Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

General Questions

What is IDEALS?

The Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) - - is a set of collections and related services that together constitute the campus institutional repository. IDEALS preserves and provides persistent and reliable access to the digital scholarship of faculty, staff, and students and aims to provide the greatest dissemination and recognition to these works as possible. IDEALS centralizes the twin goals of access and preservation, as do other institutional repositories, to provide the maximum campus commitment toward achieving these ends.

Who can deposit works into IDEALS?

UIUC Faculty, staff, and graduate students can deposit works directly into IDEALS. Undergraduate students may deposit works into IDEALS with the sponsorship of a UIUC faculty member. Allied staff (for example, staff at the Illinois Water Survey) may deposit directly into IDEALS.

Can researchers or students who are not at UIUC deposit material into IDEALS?

In general, no. However, if the researcher or student is affiliated with a program here (such as the Ethnography of the University Initiative), publishes in a journal, other publication, or conference held or issued through the University of Illinois (such as Library Trends), or co-authors a publication with a University of Illinois researcher (as is the case here), the material may be deposited into IDEALS. However, the University of Illinois affiliated contact will need to do the deposit. (sls March 18 2008)

Why should I deposit works in IDEALS?

  1. Dissemination: IDEALS provides high visibility and increased access to your research. The descriptive information about your deposited works will be made available to Google and Google Scholar, OAIster, and other services. Thomson Scientific (publishers of Web of Science) is adding a citation index for institutional and disciplinary repositories.
  2. Increased Impact and Citation of Your Research: Some studies have shown that research and scholarship openly available on the web have increased impact and higher citations than research and scholarship that is not. See for a bibliography of studies on the impact of open access.
  3. Persistence: IDEALS provides persistent, permanent URLs to your digital research.
  4. Full text searching: In many cases IDEALS provides full text searching of your research.
  5. Preservation: IDEALS makes a commitment to preserve your digital content for long term access and use.
  6. Control: When you deposit into IDEALS, you retain your copyright. Even if the work has already been published many publishers will allow you to deposit your work into institutional repositories.
  7. Download Statistics: We offer download statistics for each item. We weed out web crawlers, mass downloaders, and other bots as much as is possible, so that these downloads reflect 'real' downloads.

These are benefits to you as an individual scholar. In addition, IDEALS provides the University of Illinois with the infrastructure to collect, preserve, and manage access to this important part of the University's scholarly record, thus continuing the long term tradition of libraries and archives.

How is IDEALS different than posting research on my own web site?

IDEALS provides many benefits that are usually not available on your own web site. The submission process is straightforward and allows you to make your research available in just a few minutes. IDEALS provides full text indexing to many textual files and makes the descriptive content available to Google Scholar, OAIster, and other repositories of scholarly material. IDEALS also provides you with a permanent and persistent URL to your submission that you can reliably cite without fear that it will go away. Once submitted to IDEALS your digital scholarship will be part of the University Library digital preservation program so that years from now, you and others can count on accessing and using your research. You submit the material and IDEALS takes care of the rest.

Can I still link to my papers from my own web site?

Yes, in fact we will provide you with a persistent URL for just that purpose. The persistent URL of an item will never change, and are generated using CNRI's Handle System. They often appear at the top of an item description page, and are similar to:

How does this service differ from NetFiles? Illinois Compass?

NetFiles ( is an online service that allows University faculty, staff, and students to access their files from anywhere in the world. NetFiles also allows you to share work in progress with collaborators. IDEALS is meant as a "final" resting place for your digital work. IDEALS preserves material for the long term and provides wide access to your research through systematic dissemination.

Illinois Compass ( is a learning management system that gives faculty, instructors, students, and others a collaborative online space with tools for managing and delivering course assignments, tracking and publishing grades, and keeping course material available to students outside the classroom walls. While some course materials may be added to IDEALS, these should be:

  1. a testament of a (at the time of contribution) novel pedagogic approach;
  2. learning objects intended for sharing with other instructors;
  3. a part of a corpus of a scholar's work, showing how the scholar's research manifests itself in teaching; or
  4. a part of a cross curriculum or community based project that may include student works with their permission.

Can I use IDEALS to publish an electronic journal?

You can use IDEALS to archive an electronic journal. It is not, however, meant to be an electronic journal publishing system and has no workflows for peer review, for example. However, if you are interested in publishing an electronic journal, please contact ideals-gen@illinois[PLEASENOSPAM].edu for possible resources.

Accepted Material, Format, and Preservation

What kinds of materials/content can I put into IDEALS?

IDEALS accepts all kinds of scholarly research materials and content including preprints, previously published material (if possible), working papers, technical reports, presentations, data sets, as well as other scholarship not usually submitted for peer-reviewed publications. The work submitted must be in a form ready for distribution. See Preparing Items for Deposit into IDEALS, IDEALS Digital Preservation Support Policy, and IDEALS Collection Policy for more information.

What formats can I deposit into IDEALS?

IDEALS will take whatever file format your research is in. However, whenever possible, we prefer to receive files that fit our file format recommendations.

Can I upload video and audio files into IDEALS?

IDEALS will accept audio and video files - we have no format restrictions in the repository. However, at this point we cannot offer streaming of the video and audio files; audio and video will be available for download only. Also, depending on where you are uploading material, you may find that the size of the file may prevent you from uploading the material directly into IDEALS. IDEALS staff must upload any file over 500 MB directly into IDEALS. You may send any of these files over 500 MBs to IDEALS directly either on a thumbdrive, CD, or DVD with a note giving us permission to upload. (sls March 18, 2008)

How does IDEALS decide the ranking of file formats for preservation?

IDEALS ranks file formats based on how "preservable" we feel they are, and how comfortable we are with maintaining each format. In particular, we are looking for all the following in formats ranked with the Highest Preference:

  • Is openly documented;
  • Is supported by a range of software platforms;
  • Is widely adopted;
  • Is lossless data compression (or no compression); and
  • Doesn't contains embedded files or embedded programs/scripts.

Many proprietary formats (e.g. Microsoft Office formats) are not openly documented or viewable using third-party or free software. Based on this, most proprietary formats often are limited to Moderate Preference at best. For more information on our ranking criteria, see our Digital Preservation Support Policy.

Copyright and Intellectual Property

What rights do I have with this system? Do I have to give up/transfer copyright?

You retain your copyright when you submit items into IDEALS. You give UIUC permission to distribute and preserve your submission. For more information see the Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy and the Deposit Agreement.

I don't hold the copyright to an article or other publication? Can I still submit it?

It depends. Some publishers give their authors permission to deposit published articles into repositories like IDEALS. The Sherpa list of Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving ( is the most definitive list of publisher policies at the current time. You can also ask your publisher whether you can submit your work into the institutional repository (IDEALS). When you publish you can also negotiate to submit your work to IDEALS by using the CIC Author Addendum to negotiate for retention of these rights. You can also negotiate directly with the publisher. SPARC offers useful resources for authors (see In addition see UIUC's Scholarly Communication blog at Please see the Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy for more information as well.

Can I place material someplace else if I've already deposited it into IDEALS?

It depends. Some publishers will not accept material that has been made available elsewhere - even if it has not been formally published. This is slowly changing, but we do recommend checking with potential publishers to ensure that you can safely deposit a preprint, for example, into IDEALS. The Sherpa list of Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving ( is the most definitive list of publisher policies at the current time.

Management and Access to Deposited Items

Can I make changes to an item once I've deposited it into IDEALS?

No. IDEALS does not support sharing different version of a paper except in specific cases and is not meant to be used like NetFiles (see below for a discussion of the differences). Instead it is a 'final' resting place for your digital work. You can, however, submit both a preprint and a postprint to IDEALS. If it is important to replace a paper due to errors or other issues, IDEALS staff can make this replacement for you. Contact ideals-gen@illinois[PLEASENOSPAM].edu for assistance.

Can I make changes to the descriptive information once I've deposited it into IDEALS?

If you are not a collection administrator, IDEALS staff will need to make these changes for you. Contact ideals-gen@illinois[PLEASENOSPAM].edu for assistance.

Can I withdraw items?

Under special circumstances, you can withdraw items from IDEALS. Please see the IDEALS Withdrawal Policy for details.

Who has access to the deposited items in IDEALS?

Anyone can access the deposited items in IDEALS unless you place access restrictions upon them. However, we strongly encourage that you allow open access to your research, unless there are special circumstances which require such restrictions. Please see the IDEALS Access Restriction Policy for details.

How to Get Started

How do I get started using IDEALS?

You can either submit material as an [[DepositNow][individual] or as part of a community (such as your department or research center).

If you're interested in submitting material as an individual, log in to your NetID and Bluestem password. Once you are registered, you can begin submitting material.

If your department or research center is interested in setting up a community in IDEALS, please use the Community Request Form (pdf) or contact ideals-gen@illinois[PLEASENOSPAM].edu to begin the process.

Do I need special software?

No, you access IDEALS through any current Web browser. See the IDEALS Service Level Definition for more details on accessing IDEALS.

Searching IDEALS

What is searched in the general search box or, in the advanced search, the full text option?

The word(s) you enter in the search box will be searched against the title, author, subject abstract, series, sponsor and identifier fields of each item's record. In addition, the text you entered will also be searched against the full text of many of the archived documents. For more information on full-text searching please contact ideals-gen@illinois[PLEASENOSPAM].edu.

What is not searched?*

The search engine ignores certain words that occur frequently in English, but do not add value to the search. These are:
"a", "and" , "are" , "as" , "at" , "be" , "but" , "by" , "for" , "if" , "in" , "into",
"is" ,"it" ,"no" , "not" , "of" , "on" , "or" , "such", "the" , "to" , "was"

Can I truncate a search term?

Use an asterisk (*) after a word stem to get all hits having words starting with that root, for example:
Example of truncated search
will retrieve items containing curate, curates, curating, curated, curator, curators, and curation.
In addition, the search engine automatically expands words with common endings to include plurals, past tenses, etc (stemming).

Can I search for an exact phrase?

To search using multiple words as a phrase, put quotation marks (") around the phrase.
Example of exact phrase search

Can I eliminate results with a specific word from a search?

Put a minus (-) sign before a word if it should not appear in the search results. Alternatively, you can use NOT (note capitalization). This can limit your search to eliminate unwanted hits. For instance, in the search
Example of excluding word from search using -
Example of excluding word from search using NOT
you will get items containing the word "metadata", except those that also contain the word "shreeves".

Does IDEALS support Boolean searching?

Yes, IDEALS does support Boolean searching. The following Boolean operators can be used to combine terms. Note that they must be CAPITALIZED.

AND: By default, if you search for multiple words in IDEALS they are joined together by an AND automatically. For example,
Example of Default AND search
will retrieve all items that contain BOTH the words "corn" and "protein".

OR: To enlarge searches to find items containing any (but not all) of the words or phrases, use OR. For example,
Example of a search with the operator OR
will retrieve all items that contain EITHER the words "corn" or "protein".

NOT: To exclude items with a specific word(s) from search results, use the NOT operator before the word you wish to exclude. For example,
Example of excluding word from search using NOT
will retrieve items containing the word "metadata", except those that also contain the word "shreeves".

Parentheses can be used in the search query to group search terms into sets, and operators can then be applied to the whole set. For example.
Example of a search using parentheses

Last updated -- SarahShreeves - 17 Feb 2009

Topic revision: r18 - 25 Sep 2011 - 20:41:38 - SarahShreeves
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