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Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS)

SUNY Digital Repository (SDR)

The SUNY Digital Repository (SDR), built in DSpace Express, is a centrally managed online digital repository that stores, indexes, and makes available the following types of materials:

  • Historical and Special Collections from SUNY campuses and SUNY System Administration
  • Open Educational Resources (OER) Collections
    • SUNY OER Repository
    • OER collections at the campus level – items records for OER content in campus collections can be linked to also display in the SUNY OER Repository collection
  • Reports from the Innovative Instructional Technology Grants (IITG)



  • Community – Campuses are defined at the Community level
  • Subcommunities – May contain more subcommunities or collections
  • Collections – Store the repository content and are made up of metadata item records with associated content files

Submission Processes:

  • Manually enter individual items to a collection metadata using web interface (authorized contributors)
  • Batch imports using the simple archive format may be available upon review with OLIS Repository administrators

For information on workflows and metadata please submit a request to

General Documentation

SUNY Digital Repository (SDR) is a centrally managed repository that includes collections from approximately 40 campus and SUNY System Administration. Its content covers a broad range of topics with a strong focus on local campus archival and special collections. This repository is also used to house Open Educational Resources (OER).

The SDR is based on a DSpace platform called DSpace Express. It provides for basic functionality in an affordable full- service repository with cloud hosting, technical support and upgrades.

OLIS Responsibilities

  • Provide consultation services to review the functionality of the platform
  • Setup of campus communities, sub-communities, collections
  • Setup of user accounts for campus administrative control of their community, and for item record creation and submission of content
  • Provide training on functionality, item record creation, and content input
  • Provide documentation and information on basic workflows
  • Provide guidance on metadata use of Dublin Core
  • Provide default templates for record input
  • Review requests to batch input metadata and/or content with the understanding that this could incur costs that would be charged back to the campus
  • Review request for functionality not included in the DSpace Express platform with the understanding that this could incur costs that would be charged back to the campus
  • Provide first line support for questions related to general functionality
  • Liaise with Atmire, SDR vendor, regarding technical issues
  • Provide support through the account

Campus Responsibilities:

This model of support requires each campus to identify local contacts who will be responsible for working with their community to solicit and add content into the repositories. Questions on content (accessibility, copyright issues, take-down requests, etc.) will be forwarded to the campus liaison for a decision on how to address.

For support inquiries contact

Getting Started

Before diving into SDR, the campus will need to create a plan that addresses users, workflow, and content structure.

Initial Considerations

  • Types of content that will be added to the collection?
  • How content will be identified?
  • Who will be involved in soliciting content?
  • Who will be involved in submitting content?
    • Submitters will confirm ownership of the copyright or have permission to deposit
    • Submitters will be asked to follow Accessibility guidelines developed by campuses in support of the SUNY Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Policy.
  • Application of licensing options, including Creative Commons

Organization of Content

Most discovery will be done through Google Scholar and other search engines, rather than via browsing the repository user interface.

Best Practices:

  • When developing hierarchies of sub-communities, consider how much content will be available for each area; in other words, will some sub-communities/collections have the bulk of content while others may have only a few records or perhaps none?
  • Avoid empty sub-communities/collections by creating them only when content is available

Structural Requirements:

  • Name and description of your campus
  • Name and description of further sub-communities (if needed)  
  • Name and description of the collections  
  • Any logos/graphics appropriate for the collection/sub-community, etc. (if desired)
  • Name and email addresses of the administrators for the campus environment
  • Name and email addresses for authorized contributors to specific sub-communities and/or collections if applicable
  • Basic information about the content of the collection, approximate number of items, etc.

User Roles

Each campus environment will assign administrator(s) for their local community. Roles may be assigned for the entire campus environment or for specific sub-communities and/or collections.


  • Campus Administrator: Required. Manages entire campus environment, including all subcommunities and collections.
    • Creates subcommunities and collections
    • Assigns roles for subcommunity/collections
    • Add/edit content and metadata
  • Submitter: has permission to submit new items to designated collections
  • Reviewer: ability to accept or reject incoming submissions; however, they are not able to edit the submission's metadata
  • Editor: ability to edit the metadata of incoming submissions, and then accept or reject them
  • Final Editor: ability to edit the metadata of incoming submissions, but will not be able to reject them

Local Workflow

When developing a local workflow, there are many factors to keep in mind:

  • Accounts: if mediated deposits are necessary, campuses will need local administrative and/or submission accounts
  • Content:
    • Metadata and full-text may be submitted to site administrator through web forms, email, or a combination of the two
    • Metadata and content may be loaded one item at a time using the SDR submission process
    • Metadata and content may be uploaded in bulk after reviewing workflow with OLIS Repository administrators
  • Look and Feel: A document's thumbnail, which displays in lists of submissions and on the brief details page, may be customized

Content Submission

Submission Template:

  • SUNY Office of Library Services staff have created a submission template for common content types. Contact for more information about the template and submission process.
  • The template includes:
    • Minimum required fields
    • General information on how each field is to be used
    • Values included in drop-down selections where applicable
    • Fields that display on the simple item record (if they have content)
    • Fields that are automatically generated as part of the submission process
  • It is possible to add additional metadata fields as defined in the Metadata registry.