited, prior to posting.

What about Copyright and Digital Case?

Authors retain the copyright for all content posted in the repository. The Digital Case Deposit Agreement specifies a nonexclusive right of Digital Case to store, preserve and display the digital object. This means the author is free to reuse the content elsewhere.

If a paper or article has been, or is going to be, published in a journal, many journals grant exceptions for deposit in repositories such as Digital Case, especially for educational/scholarly, noncommercial use; the publishers just need to be asked. It is up to the author to check the terms of their agreement with the journal to see what is allowed. Individual journal policies vary widely, and the author should not make assumptions about their rights to re-post in Digital Case. The RoMEO Project (Rights MEtadata for Open archiving: has compiled a list of many journals' "Copyright Policies" about "self-archiving.". Unfortunately, some journals do not permit re-posting in institutional digital repositories.

If a potential depositor is interested in including a reprint of a journal article on in the repository site, the depositor must check their agreement with the journal to see if it is allowed. If it would not violate copyright, the reprint is welcome.

How long will items be kept in Digital Case?

Case Western Reserve University agrees to preserve the content deposited in Digital Case for the long term. Each digital object deposited in Digital Case will receive a persistent URL (called a Handle), which will continue over time. Materials deposited in standard formats (.txt, .wav, .jpg, .tiff, .PDF, .mpeg) will stand a higher chance of long term viability. While other content in proprietary formats (e.g., .doc, .xls, executable software, etc.) can be accepted for deposit, no guarantee of its usability can be made in the long term.

Digital Case content is stored on hardware that is managed as part of Case Western Reserve University’s technology infrastructure. The data is backed-up daily, and regular back-up copies are store off-site.

Digital Case reserves the right to migrate content to future mechanisms of digital storage, and reserves the right to migrate file formats to future compatible formats for display. Due to the emerging nature of digital preservation and the ephemeral nature of many file formats, no guarantee of perpetual access can be made at this time; however, Digital Case agrees to use "best practice" models and emerging standards to increase likelihood that materials deposited in Digital Case will be available for generations of scholars to come.


The Digital Library program staff in Kelvin Smith Library, in consultation with the Kelvin Smith Library Administration and the Case Office of General Counsel, will resolve disputes related to content, with deference to inclusion rather than exclusion, as long as the inclusion of a document does not violate copyright and conforms to Digital Case policies. Complaints about content and other issues related to Digital Case can be directed to the Office of the University Librarian.

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