KU ScholarWorks

Preservation and Access

How does KU ScholarWorks preserve my work? How long will the files in KU ScholarWorks last?
What are the most recommended file formats?
How can others find my material once it is in KU ScholarWorks?
What are persistent identifiers?


How does KU ScholarWorks preserve my work? How long will the files in KU ScholarWorks last?
The University uses standard data management practices to protect items stored in KU ScholarWorks. The database is backed up regularly and is kept secure against deletion or unauthorized modification.

The University of Kansas assures continuing access to items deposited in KU ScholarWorks. Every item deposited will remain retrievable from the repository. However, computer files depend on the availability of the appropriate software to render the functions and appearance intended by the file's creator; over time older software applications may no longer function on new computer platforms, leaving the files created with those applications inoperable. The level of access that the University can assure to items stored in KU ScholarWorks may therefore range from preservation of the full functionality and appearance of the original file to preservation of the mere bitstream with no assurance that the file's original functionality or appearance can be recreated.

In general, files created with open or non-proprietary software offer the greatest likelihood that their functionality and appearance can continued to be rendered as computer environments change. Faculty and other creators of digital content are urged to carefully consider the implications of choosing one or another file format or software application, and to balance the importance of the functions provided by a software application against the importance of being able to preserve those functions over a period of years or decades.

The University identifies three levels of assurance for the continuing operability of digital files in KU ScholarWorks:
  • Supported: There is a high likelihood that its content, appearance, and functions will be preserved over time. Supported file formats are well documented within the software community and can be rendered by a variety of software applications.
  • Known: KU recognizes this format but cannot guarantee its support over time. In general, these are proprietary formats whose underlying code is not available to the wider software community. However, the greater the prevalence or popularity of a "known" format the greater the likelihood that the community of users will develop ways to keep operable older files created in that format.
  • Unsupported: KU does not recognize this format. Based on current knowledge, there is limited likelihood that the appearance or functionality of unsupported files can be preserved.

For a current list of Supported, Known, and Unsupported file formats please see our File Formats information page.


What are the most recommended file formats?
We classify a format as "supported" if there is a high likelihood that its content, appearance, and functions will be preserved over time. Supported file formats are well documented within the software community and can be rendered by a variety of software applications. Currently, "supported" formats for KU ScholarWorks are:

  • Adobe PDF
  • XML
  • Text
  • HTML
  • MARC
  • JPEG
  • GIF
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • AIFF
  • RTF
  • Postscript
In addition, we provide lower levels of support for many other formats. Please see our File Formats information page for full details.


How can others find my material once it is in KU ScholarWorks?
When an item is deposited into KU ScholarWorks the metadata, or catalog information, that you enter when you deposit that item is made available to other databases and search engines, such as Google Scholar and OAIster. Users of those services will be able to find your material in KU ScholarWorks. Users can also search the KU ScholarWorks collection directly, through our web interface. Also, because each item has a persistent link, you can email or place links directly to your material on personal and departmental home pages, blogs and other web sites.


What are persistent identifiers?
A persistent identifier is a unique location on the internet that will not change over time the way regular URLs do. They will be enduring citations. Every item deposited into KU ScholarWorks get its own persistent identifier, or handle, e.g. http://hdl.handle.net/1808/126.


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