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Feature Spotlight: Conferences and Events

April 15, 2014

Conferences, festivals, colloquia, and speaker series are a vital part of campus culture. Whether the event is a community partnership, like Cleveland’s annual celebration of book arts, Octavofest, or purely campus-based, Digital Commons’ event community structure offers a number of tools to put events together easily and effectively from start to finish.

The Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates at the University of Iowa uses Digital Commons to manage electronic paper submissions, peer review, and eventual publication and archiving. As the web page explains, “the program will archive all submissions into a searchable database through the library, making every presenter and their poster a star!” Bryn Mawr College’s Women’s History in the Digital World site stores organizational and scholarly resources and allows attendees to register for the conference.

The multimedia capacities available in all Digital Commons structures are showcased in Philosophical Fridays at the University of Southern Mississippi; the site captures a variety of materials related to the speaker series, including photographs, slide shows, and streaming videos. The Data Information Literacy Symposium at Purdue University collects videos of nearly all of its presentations, creating a valuable resource for both conference attendees and other potential audiences. Many schools use the structure to preserve past events; Utah State University’s Conference on University Education in Natural Resources, for example, has preserved content from its biennial conference since 2002.

Like all Digital Commons structures, event communities offer a great deal of flexibility and visibility—organizers can develop separate branding, are ensured of high discoverability in Google and other search engines, and will receive usage statistics to assess the impact of their event. To further explore the numerous ways schools have used Digital Commons to support conferences and events, check out our events community page and talk to your Consulting Services Representative.



The annual Octavofest event.

Lacking Traditional Publishing Options, Graduate Students Take DIY Approach and Win National Award

April 10, 2014

The Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, a student-run journal hosted on Iowa State University’s Digital Repository that launched two years ago, was recently recognized by the Commission for Social Justice Educators, which awarded the seven student founders awards for Exemplary Social Justice Contribution by a Graduate Student.

Co-founder Cameron Beatty told Iowa State writer Lynn Campbell in an article about the award, “We were doing social justice work and some of the journals we wanted to get published in weren’t necessarily interested in the work that we were doing. So we were like, ‘What does this mean for us as graduate students? We need to get a job; we need to get published. Where is there a space for us that want to do critical social justice work? Why don’t we create our own?’ It gives us credibility,” he added. “It gives us a voice within the conversation.”

Faced with an unappealing array of commercial and closed-access publishing choices, an increasing number of students and faculty are taking a similar DIY approach and opting to start their own high-impact, low-overhead online journals, especially in emerging and underserved fields. Being on a highly visible, open access platform like Digital Commons has enabled these publications to build a strong community of readers, contributors, and editors. Additionally, the sustainable publishing platform made possible by the IR allows these journals to live on even after their founders or current editorial boards have left.

“We all felt like it was our baby. Now we have people who believe in it and we can pass it to them,” Beatty told Campbell. “I feel more comfortable and confident in graduating, knowing that this is probably going to last beyond me.”

Want to learn more about student journals? This webinar by Stephanie Davis-Kahl and Michael Seeborg describes the development of a student economics journal at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Iowa State's student-run Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis

Iowa State’s student-run Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis


Congratulations to the Second Graduating Class of IR Managers!

April 8, 2014

Following up on the success of our first IR Manager Certification Course held in March of 2013, last month we welcomed a new class of 18 energetic and enthusiastic IR administrators from institutions across the US and Canada to our office in Berkeley, CA. The course provided useful information about a wide variety of IR related topics and hands-on activities for both new and experienced administrators alike.

“It was a great review and tune-up. My IR will be better as a result of what I learned here,” said Janelle Wertzberger, who’s been managing Gettysburg College’s repository, The Cupola, since it launched nearly two years ago. “The entire Consulting Services team is so supportive and helpful. Bepress offers far more than the usual vendor relationship—they are true library partners.”

Session topics ranged from DIY environmental surveys and recruiting content, to special collections and supporting data in the IR. Attendees also participated in several topic table discussions and hours of one-on-one meetings with their consultants.

“You guys covered a ton of info and I know where to go when I develop more specific questions or run into issues,” Kelly Riddle of the University of San Diego said. “I came away with scads of ideas!”

The course ran from March 25 through 27, with daily small group lunches at local restaurants that provided an excellent opportunity for attendees to network and share insights with their peers in a fun, relaxed setting. As always, we wrapped up with a celebratory dinner and graduation ceremony in downtown Berkeley.

We’re excited to announce our class of graduates:

Paul Blobaum, Governors State University
Heather Brown, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Chris Burns, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Sam Byrd, Virginia Commonwealth University
Conor Cote, Montana Tech Library
Laura Davis, James Madison University
Alissa Fial, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Harrison W. Inefuku, Iowa State University
Ann Kaste, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Sandra Klein, Notre Dame Law School
Yumi Ohira, University of Wyoming
Benjamin Panciera, Connecticut College
Kelly Riddle, University of San Diego
Charlotte Roh, UMass Amherst
Laurie Urquiaga, Brigham Young Law School
Sarah Wegley, Governors State University
Janelle Wertzberger, Gettysburg College
Linda Woodcock, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Congratulations graduates!

To learn more about future courses in IR management or scholarly publishing, contact Ann Taylor ( or Eli Windchy (

photo 3

The 2014 bepress University graduates.

Check out Richard Poynder’s Interview with bepress CEO Jean-Gabriel Bankier

April 7, 2014

Independent journalist and renowned open access advocate Richard Poynder recently published a lengthy interview with our President and CEO, Jean-Gabriel Bankier. The interview touches on a wide range of topics, from how Digital Commons supports open access publishing to Bankier’s thoughts on the research community “taking back ownership” of scholarly communications.

See an excerpt from the interview below and read the full transcript on Poynder’s blog here.

Excerpt from Richard Poynder interview

An excerpt from journalist Richard Poynder’s interview with bepress CEO Jean-Gabriel Bankier.

Open Access Law Scholarship Booming on the Law Review Commons

April 3, 2014

The Law Review Commons, the biggest open access law review portal on the web, has grown by nearly 75 percent since this time last year. Over 170 law reviews are now represented on the site, with top publications from the University of Pennsylvania Law School among the recent adopters. The energy behind open-access law scholarship has been steadily rising within the law school community for several years now, and at bepress we’re proud to support this movement and our Digital Commons law schools through the rapidly expanding Law Review Commons.

The new Digital Commons Readership Activity Map, now live on the Law Review Commons, is an excellent visual representation of this rapid-fire growth. With more than 3,000 readers per hour, it just might be the most active online database of legal scholarship in the world. Within seconds of visiting the map, you’ll see pins flying left and right, each one showing exactly where an article is being downloaded from the Law Review Commons in real-time. From Delhi to Delaware, it’s clear that open-access law scholarship is on the rise!

If you’re interested in joining the Law Review Commons or would like to know more, please contact us at

law review map

The Readership Activity Map on the Law Review Commons.

Offering a Publishing Outlet Leads to Influx of Voluntary Submissions from Law School Clinics, Centers, and Institutions

April 1, 2014

Law libraries have found that institutes, centers, and clinics at their schools often have a strong need to publish materials like reports or white papers. Several great examples of these types of materials can be found in FLASH: Fordham Law Archive of Scholarship and History.

Fordham University School of Law Librarian Todd Melnick initiated the development of these collections by approaching the head of the Leitner Center with an offer to publish mission reports and images from the center’s Ghana Summer Program. Once the potential for a stable web presence with high visibility became known, directors of other centers came forward seeking the same services from FLASH: a secure, findable, good-looking, and persistent location, as well as regular download reports. “It’s important to make the IR known, organize the site well, and be diligent about metadata; but once it gets a reputation people will actively want to participate,” says Todd.

Other IR managers have had similar experiences, in which active recruitment of content from centers, institutes, or clinics eventually gave way to voluntary submissions. Pamela Bluh of UM Carey Law, Anne Burnett of UGA Law, and Janet Fischer of GGU Law all say that reaching out to these groups helped cement support for the IR and establish a steady flow of new content, in addition to providing a much-needed publishing platform for unique documents.

Do any clinics, centers, or institutes at your law school have a need the library could fill?


FLASH: The Fordham Law Archive of Scholarship and History

Digital Commons Now Has Ten Times More Storage and Expanded Support for Data!

March 27, 2014

Data management is a big topic in the library world right now, and bepress has been working hard to meet the evolving data needs of our community. Today we’re excited to share our latest development improvements, which include a tenfold increase in storage and support for larger file sizes and data sets, among other things.

Since the launch of Digital Commons in 2002, bepress has steadily increased our file handling capabilities to stay ahead of the needs of the community. With the most recent improvements to the system, we can now accept files up to 2GB in size, making Digital Commons an ideal solution for the majority of publishable data sets generated by scholars. We’ve also doubled our bandwidth, enabling us to handle these bigger files with greater speed.


Increasing file capacity on Digital Commons

In addition to this work, we’ve also spent the last year updating our storage infrastructure. The new infrastructure is being developed on the MogileFS platform, which allows us to sustainably grow along with our subscribers. As a result, we are raising our storage cap from 1 TB to 10 TB—offering ten times more free storage to Digital Commons subscribers and allowing us to stay well ahead of your storage needs in the future. Most of these changes are “under the hood,” meaning they will not be noticed by you or your users; however, we are also fine-tuning our submission page to be more responsive to file size and type.

We’re excited about these improvements, but want you to know that they’re just the beginning. Digital Commons already offers excellent discoverability for data sets, and we’re working on new initiatives to help the community better support data needs on campus. Want to learn more about publishing data? Register for our webinar, “Getting Started with Research Data in your Repository” on April 24th.

Digital Commons Community: You’re Looking Amazing from Here!

March 25, 2014

Most of the time at our bepress office in beautiful Berkeley, California, we are heads down and focused on supporting you, just as you are heads down supporting your faculty and students needs to gather, organize, distribute, and preserve their scholarly output. Running a successful repository program is hard work. We all know it. It can be easy to lose sight of big picture successes in the daily hustle and bustle of details.

So it’s important that every now and then we stop, pull our heads up, and take a moment to look at what you, part of our wonderful Digital Commons community, have accomplished. Seeing the raw numbers behind this success put a big smile on our face at bepress, and we wanted to share our good feelings with the people that made it happen.


The figures in this table are staggering, and we’re so proud of the incredible growth your IRs have shown in a few short years. Thanks to you for your hard work; now let’s sit back and let these numbers do the talking for a while.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements in the Digital Commons Community, April 2014

March 20, 2014

ALA Midwinter and SPARC are over, but the Digital Commons community is still busy speaking and presenting in the month of April!

The University of San Diego will be hosting its first annual Digital Initiatives Symposium on April 9, 2014, with numerous presentations and panels on a wide variety of topics. The event will conclude with a bepress Digital Commons user group meeting, led  by bepress staff.

Speakers from the Digital Commons community include:

  • Lee Van Orsdel, Dean of University Libraries at Grand Valley State University, will be giving the closing remarks for the event.
  • Debra Skinner from Georgia Southern University, will present “Just in Time! Digital Commons@Georgia Southern Offers a Suite of Services for the Entire Campus.”
  • Loretta Parham and Elizabeth McClenney, from the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Atlanta University Center will speak about the various digital programs and initiatives at their institution in “Introducing and Sustaining Digital Initiatives at an HBCU.”
  • Jill Bunch, Chris Vinson, and Andy Wesolek of Clemson University will discuss their experience moving beyond ProQuest for publishing graduate research in “Going NoQuest: How and Why One University Looked Beyond ProQuest to Publish and Manage its Electronic Theses and Dissertations.”
  • Allegra Swift of the Claremont Colleges Library will share how they have used Digital Commons to showcase undergraduate work in a variety of formats in “More Than Just a Pretty Picture: Challenges, Pitfalls, Opportunities, and Successes in Sharing Undergraduate Research with the World.”
  • Michele Wyngard of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo will share her library’s investigation into preservation, special collections, and data in “Beyond Backups: Exploring Digital Preservation Solutions for Locally Created Content.”
  • Terri Fishel from Macalester College will be presenting on incorporating the production and publication of a peer-reviewed journal into undergraduate curriculum in “Publishing Student Journals: Integrating into the Undergraduate Curriculum.”
  • Frances Wright and Nichole Rustad at the University of Dayton will focus on the evolution of their digital collection management practices in “What’s in YOUR Institutional Repository? It Can Be So Much More Than Scholarship and eJournals.”

Registration for the event ends March 25. For more information or to register, visit:

If you’ll be speaking or presenting soon, please let us know—we’d love to hear about it! Email us at

Film Preservation No Longer Out of Reach for Smaller Libraries

March 11, 2014

Film preservation can seem like an insurmountable project for small libraries—restoring and digitizing nitrate and acetate film stock is an arcane and technically-demanding process, and once it’s digitized, how can it be shared with a wide audience? In an article in Public Services Quarterly, the University of Puget Sound’s Benjamin Tucker identifies tools that bring film preservation within the reach of small libraries—digitization vendors, web streaming services, and, finally, the university’s Digital Commons repository, Sound Ideas.

The university’s video collection included archival videos of campus events from the 1930s through the 1970s that were to be digitized and added to the repository to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the school. Benjamin opened decades-old film canisters to discover decaying (and highly flammable) 16mm nitrate film. Realizing the overhead involved in digitizing the films in-house, the library turned to a local vendor that was able to convert the film to digital files at “a small fraction of the cost of the most basic digitization equipment.” The files were uploaded to Vimeo and finally loaded into an attractive gallery in Sound Ideas, where they are showcased as part of a larger collection of historical UPS material.

The library’s next step is to collaborate with other organizations on campus to increase awareness of the film collection and get background information from alumni. Already, a history professor recognized a current member of the University’s Board of Trustees in one of the 1960s films, who, Benjamin writes, “was delighted to see the old footage” and “was able to give us a rough date of the creation and identify many of the people in the film.” As Benjamin writes, “your library’s lack of facilities or previous experience with motion pictures isn’t an insurmountable obstacle to providing user access to unique films.” We’re glad that Digital Commons can be part of the solution!

sound ideas

The University of Puget Sound’s Digital Commons Repository, Sound Ideas.


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