Frequently Asked Questions

 What is The Knowledge Bank?

The Knowledge Bank, Ohio State University’s institutional repository, is a service of The Ohio State University Libraries. The mission of the Knowledge Bank is to collect, preserve, and distribute digitally formatted intellectual output of the OSU faculty, staff and students, that is currently or will be of research interest.  top

 What is an institutional repository?

Although institutional repositories are still evolving and taking on differing manifestations in specific institutions, they can be defined in general as systems and services models designed to collect, organize, store, share, and preserve an institution’s digital information or knowledge assets worthy of such investment. Clifford Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) describes digital repositories as….” a set of services that a university offers to the members of its community for the management & dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members.” He goes on to say that a repository is “essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution.”   top

 What might be found in an institutional repository?

In an institutional repository like the Knowledge Bank you might find: Articles, preprints, monographs, datasets both statistical and geospatial, technical reports, images both visual and scientific, working papers, teaching materials such as lecture notes or simulations, conference papers and presentations, audio/video files, and undergraduate theses.   top

 How is the repository organized?

The Knowledge Bank is organized by communities. A community is a group with an agreed upon focus, such as a college, an administrative unit, an individual department, a research grant team, or an interdisciplinary research center. There are only two common elements in Knowledge Bank communities. The first is that communities produce knowledge in a digital format that they wish to store, preserve and distribute. The second is that communities have an affiliation with OSU. Within communities are “collections” which contain “items”.  top

 What platform does the digital repository utilize?

The Knowledge Bank uses “DSpace,” a software platform designed to manage a wide variety of digital content. It captures, stores, indexes and preserves the intellectual output of the university’s research, making it available for others to access.  top

 What benefits do I realize by placing content I have created in the Knowledge Bank?

An important advantage to submitting material to the Knowledge Bank is immediate distribution of the research to a worldwide audience. You can even do a “Google” search. In addition, each item in the digital repository is assigned a “persistent identifier” which is a permanent, stable, URL that can be used in a citation. It provides a web presence for your work and makes a commitment to preserve the work, migrating it to another platform if and when it is needed.   top

 How do I start to use the Knowledge Bank?

Once you have identified a community, contact the Knowledge Bank by sending an e-mail to A member of the Knowledge Bank support team will assist you in setting-up a community web page and adding collection pages. The support team will also assist in identifying a workflow process, helping you understand metadata issues, and complete the initial authorization to submit material.  top

 Who can contribute their work in the Knowledge Bank?

Each community identifies who in the community is authorized to contribute material to the Knowledge Bank. The community also works with the Knowledge Bank in determining up to three workflow stops in the submission process. These workflow stops allows the community to accept or reject a submission, to edit the metadata, and to archive the submission.  top

 What are some of the benefits to my research?

The Knowledge Bank solves a problem faculty have struggled with for the past decade: how best to manage their growing collection of digital material. The Knowledge Bank builds on new standards for storing and preserving digital assets and on new discovery tools for controlling and sharing these assets. Benefits of contributing content include: long-term preservation, a worldwide audience — indexed by search engines such as Google and Google Scholar — with immediate distribution of research, organized access to a body of research, a long-term stable URL that can be used in citation, as well as providing you a web presence.  top

 Why is OSU interested in a digital repository?

The Knowledge Bank offers an opportunity to store, share and preserve important digital content in a professionally managed repository that represents OSU’s scholarship and showcases the international prominence of the faculty, both individually and collectively.   top

 Are there other such repositories?

Yes, there are many institutions that have established digital repositories for the same reason we have. Several university libraries that were part of the initial Dspace Federation with the Ohio State University Libraries were, Cambridge University, Columbia University, University of Calgary, Cornell, MIT, University of Oregon, University of Toronto, University of Rochester , University of Washington, University of Edinburgh and many more. You can also see that digital repositories are a global initiative.  top

 What about copyright and intellectual property issues?

The Knowledge Bank assumes that a contributor is the copyright holder. The Knowledge Bank support team, however, understands and appreciates concerns about copyright and intellectual property and will assist communities and/or contributors with individual needs.   top

 Can I restrict access to my work?

While the Knowledge Bank encourages and promotes open access, there are circumstances when it may be necessary to temporarily restrict access to an item in a community’s collection. The Knowledge Bank can embargo items for a period of one, three, or five years.   top

 How should a work be cited?

A survey of style guides available in various academic and professional fields would find a wide range of practices for citing electronic sources. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers(2003) by Joseph Gibaldi is widely used by writers in literature, language studies, and other fields in the humanities. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2001) provides documentation advice for writers in the social sciences. The Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, published by the Council of Biology Editors (now the Council of Science Editors) is often used by authors in the natural sciences. There is also the Chicago Manual of Style. There appears to be general agreement that to document a file available for viewing and downloading via the World Wide Web, you should provide the following information: Author's name, title of document in quotation marks, title of complete work (if relevant) in italics or underlined, date of publication or last revision, URL in <angle brackets> and date of access, in (parentheses).

For example:

Rogers, Sally A. “Developing an Institutional Knowledge Bank at Ohio State University: From Concept to Action Plan.” Portal: Libraries and the Academy I January 2003; vol.3,no.1, pp. 125-136. (6 June 2005).


 What are the benefits for the “user”?

The repository enables easy, quick, and reliable remote access to the university’s research and scholarly materials from one location: the World Wide Web, which fosters and encourages collaboration with colleagues, faculty and fellow students.   top

 What is a Knowledge Bank community?

A community is a group with an agreed upon focus, such as a college, an administrative unit, an individual department, a research grant team, or an interdisciplinary research center. There are only two common elements in Knowledge Bank communities. The first is that communities produce knowledge in a digital format that they wish to store, preserve and distribute. The second is that communities have an affiliation with OSU. Each community should be able to assign a coordinator who can work with library staff. Groups wishing to establish a Knowledge Bank community that do not fall into this definition will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A Knowledge Bank community agrees to arrange for submission and description of content, make decisions about community and collection definitions, notify the Library of organizational changes affecting submissions, obtain copyright permission for items submitted, and decide upon a submission workflow for each collection.   top

 Can I withdraw material I submitted?

The Knowledge Bank foresees times when it may be necessary to remove items from the repository. Items are not actually removed, but are removed from view, preventing the loss of the historical record. All such transactions are traced in the form of a note in the <Description.provenance> field of the Dublin Core record. The content of the note is one of the following: "removed from view at request of the author", "removed from view at OSU's discretion", "removed from view at OSU Libraries' discretion" or "removed from view by legal order"   

Since Knowledge Bank items requested to be removed may have been cited, a "tombstone" is supplied when it is requested, which will include the original metadata (for verification) plus one of the above withdrawal statements in place of the link to the object. The metadata will be visible, but not searchable. These items will also be made unavailable for metadata harvesting.  top

 How private is Knowledge Bank user information?

The Knowledge Bank is committed to preserving the privacy of those submitting material in to the repository. The personal information received is used solely for purposes of the functioning of the system from “users” involved in the submission of content and metadata and “users” who subscribe to the “alerting” service. Information about individual visits to the repository, or personal information that a community submitter provides, such as name, address, email address, telephone number, etc. is not disclosed to any outside parties except when required by law. Any demonstrations, presentations, or research papers, done on the Knowledge Bank will be scrubbed of specific references to real people and personal information.  top

 Can I make changes to material I have put in the Knowledge Bank?

The repository is an archive for finished works. You are not able to edit material once it has been submitted to the archive. Just as in printed material with different editions, you can submit an updated version.   top

 Can I submit my research to the Knowledge Bank and a publisher?

The Knowledge Bank assumes that you are the copyright holder for your research. If you submit research to a publisher, it is important that you understand what your rights are and the rights of the publisher. Some journal publishers, for example, allow you to post a pre-print or a post-print to an institutional repository, others may not. You should understand to the policies of the press or publisher and pay attention to the forms you are asked to sign. You may want to modify a contract to ensure your right to use your work as you see fit, including posting it to an institutional repository like the Knowledge Bank.  top

 What is metadata?

Metadata means data about data. While this definition is commonly offered, it is also commonly not helpful. An example is a catalog card, which contains data about the nature and location of a book: It is data about the data in the book referred to by the card.  Metadata has become important on the World Wide Web because of the need to find useful information from the mass of information available. Manually-created metadata adds value because it ensures consistency. If one webpage about a topic contains a word or phrase, then all webpages about that topic should contain that same word. It also ensures variety, so that if one topic has two names, each of these names will be used. For example, an article about sports utility vehicles would also be given the metadata keywords ‘4 wheel drives’, ‘4WDs’ and ‘four wheel drives’, as this is what they are known as in Australia, South Africa, and Namibia.  top