Frequently Asked Questions


Ownership, Copyright, and Permissions

Depositing Work

Using, Searching, and Browsing MINDS@UW Materials

MINDS@UW Organization



What is MINDS@UW?

MINDS@UW is designed to store, index, distribute, and preserve the digital materials of the University of Wisconsin. Content, which is deposited directly by UW faculty and staff, may include research papers, pre-prints, datasets, photographs, videos, theses, conference papers, or other intellectual property in digital form. The content is then distributed through a searchable Web interface. MINDS@UW uses DSpace software; for more information about DSpace, please visit:

Whom do I contact about MINDS@UW?

Feel free to contact any librarian that you normally work with. Otherwise, most UW campuses have a MINDS@UW liaison:

You may also contact MINDS@UW coordinator Peter Gorman (608-265-5291) with any MINDS@UW-related questions. If your campus does not currently have a MINDS@UW liaison, the MINDS@UW coordinator is your contact.

Ownership, Copyright, and Permissions

Who can deposit content into MINDS@UW?

Any person or group within the UW System can submit content. Content created cooperatively with co-authors who are not affiliated with the UW are also accepted, as long as at least one of the authors is affiliated with the UW and the submitter owns sufficient rights to the material.

Can I deposit content that I created before I joined the UW? What happens to my content in MINDS@UW if I leave the UW?

You may submit content you created before you joined the UW as long as you hold sufficient rights to the item. MINDS@UW does not remove content once submitted; if you leave, your content will still be preserved. You may add it to another repository or site, if you like, without needing to consult MINDS@UW.

Can I put already-published work in MINDS@UW?

Maybe. Digitized works whose published originals have passed into the public domain can certainly be included.

Otherwise, assuming that you originally created the work, but you signed some sort of copyright-transfer agreement with your publisher:

For books: If the book is out-of-print in the United States, and your contract with the book publisher contained a clause that reverts the copyright to you after the book goes out-of-print, then you have sufficient rights to submit the book to MINDS@UW. Check Bowker’s Books in Print for your book’s publication status.

For journal articles: Many publishers give blanket permission to post one or more of the pre-print (pre-peer-review manuscript), post-print (final manuscript after peer review and editing), or publisher’s typeset PDF to a repository like MINDS@UW. The first place to look for such permission is SHERPA/ROMEO, a database of publisher policies. The next place to look is the publisher’s own website, which often includes its policies or its standard publication agreements.

You can retain your right to deposit your articles in MINDS@UW no matter what journals or publishers you prefer by adding an “author addendum” to your publication agreement. The UW-Madison Faculty Senate encourages all UW-Madison faculty to use the BTAA addendum. Faculty on other campuses are welcome to use it as well, or to substitute another of their choice.

Does MINDS@UW take over my copyright when I deposit my work?

No. The MINDS@UW license is non-exclusive, meaning that you give MINDS@UW permission to do what it normally does—preserve and display content—but you do not give up any rights to do the same things yourself.

MINDS@UW does not limit what else you do with your work.

What is Creative Commons? How is a Creative Commons license different from the MINDS@UW license?

Creative Commons licenses allow you to give blanket permission to end-users for certain uses of your work under certain conditions, without in any way damaging your rights over the same work. They are excellent for teachers and scholars, who can allow other teachers and scholars to reuse their work without the tiresome process of seeking additional permissions.

Creative Commons licensing is completely optional; simply click the “Skip Creative Commons” button at that stage to bypass the Creative Commons licensing process. Without it, your work enjoys the customary protections of copyright.

The Creative Commons license is not a substitute for the MINDS@UW license. Creative Commons licenses are an agreement between you (as the depositor) and those who download your work from MINDS@UW. The MINDS@UW license is an agreement between you and the University of Wisconsin; it covers actions (such as transformation of your digital files for preservation purposes) that Creative Commons licenses do not. Accepting the MINDS@UW license is not optional.

Can I deposit institutional records such as meeting minutes into MINDS@UW

Institutional records should follow proper records-retention procedures. Please get in touch with University Archives and Records Management Services for advice on records management. MINDS@UW has no provision for using retention schedules or other important records management policies.

Can I restrict access to my content in MINDS@UW?

To some extent, yes, though we strongly prefer that you make your work available to the world, in agreement with MINDS@UW’s mission and the Wisconsin Idea.

The descriptive information (author, title, keywords, etc.) about an item in MINDS@UW cannot be access-restricted. Digital content can be restricted to a range of Internet addresses, either by default in a given collection, or on a case-by-case basis.

Depositing Work

How do I add my content to MINDS@UW?

If you have not added anything to MINDS@UW before, please check with your MINDS@UW liaison to be given deposit rights to the appropriate MINDS@UW collection(s) for your content. If no appropriate collection exists, your MINDS@UW liaison will help you get one started.

To deposit content, just log in (using “Shibboleth authentication”) and click the “Start a New Submission” button. From there, just follow the screens. You may pause a submission at any time; MINDS@UW remembers what you have already entered. If you have questions or run into difficulties, ask your MINDS@UW liaison or simply use the feedback form.

Will I need special software to upload content?

No. Only a web browser.

What types of digital files are accepted?

MINDS@UW can accept almost any self-contained file format. To help ensure that your content remains readable and usable long into the future, however, MINDS@UW prefers open, standard, non-proprietary, common formats whenever they are available. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about appropriate file formats.

Can MINDS@UW scan my paper documents into digital form for me?

Unfortunately, no. Check with your campus’s IT division for scanning equipment and training. If you have a substantial and/or highly valuable collection, consider contacting the UW Digital Collections Center about their digital project development process.

Can I remove items once they’ve been posted in MINDS@UW?

Under most circumstances, no. MINDS@UW’s primary goal is to preserve its contents indefinitely. MINDS@UW is not meant for ephemeral content and items likely to be revised.

Mistakes do happen, and problems do arise; in that case, contact the MINDS@UW coordinator.

Can I submit content to MINDS@UW from an already existing database?

Yes, using the normal MINDS@UW submission workflow.

Using, Searching, and Browsing MINDS@UW Content

Who can view content located in MINDS@UW?

MINDS@UW is an open archive and its contents are therefore accessible free of charge to anyone on the World Wide Web. While it may be possible possible to restrict access to parts of MINDS@UW, we do not encourage it. The goal of MINDS@UW is to allow any person with an Internet connection and web browser to view its contents.

Is MINDS@UW full-text searchable?

For most items, yes. Exceptions would include scanned pages that do not undergo optical character recognition (OCR).

How do I search across a lot of sites like MINDS@UW?

You could use Google or Google Scholar, but your results would be mixed with non-academic sources.

Try OAIster instead. It crawls MINDS@UW and hundreds of repositories like it. Also consider the Registry of Open Access Repositories search page, the National Science Digital Library, and for open access journal content, the Directory of Open Access Journals.

If you’re interested in open access within a particular discipline, ask the MINDS@UW coordinator what resources are available.

Does a Google search find content in MINDS@UW?

Yes. Google indexes MINDS@UW regularly, and MINDS@UW contents are included in Google Scholar as well.

MINDS@UW Organization

What is the difference between a community and a collection?

A community is a group of people, such as a campus, department, or research unit. Communities may contain sub-communities and collections.

A collection is a group of content items. Decisions about deposit rights and workflows happen on this level.

What do I need to know to create a community in MINDS@UW? Can I get training somewhere?

The MINDS@UW coordinator can provide initial training (as well as consultation later on) in getting your community off the ground. This instruction will help your community to establish its workflow and to learn about the MINDS@UW interface. The process of putting items into MINDS@UW is relatively intuitive and does not require knowledge of any specialized software.

Can I change my community or collection’s name, logo, or description after it’s created?

Certainly! Just ask via the MINDS@UW feedback form.


Why did the UW Libraries decide to start MINDS@UW?

MINDS@UW was created to collect and disseminate scholarly material created at the University of Wisconsin. It was envisioned as a means to preserve scholarly output and disseminate material not supported by traditional print media publication.

Who is responsible for managing MINDS@UW?

The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center (UWDCC) is responsible for maintaining MINDS@UW’s hardware, software, and interface. See MINDS@UW People for a complete list of staff associated with MINDS@UW.