Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions
I have encountered the error message "The file is damaged and could not be repaired" when I try to download a file. What do I do?

This is a browser-based issue. This issue does not originate from the DigitalCommons software. Typically this error occurs with Firefox, but can also occur with other browsers. It occurs when attempting to load a large PDF file which utilizes the Adobe Acrobat plug-in within the browser. To bypass this error, right-click on the "Download" button link for the item. Then save the item to your desktop. You will then be able to access the item from your desktop.

Please note: Internet Explorer versions 8 and 9 do not currently support the right-click download option.

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I clicked on the 'Read Online' link but it prompts me to download something. What does this mean?

This is a known issue with the Firefox browser on the Mac platform. Rather than displaying any pdf file in the browser window, the browser will open an "open with/save to" dialog box. We recommend using the PC platform or a different browser, such as Chrome or Safari on the Mac, to use the "Read Online" lightbox.

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I want an item withdrawn from DigitalCommons@CalPoly. Who do I contact?

DigitalCommons@CalPoly is designed to provide long-term, persistent access to deposited items. In the event that Cal Poly receives a request to withdraw an item, the Library will embargo access to the item until a final determination is made. Please contact the Kennedy Library University Librarian (805.756.2345) with requests for removal of items from DigitalCommons@CalPoly.

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Where can I learn more about Institutional Repositories?

The Association of Research Libraries is a good resource for information about Institutional Repositories. The following paper, "The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper" by Raym Crow, defines Institutional Repositories and argues their merits within an academic institution.

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I have questions about the software or suggestions for software enhancements. Who do I contact?

The DigitalCommons is a hosted vendor-based solution from Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress). The Kennedy Library recommends contacting bepress directly if you have questions about the software or wish to provide suggestions on future software enhancements. The bepress support desk is available at .

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For Cal Poly Undergraduate Students
I’m looking for senior projects created by Cal Poly students. Where do I start?

All senior projects provided to the Robert E. Kennedy Library are indexed in the library catalog. We recommend that you first conduct a search in the library catalog to locate a senior project. The library catalog will indicate if an electronic or a microfiche copy of the item is available.

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How do I archive my Senior Project in the DigitalCommons@CalPoly?

Students are advised to first consult with your advisor on your specific departmental policies and procedures regarding senior projects. Forms, upload instructions and related resources are available on the Robert E. Kennedy Library website.

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I have supporting files, such as research datasets, that I’d like to upload as part of my senior project. Can I do this?

DigitalCommons@CalPoly provides the option to upload supplementary files to accompany the main senior project. A dataset is an example of a supplementary file. Supplementary files are intended to enhance the full text of the submission. Consult the upload instructions in the Senior Project Information Packet to learn how to do so.

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I have questions about my project. Who do I contact?

Students are advised to first consult with your advisor on your specific departmental policies and procedures regarding senior projects.

The Kennedy Library offers detailed upload instructions and resources available from their website.

, Senior Projects Coordinator, Robert E. Kennedy Library (phone: 805.756.2315) can assist you with specific inquiries related to the DigitalCommons@CalPoly.

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I am a Cal Poly alum. How may I archive my senior project in the DigitalCommons?

If you are a Cal Poly alumnus/a and you wish to have your project available on the DigitalCommons@CalPoly, you will need to formally grant permission to the university.

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Who owns the copyright to the completed senior project I authored?

The Cal Poly Intellectual Property Policy states:
"Students will normally own the copyright to the scholarly and creative publications they develop, including works fulfilling course requirements (term papers and projects), Senior Projects, and Masters Theses/Projects. Students retain copyright ownership as long as they are not paid for the work that results in the creation and do not receive extraordinary University resources in support of the work."

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Where can I learn more about copyright?

The Robert E. Kennedy Library offers intellectual property resources for the Cal Poly community. You may find it helpful to review the resources that are relevant to your line of inquiry.

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Can I withdraw my senior project?

DigitalCommons@CalPoly is designed to provide long-term, persistent access to deposited items. If Cal Poly receives a request from an author to withdraw their senior project, the Library will provide authors with relevant information about their options and implications for future access. Requests to withdraw your senior project should be directed to University Librarian Anna K. Gold in writing ().

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For Cal Poly Graduate Students
I’m looking for theses created by Cal Poly graduate students. Where do I start?

All theses submitted to the Robert E. Kennedy Library are indexed in the library catalog. We recommend that you first conduct a search in the library catalog to locate a thesis. The library catalog will indicate if an electronic or a hard copy of the thesis is available.

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I have questions about my electronic thesis. Who do I contact?

Please visit the Research and Graduate Programs website for specific instructions and formatting guidelines and requirements. , Thesis Editor, Research Graduate Programs Office (phone: 805.756.2328) can also assist you with specific related inquiries.

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How do I archive my completed thesis in the DigitalCommons?

Forms, guidelines and instructions are available on the Research and Graduate Programs website.

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I have supporting files, such as research datasets, that I’d like to upload as part of my thesis. Can I do this?

DigitalCommons@CalPoly provides the option to upload supplementary files to accompany the main thesis. A dataset is an example of a supplementary file. Supplementary files are intended to enhance the main submission. Consult the upload instructions in on the Research and Graduate Programs website to learn how to do so.

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I am a former Cal Poly graduate student. How may I archive my thesis in the DigitalCommons?

If you are a Cal Poly graduate program alumnus/a and you wish to have your thesis available on the DigitalCommons@CalPoly, you will need to formally grant permission to the university. Specific information on this process can be found at http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/policies.html.

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Who owns the copyright to my completed thesis?

The Cal Poly Intellectual Property Policy states:
"Students will normally own the copyright to the scholarly and creative publications they develop, including works fulfilling course requirements (term papers and projects), Senior Projects, and Masters Theses/Projects. Students retain copyright ownership as long as they are not paid for the work that results in the creation and do not receive extraordinary University resources in support of the work."

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Where can I learn more about copyright?

The Robert E. Kennedy Library offers intellectual property resources for the Cal Poly community. You may find it helpful to review the resources that are relevant to your line of inquiry.

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Can I withdraw my master’s thesis?

DigitalCommons@CalPoly is designed to provide long-term, persistent access to deposited items. If Cal Poly receives a request from an author to withdraw their master’s thesis, the request will be routed to the Research and Graduate Programs Office. Students may decide to contact the Research and Graduate Programs Office directly at 805.756.1508. As required by Title V in the California Code of Regulations, Cal Poly requires a culminating experience as part of all Master’s programs.

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For Cal Poly Faculty, Departments and Administrative Units
Who can submit content to the DigitalCommons@CalPoly?

Individuals affiliated with any Cal Poly college, department, lab, center, institute or other campus unit can contribute eligible content. For tenure-track and tenured faculty, the Kennedy Library can assist with locating, digitizing, clearing copyright and depositing your published scholarship in the DigitalCommons.

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What materials can be contributed?

The work should be scholarly in nature. Because deposits are intended to be permanent contributions to the repository, works that are in progress or ephemeral in nature are not recommended for contribution.

Examples of Eligible Materials:

  • Journal articles and essays
  • Conference proceedings, papers and/or presentations
  • White papers, technical reports and campus publications
  • Research reports from grant-funded projects with Open Access requirements
  • Research data sets

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What file formats are acceptable?

Although most digital formats can be uploaded to DigitalCommons@CalPoly, to assure long-term operability and improved search engine results of textual information, submissions in PDF format are encouraged. If a PDF is not available or your work exists only in print format, the library will assist you.

The library will make our best efforts to maintain the content, structure and functionality of work you deposit. However, not all formats can receive the same level of preservation commitment particularly with proprietary or uncommon file formats.

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What rights do I grant the University when I deposit my work in the DigitalCommons@CalPoly?

Individual authors retain their copyright, but are asked to complete a Non-Exclusive Licensing Agreement for materials deposited. If authors have signed over their copyright to publishers, the library will contact publishers for permission on the author's behalf. Requests for commercial use of materials found in the DigitalCommons@CalPoly will be referred back to the author.

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My work has been published in a journal and I don’t know if I still own copyright to my work. Can I still deposit my work?

Publishers customarily require that the writer give the ownership (copyright) of the paper to the publisher, in return for publication. Kennedy Library can assist with requesting copyright clearances for previously published materials and can provide information on how to retain rights for future work.

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As a tenure-track faculty member, what do I have to do to deposit my work?

To contribute your content to the DigitalCommons@CalPoly, please download and sign the DigitalCommons non-exclusive license. Send the signed copy of the license along with your list of publications to

Michele Wyngard
Digital Repository Coordinator
Robert E. Kennedy Library, Rm 103
Voice: 805.756.2315

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I just had a new publication come out. How do I get this recent work into DigitalCommons@CalPoly?

To contribute your new content to the DigitalCommons@CalPoly, please send the full citation or digital copy of your work to Michele Wyngard, .

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I have research datasets that I’d like make available in the DigitalCommons. Can I do this?

DigitalCommons@CalPoly welcomes research datasets that have been created by Cal Poly scholars. DigitalCommons@CalPoly staff ask that authors provide as much information about the data set as possible, to enable “discoverability” of the data. Authors should include information about the data including: title, author(s), keywords, links to associated published research, and a description of the experimental method used.

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I don’t have time to digitize or locate all my publications. Can the library to deposit my work on my behalf?

Absolutely! For tenure-track and tenured faculty, the Kennedy Library can assist with locating, digitizing, clearing copyright and depositing your published scholarship in the DigitalCommons.

If the Kennedy Library is depositing work on your behalf, you will be asked to sign and return a paper copy of the Non-Exclusive License along with your vita, specific citations, or original copies of your work.

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I want to self-submit my work. How do I do that?

For Cal Poly faculty and administrators, the first step is to contact Michele Wyngard, Digital Repository Coordinator, at (). She will assist you in the next steps in depositing your work.

Once you are set up to self-submit your content, you will be prompted by a click-through version of the Non-Exclusive License and will then have the opportunity to enter in descriptive information about you and your item. The library may later enhance the descriptive information to improve access to your work. For specific questions about entering in descriptive data, download the self-submission FAQ.

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Can I withdraw a deposit?

DigitalCommons@CalPoly is designed to provide long-term, persistent access to deposited items. If Cal Poly receives a request from an author to withdraw an item, the library will provide authors with relevant information, consult with the appropriate campus entities and comply. If Cal Poly receives a request from someone other than the author to withdraw an item, the Library will embargo access to the item until a final determination is made. Please contact the Kennedy Library University Librarian, Anna K. Gold (akgold@calpoly.edu | 805.756.2345) with requests for removal of items from DigitalCommons@CalPoly.

For information about DigitalCommons@CalPoly, please contact the Digital Repository Coordinator, Michele Wyngard (mwyngard@calpoly.edu | 805.756.2315).

Since any item within DigitalCommons may have been cited via its persistent URL, a removed item will always supply a “tombstone” whenever the item is requested. The tombstone will contain metadata for the item with a message indicating the item was removed. The tombstone metadata will be visible to those who already have its persistent URL, but your deposit and its metadata will no longer be searchable and the items will no longer be available for harvesting by services such as Google and OAIster.

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How do I get a SelectedWorks/ Personal Researcher page on the DigitalCommons?

SelectedWorks pages are created for tenure-track and tenured faculty and administrators who contribute their authored works to the DigitalCommons.

After you return a completed Non-Exclusive License to the DigitalCommons, a SelectedWorks site will be created for you. You will be contacted for review and approval. Once your content is posted in the DigitalCommons, your publications will populate in your SelectedWorks page. Your thumbnail image will then display in the SelectedWorks gallery, and on the DigitalCommons department and college sections.

Currently, the software cannot display the author’s SelectedWorks page in DigitalCommons until content has been posted.

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Information on my SelectedWorks site needs to be updated. What do I do?

The Kennedy Library will gladly update your SelectedWorks site. Contact DigitalCommons staff with your request.

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Why should I contribute my work?

The DigitalCommons@CalPoly makes faculty scholarship available in one central place online, enabling greater access to colleagues, students and new audiences. Because every item is assigned a unique, persistent URL, users can cite faculty work freely without worry or inconvenience of broken links. Studies have shown that articles are cited earlier and more often if they are made available in an open-access repository like the DigitalCommons@CalPoly. And integrated features including RSS feeds and "Tell a colleague" email notifications allow users to easily share work with others.

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What are the benefits of contributing my work?

Research has demonstrated that with appropriate search mechanisms added, open access online articles have appreciably higher citation rates than traditionally published articles. This type of visibility and awareness benefits both you as the creator and Cal Poly as an institution.

Specific benefits include:

  • Visibility of your work in a centralized location means more of your peers can find and cite your work (via searches in Google Scholar and other federated search engines), providing you with a wider audience.
  • Inclusion of your work in the full range of research conducted at Cal Poly provides you with institutional recognition.
  • Retain control of intellectual property rights to your work by granting a non-exclusive license to the DigitalCommons@CalPoly.
  • Context for your work, placing you side-by-side with the scholarly and creative contributions of your colleagues.
  • Create a digital archive of more of your work, including CVs and previously unpublished work, such as conference presentations and white papers.
  • Continuity so that your work is assured a stable online location that can be cited now and in the future.
  • Complements existing print and electronic sources in your field.

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I have suggestions for software enhancements. Who do I contact?

The DigitalCommons is a hosted vendor-based solution from Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress). The Kennedy Library recommends contacting bepress directly if you have questions about the software or wish to provide suggestions on future software enhancements. The bepress support desk is available at .

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Who can I contact for questions and assistance?

The Kennedy Library can assist with any additional questions that are not answered in the FAQ. To learn more about the DigitalCommons@CalPoly, download the DigitalCommons@CalPoly brochure or contact Michele Wyngard, Digital Repository Coordinator at . DigitalCommons staff are also available at .

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