Digital Scholarship History


Digitization and digital collections

Digitization and digital collection building began at the Rod Library in the Technical Services Department in fall 2001 using the CONTENTdm platform. Digital Collections contains a variety of collections including the UNI Yearbooks, UNI Panther Athletics, Malcolm Price Laboratory School, Art on Campus, etc. During the Spring 2019 semester, the collections in CONTENTdm were moved to UNI ScholarWorks. See information about UNI ScholarWorks below.

University of Northern Iowa's institutional repository, UNI ScholarWorks

UNI ScholarWorks, a service of the University of Northern Iowa Rod Library, is a virtual showcase for UNI's research, scholarship, and creative energies. Launched in February 2015 by Rod Library with funding from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. UNI ScholarWorks was originally intended as an institutional repository (IR) for the university that would also provide digital preservation and free open access (OA) of materials. Today, UNI ScholarWorks provides worldwide access to thousands of articles, books, journals, conference presentations, and other types of research. We believe the service contributes to making the scholarship produced by UNI faculty, students, and staff more accessible and thus contributes to worldwide scholarship. In addition to preserving the intellectual output of our community, we increase the visibility and demonstrate the quality and depth of scholarship that takes place at the University of Northern Iowa.

The institutional repository provides outstanding metrics for quantifying the global reach of the output of the University of Northern Iowa. The repository reached a half million downloads in early January 2019. There are 25,645 works collected to UNI ScholarWorks with over 1.5 million global downloads. The works have been accessed by 34,000 institutions and read by people in more than 190 countries and territories. UNI ScholarWorks averages about 1200 -1500 global downloads per day (data collected on 11/4/2020). UNI ScholarWorks adds works throughout the year, increasing the impact of University of Northern Iowa’s scholarship. View the repository’s growth over time, updated monthly (Activity by Year).

The qualitative information received through the UNI ScholarWorks Feedback Form demonstrates the value of the repository to users.

  • Tabea, a student from Germany states, "... I'm writing my master thesis in the field of Marketing. Having access to this publication [Relevant decision criteria and their level of importance in consumers' choice of hospital] helped me gain valuable insights regarding the topic of my thesis.."
  • Hannah, a student, states, "As a graduate student, I can continue my research and learning experience knowing I have reliable resources at hand!"
  • A graduate student states, "Access to this publication [Dungeons and Dragons and Literacy: The Role Tabletop Role-Playing Games can Play in Developing Teenagers' Literacy Skills and Reading Interests] has helped me expand my research scope for my Master's thesis."

UNI ScholarWorks has been registered with the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) since February 2019. OpenDOAR is a global directory of Open Access repositories and their policies. It enables the identification, browsing and search for repositories, based on a range of features. There are over 4,017 open access repositories listed in the directory. See the UNI ScholarWorks OpenDOAR entry (OpenDOAR ID 4284) for details.

UNI ScholarWorks has been registered with the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) since spring 2016. ROAR is a searchable international database indexing the creation, location, and growth of open access institutional repositories and their contents. To date (spring 2018), over 3,000 institutional and cross-institutional repositories have been registered. See the UNI ScholarWorks ROAR entry (ROAR ID 11437) for details.

Digital Scholarship unit

When Rod Library reorganized in July 2015, the Digital Scholarship unit was formed within the new Content Discovery Division. The unit offers digital scholarship services that span everything from repository services, digital publishing, copyright and fair use expertise, and digital scholarship workshops and consultations. In December 2019, the unit moved to a new location on the first floor of Rod Library to LIB 125. Faculty and students are welcome to visit the unit to have questions answered and to setup appointments to discuss possible projects.