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Notre Dame libraries launch online respository

| Wednesday, February 25, 2015

This month, Hesburgh Libraries launched CurateND, an online repository that allows students, faculty and staff to store, manage and share their research.

Users can deposit a variety of types of content, including articles, datasets, documents, images and senior theses. They can also link different files, choose who and how many people can see or make changes to their content and preserve their work in the long-term.

Anyone with a NetID can use the repository, for many kinds of research projects in many fields, said Rick Johnson, co-program director of the library’s Digital Initiatives and Scholarship department. He said the portal allows users to combine different file formats.

“For example, a student project could have photos or video recordings, data, interviews, all attached to any kind of PDF or paper that they might write up,” he said. “We’re not trying to have it isolated to any one type of major or discipline.”

Johnson said around 100 people used the portal ahead of its launch in early February.

“It’s really a combination of faculty, students, researchers [who have used CurateND], in some example areas — biology, psychology, mathematics, political science,” Johnson said. “We actually have quite a few senior theses deposited in there, as well as datasets, articles [and] images.”

Johnson said over the course of two years, the library’s software development team worked with other institutions through Hydra, a consortium of research institutions that develops repository software, as well as the Office of Information Technologies, departmental librarians and those who used early versions of CurateND to develop the portal before its launch.

CurateND is an unusual repository because it can handle multiple types of content and researchers in multiple fields can use it, Johnson said.

“A lot of portals have been focused on one content type, whether it be images or articles or data or video or something like that,” he said. “From the get-go, we thought it was really important to blend all of those together, so that it’s not focused on any one [type of content] but supporting all of those at once.

“There are also repositories that are focused on different subject areas like biology, or it might be focused on a specific archive for something. CurateND is not meant to replace those; it’s meant to complement those.”

Johnson said there is not a strict limit on users’ storage space. Researchers can upload content through the website or work with the library’s Center for Digital Scholarship to manage projects with large amounts of material.

In the coming months, Johnson said based on user feedback, the development team will work on improving the site’s user-friendliness and accessibility.

“Our focus is going to shift enhancing access to content,” he said. “That involves browsing … [and] having a dashboard to track what’s happening with things we put into CurateND.

“In addition to that, it’s becoming more and more common for people to have partners on projects that are at different institutions, so one of the things we’re looking closely at right now is how can we have users that are somewhere else but that are sponsored by someone at Notre Dame.”

Johnson said CurateND continues the library’s mission of connecting people with knowledge.

“CurateND is focused on capturing things on campus that are really going to benefit future scholars in that area,” he said. “In addition to that, within the wider University strategy, it’s really about increasing awareness about what is happening at Notre Dame. We want to increase the impact of the work happening here.”

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Emily McConville is a news writer and photographer for the Observer. She is a senior studying history and Italian with a minor in journalism. She is from Louisville, KY and lives off-campus.

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