JMU Scholarly Commons Collection Development Policy & Preservation Support Policy

Table of Contents

Collection Development Policy

Scope of Collections

JMU Scholarly Commons was established as the institutional repository and open access publishing platform of James Madison University (JMU) in 2013, utilizing the Digital Commons platform. The broad capabilities of JMU Scholarly Commons include: the dissemination of JMU student, staff, and faculty research including presentations, papers, posters, and multimedia works; the dissemination of electronic theses, dissertations, and honors projects produced by JMU students; the publication of JMU-based journals including peer-reviewed publications; conference proceedings for JMU-sponsored events; dissemination of select digitized and born-digital materials from JMU Special Collections, including select publications; and other materials related to James Madison University.

Collecting efforts for JMU Scholarly Commons include the following:

  • Theses, dissertations, and Honors capstones
  • Journals and conferences hosted in JMU Scholarly Commons
  • Published scholarship produced by JMU faculty, students, and staff.
  • Academic presentations and posters created by students, faculty or staff
  • Creative works and performances
  • Content from JMU Libraries Special Collections for which JMU Scholarly Commons is the most appropriate repository based on factors including content type and available repository functionality.
  • Data sets for which there is not an existing subject-appropriate repository
  • University records as deemed appropriate by the JMU Scholarly Commons administrators in collaboration with JMU Special Collections. Possible examples include:
    • Departmental publications
    • Annual reports
    • Committee/council meetings minutes
  • Metadata records for research/scholarship that link to an openly accessible, full‐text version hosted on another site.
  • Metadata records for research/scholarship where the intention is to supply the full‐text once the publishing embargo has been lifted.

This list is not meant to be comprehensive. Other forms of scholarship will be considered for inclusion. Please contact JMU Scholarly Commons administrators if you have any questions or concerns.

Collection Priorities and Intellectual Freedom

As with the general Collection Development Policy, the JMU Scholarly Commons reflects and supports the mission of the Libraries and the goals and mission of JMU. JMU Scholarly Commons supports the free, worldwide distribution of scholarship originating at, or connected to James Madison University as well as providing free worldwide access to select primary source materials from JMU Libraries.

Selection Responsibility

Materials may be acquired through direct deposit by the creator (or their agent), or by JMU Libraries. Approval for placement in JMU Scholarly Commons lies with the Head of Digital Collections.

Collecting Guidelines

JMU Scholarly Commons acquires and provides access to a variety of published and unpublished materials, locally-created publications, unpublished manuscript and archival collections. Acquisitions will be evaluated by the same criteria as for other library materials; however, additional selection criteria specifically applicable to JMU Scholarly Commons will be considered, including but not limited to:

  • Quality of material
  • Circumstances of creation
  • Format appropriateness
  • Copyright and fair use

Collection Management

The Head of Digital Collections, in consultation with the Digital Preservation Librarian, Digital Collections Specialist, Head of Special Collections, liaison librarians, and JMU Libraries technical support staff, assess the content of JMU Scholarly Commons to ensure adequate and appropriate resources to support the mission of JMU Scholarly Commons, the Libraries, and the University.

JMU Scholarly Commons Thesis and Dissertation Preservation Support Policy

JMU Libraries is committed to responsible and sustainable management of theses and dissertations deposited in JMU Scholarly Commons and to ensuring long-term access to those works.

While prudent efforts will be taken to preserve theses and dissertations in any digital format submitted to Scholarly Commons, submission in a recommended file format is strongly encouraged in order to facilitate long-term preservation.

At this time, JMU Libraries is committed to preserving the binary form of the digital object. Further practical measures to preserve as much functionality (“look and feel”) of the original content as possible will be taken as resources permit.

Digital preservation is an evolving field. Current long-term preservation strategies and technologies employed by JMU Scholarly Commons are shaped by the Libraries’ Digital Preservation Policy and informed by relevant international standards and emerging best practices. Digital preservation activities and policies are reviewed regularly to ensure that they remain current as technology and institutional practices evolve.

Last reviewed 03/27/2020. This policy has been adapted from Cornell University Library’s eCommons Preservation Support Policy.


Appendix I: Recommended File Formats

JMU Scholarly Commons can accept many electronic file formats. As stated in the JMU Scholarly Commons Preservation Support Policy, the JMU Libraries is committed to preserving the binary form of the digital object of theses and dissertation content deposited in JMU Scholarly Commons. As resources permit, the Library will also take further measures to preserve as much functionality (“look and feel”) of the original content as possible.

The long-term preservation of the complete and original functionality of certain file formats, however, may not be practical or possible. Research and experience has shown that the likelihood of successful long-term preservation of content is much higher when file formats possess the following characteristics:

  • complete and open documentation
  • platform-independence
  • non-proprietary (vendor-independent)
  • no “lossy” or proprietary compression
  • no embedded files, programs or scripts
  • no full or partial encryption
  • no password protection

A note about PDF (Portable Document Format)

PDF is a good file format choice in terms of preservation, with PDF/A being the best option. Do not embed media files in a PDF, as this can significantly increase the size of the file and make it difficult to download, access and preserve. Do not encrypt or lock a PDF file as this will make it impossible to perform optical character recognition (OCR) in order to create fully searchable text.

Recommended file formats (table below)

The formats in the second column (“High”) exhibit the characteristics above and thus have a high probability of full preservation. Those in the right-hand column have a low probability of being fully preserved over time. Those formats in the middle are preferred over their counterparts in the right-hand column, but assurance of their long-term preservation is not as high as the left-hand column.

We recommend that those depositing content in JMU Scholarly Commons use formats in the left-hand column if at all possible, and consider methods for converting files with low probability to formats with higher probability.

For help in assessing where your digital content falls within this table, or consulting about strategies for converting files from one format to another, please contact the Libraries’ Digital Preservation Librarian.

File formats for digital content: Probability for full long-term preservation

Content typeHighMediumLow
Text• Plain text (encoding: USASCII, UTF-8, UTF-16 with BOM)

• XML (includes XSD/XSL/XHTML, etc.; with included or accessible schema)

• PDF/A-1 (ISO 19005-1) (*.pdf)

• Cascading Style Sheets (*.css)

• DTD (*.dtd)

• Plain text (ISO 8859-1 encoding

• PDF (*.pdf) (embedded fonts)

• Rich Text Format 1.x (*.rtf)

• HTML (include a DOCTYPE declaration)

• SGML (*.sgml)

• Open Office (*.sxw/*.odt)

• OOXML (ISO/IEC DIS 29500) (*.docx)

• Microsoft Word 2007 or newer (*.docx)

• PDF (*.pdf) (encrypted)

• Microsoft Word 2003 or older (*.doc)

• WordPerfect (*.wpd)

• DVI (*.dvi)

• All other text formats not listed

Raster image• TIFF (uncompressed)

• JPEG2000 (lossless) (*.jp2)

• PNG (*.png)

• BMP (*.bmp)

• JPEG/JFIF (*.jpg)

• JPEG2000 (lossy) (*.jp2)

• TIFF (compressed)

• GIF (*.gif)

• Digital Negative DNG (*.dng)

• MrSID (*.sid)

• TIFF (in Planar format)

• FlashPix (*.fpx)

• PhotoShop (*.psd)


• JPEG 2000 Part 2 (*.jpf, *.jpx)

• All other raster image formats not listed

Vector graphics• SVG (no Java script binding) (*.svg)• Computer Graphic Metafile (CGM, WebCGM) (*.cgm)• Encapsulated Postscript (EPS)

• Macromedia Flash (*.swf)

• All other vector image formats not listed

Audio• AIFF (96kHz 16bit PCM) (*.aif, *.aiff)

• WAV (96kHz 24bit PCM) (*.wav)

• SUN Audio (uncompressed) (*.au)

• Standard MIDI (*.mid, *.midi)

• Ogg Vorbis (*.ogg)

• Free Lossless Audio Codec (*.flac)

• Advance Audio Coding (*.mp4, *.m4a, *.aac)

• MP3 (MPEG-1/2, Layer 3) (*.mp3)

• AIFC (compressed) (*.aifc)

• NeXT SND (*.snd)

• RealNetworks ‘Real Audio’ (*.ra, *.rm, *.ram)

• Windows Media Audio (*.wma)

• Protected AAC (*.m4p)

• WAV (compressed) (*.wav)

• All other audio formats not listed

Video• Motion JPEG 2000 (ISO/IEC 15444-4)??*.mj2)

• AVI (uncompressed/native, motion JPEG) (*.avi)

• QuickTime Movie (uncompressed/native, motion JPEG) (*.mov)

• Ogg Theora (*.ogg)

• MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (*.mpg, *.mpeg, wrapped in AVI, MOV)

• MPEG-4 (H.263, H.264) (*.mp4, wrapped in AVI, MOV)

• AVI (others) (*.avi)

• QuickTime Movie (others) (*.mov)

• RealNetworks ‘Real Video’ (*.rv)

• Windows Media Video (*.wmv)

• All other video formats not listed

Spreadsheet / database• Character delimited text (ASCII or Unicode preferred):

      • Comma Separated Values (*.csv)

      • Delimited Text (*.txt)

• SQL Data Definition Language

• OOXML (ISO/IEC DIS 29500) (*.xlsx)

• Excel 2007 or newer (*.xlsx)

• OpenOffice (*.sxc/*.ods)

• DBF (*.dbf)

• Excel 2003 or older (*.xls)

• All other spreadsheet/ database formats not listed

Virtual reality• X3D (*.x3d)• VRML (*.wrl, *.vrml)

• U3D (Universal 3D file format)

• All other virtual reality formats not listed
Computer programs• Uncompiled computer program source code (*.c, *.cpp, *.java, *.js, *.jsp, *.php, *.pl, *.py, etc.) • Compiled / Executable files (EXE, *.class, COM, DLL, BIN, DRV, OVL, SYS, PIF)
Presentation• OpenOffice (*.sxi/*.odp)

• OOXML (ISO/IEC DIS 29500) (*.pptx)

• PowerPoint 2007 or newer (*.pptx)

• PowerPoint 2003 or older (*.ppt)

• All other presentation formats not listed

Appendix II: Standard Submission Agreement

James Madison University Libraries


By signing and submitting this license, you (the “author” or “copyright owner”) grant to James Madison University Libraries (JMU Libraries) at James Madison University (JMU) the non-exclusive right to reproduce, and distribute your submission (including the abstract) to the public as well as the right to migrate or convert your submission, without alteration of content, to any medium or format for the purpose of preservation or continued distribution.

JMU acknowledges that this is a non-exclusive license; any copyrights in the submission remain with the author or other copyright holder/s and subsequent uses of the submitted material by that person(s) are not restricted by this license.

The author agrees that James Madison University may keep more than one copy of this submission for purposes of security, back-up, and preservation.

The author represents that the submission covered by this license is his/her original work and that he/she has the right to grant this license to JMU Libraries at JMU. The author further represents that the submission does not, to the best of his/her knowledge, infringe upon any third-party’s copyright. If the submission contains material for which the author does not hold copyright the author represents that he/she has obtained unrestricted permission by authorization of the copyright holders, or by operation of the law, and that such third-party material is clearly identified and acknowledged within the text or content of the submission. In the event of a subsequent dispute over the copyrights to material contained in this submission, the author agrees to indemnify and hold harmless JMU and its employees or agents for any uses of the material authorized by this license.

If the submission is based upon work that has been sponsored or supported by any agency or organization other than James Madison University, the author represents that he/she has fulfilled any right of review or other obligation required by contract or agreement with the supporting entity.

JMU Libraries will make the submission available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative works license accompanied by a copyright statement indicating the author’s continuing rights. James Madison University Libraries will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the author’s name remains clearly associated with the submission and that no alterations of the content are made.

Created 2014, Revised April 2020.

Source of Authority: Head, Digital Collections