University of Illinois


University of Illinois: American Library Association Archives

The University of Illinois contracted with the American Library Association to provide a digital repository and associated infrastructure so that ALA historical data of all types, as well as current ALA member publications, could be preserved and made publicly accessible.

The American Library Association (ALA) Archives documents the history of the American Library Association and Librarianship. The Archives is open for public use and is managed by the University of Illinois Archives. The ALA DSpaceDirect digital institutional repository, ALAIR (, provides an open access repository committed to collecting, permanently storing, and providing digital access to the publications and intellectual work of the American Library Association. It is organized into communities reflecting the Divisions, Offices, Committees, and Roundtables that make up ALA.

“The process was straightforward and we received very good support from the DSpaceDirect Team. It was clear what we needed to supply because a single email listed all the details that we need to supply, in order to get the service up and running.

A bonus is that DSpaceDirect runs the latest version of DSpace – no in-house upgrades necessary!” -- Cara Bertram, Visiting Archival Operations and Reference Specialist, University of Illinois/American Library Association

The ALA Archives is comprised of physical and digital resources that can include meeting minutes, administrative documents, reports, whitepapers, newsletters, web pages, and other types of publications. The goal of ALAIR is to be a general purpose institutional repository that includes digital scholarly materials as well as a great deal of content that reflects the scope of the ALA community enterprise.

Repository Overview

Bennington College needed an economical solution with technical support for storing and making student's electronic theses and dissertations accessible. Additionally, the college has a collection of scanned high quality images and film that they wish to preserve in their IR.

DSpaceDirect is a good solution on several fronts. Wilson says, "We have a small staff and don't have an archivist. Keeping up with archival records is an ongoing challenge. There is an interest within the campus community to access the archive as as well as external audiences, such as scholars of modern dance history.  By making our archive accessible we will boost archival access for researchers on and off campus. Our records can be found on the Web with DSpace."

"We tried in a makeshift way to have the library catalog system store theses without success. There was no keyword searching capability. DSpace is a terrific solution for storing and making accessible student theses. All current theses will go directly into DSpace now and we are also reaching out to any alumni interested in adding their student work to repository." She explained.

Having the repository online so quickly facilitated preservation and archiving discussions–the live example is a good planning tool. Many valuable documents are fragile and getting digital facsimiles into the repository as digital back-ups is a significant advantage for Bennington. Currently houses about two thousand items after two months of operation.


The Crossett Library has started discussions about other uses for their new DSpace repository. Interactive learning opportunities such as using examples of students work as illustrations for how to participate in collaborative education will embed the DSpace repository as a valuable teaching tool.

The Open Access deposit of scholarly works by faculty members is still in the early stages. It may be facilitated by soliciting selected faculty members to participate as exemplars.

It was truly a turn-key installation experience and the training was top notch. Customization questions are starting to pop-up. We are at a point where some additional customization and learning more about how to do that ourselves will be helpful. On a daily basis the ticketing system works very well and our questions are answered in a timely way.