Deep Blue droplet
Deep Blue
Getting Started with Deep Blue: Frequently Asked Questions

Deep Blue is the University of Michigan's permanent, safe, and accessible service for representing our rich intellectual community online. The primary goal of Deep Blue is to provide access to the work that makes Michigan a leader in research, teaching, and creativity. By representing our scholars, from faculty through students, as individuals and as members of groups, Deep Blue provides a framework for preserving and finding the best scholarly and artistic work done at the University.

What follows describes the types of works and collections the UM Library envisions for Deep Blue, and how we gather, preserve, and offer access to them. Because Deep Blue is designed to meet not only today's needs, but also new needs as they evolve, this document is a work in progress. Some aspects will undergo revision to reflect current needs and norms identified by UM faculty, staff, students, and the collections they create.


Content and Collections

Intellectual Property Rights

Who Can Use Deep Blue

Depositing Your Work

Managing Content

User Support Services

Preservation and Accessibility



Content and Collections


What types of content can be deposited in Deep Blue?

We encourage the deposit of works with the following characteristics:

Examples of these works include:

The Library has begun to populate Deep Blue with new and existing digital works identified as having current and lasting value to the campus. We will continue to do that, but our goal for Deep Blue is to have decisions on what it should contain and offer be made mainly by you and the other members of the UM community at large. So, we encourage you to deposit your work and to contact us if you have format conversion needs.


Who can deposit items in Deep Blue?

Individuals can deposit items -- defined as individual files/documents or related groups of files -- into collections and collection administrators can create groups that can create new collections and deposit items into collections. Example: A faculty member giving a presentation at a conference can deposit the slides for that presentation, the data behind the corresponding research, audio and/or video clips supporting the research, a working paper about the research, and so on, all as one package to be identified with a single persistent URL to ensure reliable access.

We encourage the inclusion of excellent student work as well, though it must be deposited through a UM faculty or staff member associated with that work. This may happen directly (e.g., for Honors theses) or indirectly in the case of officially recognized UM groups or organizations with associated faculty sponsors (e.g., the UM Solar Car Team). Ph.D. and Masters theses are a special case. Ph.D. theses are handled through Rackham, and Masters theses are handled by individual departments granting the degree. (Note that depositing student work will require additional permissions from the student in accordance with FERPA regulations.)

To get started, contact the administrator of the collection you'd like to add your work to, or contact Deep Blue.


What are Deep Blue collections?

Deep Blue organizes its content around collections to simplify the process of depositing your work and to provide you with the most flexibility for finding work interesting to you. Schools, colleges, departments, research institutes, and other large groups can create collections in Deep Blue to group related works at the broadest levels.

Collections allow people to explore a specific area in depth, or to focus specifically on only the areas they find interesting. So, collections contain the work of more focused/smaller groups and individuals.

In the long term we hope to provide topical access that groups related content together irrespective of who deposits it. With this structure in place, you will be able to search or browse by collection, topic, broader discipline, or type of work (e.g. theses and dissertations). As we begin to offer searching across many universities and associate our content with other Deep Blue equivalents at peer institutions, scholars worldwide will have a rich and discipline-specific resource.


Who can create new collections?

Individuals can create collections for depositing their own work, and collection administrators can create groups that can build collections together. For example, a faculty member can place presentation material in her own collection. She can also administer and create other collections that gather together the work of her research group so all their presentations, datasets, etc. are browsable and searchable as a subset of the University's works. Colleagues from other universities are likely to find these groupings helpful for finding the work that's most interesting to them. To get started, contact the administrator of the collection to which you'd like to add your work to, or contact Deep Blue.


Who can become an administrator?

Each collection will have one or more administrator who will help the Library define specific procedures that best suit its needs. This administrator can be a faculty or staff member from a school/college/etc., or can be a Library liaison to that school/college. We are happy to help you set up collections and work with you to set up access, membership, and other parameters. The collection structure is intended to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of individuals and their colleagues, and the Library commits to making Deep Blue responsive to the changing needs and nature of the creative, intellectual, and artistic work done here. Please contact Deep Blue to get started.

For more information about community responsibilities, see Roles and Responsibilities of Deep Blue Partners.


Intellectual Property Rights


Honoring your rights as a creator is a fundamental aspect of Deep Blue's support of your work and the University's mission of creating knowledge. The service's deposit agreements, policies, and principles ensure that you retain all your intellectual property rights when depositing your work.

Deep Blue also supports the University's mission of communicating the knowledge created here to the citizens of Michigan and the world, and does so by offering a service geared towards providing the broadest possible access to our creative, intellectual, and artistic work. We encourage you to explore all means of allowing others to build upon your work. For example, we offer use of the "Creative Commons" license as a supported option for your collection.

Because the topic of intellectual property has specific legal implications, Deep Blue has a formal policy. It has four parts:


What rights do I grant the University when I deposit my work in Deep Blue?

When you agree to our standard "Author's Deposit Agreement" (see below) at the time of deposit you grant Deep Blue the non-exclusive right to:

The "Author's Deposit Agreement".


The deposit agreement mentions "original work." What does that mean?

In most cases it's obvious when a work is original to you, especially when you are its sole creator. Other examples of original work that you may deposit include:

Related to that, in the third and fourth paragraph of the agreement, you represent that you have the right to make the deposit and that you're not infringing on the rights of others by doing so. If you have questions about the status of your work, a number of resources exist on campus to assist you, including "Copyrights at the University of Michigan".


What rights do I retain?

You retain all your intellectual property rights. The limited rights you grant to Deep Blue are non-exclusive, and your ability to grant, assign, or retain any and all rights you had before your deposit does not change as a result of your deposit. Please note that some publishers may ask that you grant them exclusive rights to your work, thus limiting your ability to use it as you see fit and perhaps even limiting your ability to deposit it in Deep Blue.


Who Can Use Deep Blue


Who can search, browse, and download from Deep Blue?

Deep Blue is designed to provide your work the widest possible exposure, so it is open to the world for searching. You may, however, choose to deposit your work but prevent it from being seen in full for a limited time. You may also choose to allow people to find out about the existence of your work, but not download the work itself, again for a limited time. See "Can I restrict access to the item I deposited?" below for more details.


What conditions of use does Deep Blue grant people for my deposit?

As a depositor, you control the conditions of use for your work. Depositing your work in Deep Blue does not affect your copyright, so you retain all the rights you had before making it available through this service. You are only granting UM the non-exclusive right to distribute the work. See the section on Intellectual Property Rights for more information about rights, limitations of use, and suggestions for making sure your work is accessible the way you want it to be.


I just found some interesting work done by someone else in Deep Blue and am about to download it -- what can I do with that work once I have it?

Directly above you'll see that depositors -- typically the creators/authors -- control the rights to their work. Unless otherwise noted in Deep Blue or on the work itself, you should treat the work like any other copyrighted material, and may make "Fair Use" of it as allowed by law.


Can I restrict access to the item I deposited? If so, to whom, and for how long?

Yes. Since the work you deposit is complete and ready for distribution (see "What types of deposits do we encourage?"), immediate and worldwide access is the default (and preferred) status for all material in Deep Blue. But we know situations exist where you won't want to offer immediate access. So, legal requirements the University is bound to honor (such as FOIA requests) notwithstanding, you can limit access to items in Deep Blue collections for a period of time defined by the community or collection into which you're depositing your work.

For example, you can limit access to an item to only people from your research group or department for a period of time after you deposit it. That way everyone from your team/department can find your work and use it, while those outside cannot. This limitation can be extended to the full metadata as well. This limited "embargo period," agreed on by the e collection's administrator(s) and Deep Blue staff, will determine when the full description and the item itself will become accessible to the UM community -- and later the world -- at large. Standard embargo periods are:

You can also limit access to an item to people on the UM campus. This limitation does not extend to the descriptive metadata -- those outside will be able to find out about the item when they search Deep Blue. Here again, a limited embargo period can be applied to worldwide access to the item itself.

Your collection administrator, together with the Deep Blue staff at the Library, define the embargo options offered on your deposit form. Contact your collection administrator if you have questions.


Depositing Your Work


What do I have to do to deposit work?

For UM faculty and staff, the first step is to either identify a collection to work with, or to create one. (The process is different if you are a student. See "Who can deposit items in Deep Blue?" above for more information.) We encourage you to browse Deep Blue and then contact Library staff at Deep Blue who will assist you in contacting the right collection administrators to gain permission to deposit your work. We can also help you create a collection if that's more appropriate.


What descriptive information do I assign to the work at time of deposit?

To provide searchability beyond simply the full text, depositors must provide:

We encourage you to provide more complete descriptive information -- also known as metadata -- by filling out as many fields on the deposit form as possible. This will allow Deep Blue to offer more ways of finding and retrieving the work based on your special knowledge of its contents. If you would like to customize your collection's interface so you can ensure more than Deep Blue's minimum metadata are required, please contact Deep Blue.


Will the Library enhance my deposit by, for example, adding additional metadata?

Deep Blue is intended to reflect the campus and its scholarly activity, and to make the work done here accessible as promptly as possible. When the Library finds that we can improve access by enhancing the information about a deposited item we will do our best to make those enhancements. If you wish to have us do this for items you deposit, please contact Deep Blue and we will be glad to discuss how best to accomplish it and whether any costs will be involved.

Works that include raw data (such as social science datasets, GIS files) are noteworthy in that metadata for them needs to be far more detailed than for other items since author, title or even a full-text search will typically not help someone new to the material determine whether those data are of interest. Please contact us at the time of deposit so we can assist you in describing them more fully.


When depositing items, can I insert superscripts, subscripts, and other special characters in titles, abstracts, etc.?

Yes, although doing so is not as simple as cutting/pasting from a typical word processor document. You need to do a little extra work, and use a UTF-8 or -16 font; 'Arial' is a good choice for Roman characters, and one that you can commonly find on a PC or Macintosh.

To insert special characters, in Microsoft Windows XP you use the Character Map program (START/Programs/Utilities/Character Map). On a Macintosh, you use the Character Palette (under the flag icon showing your keyboard type in the upper right hand of the screen). Pick a UTF-8 or -16 font from the Map/Palette and you'll notice that in these fonts a superscript 2 is a separate character from a 2 upon which you might apply e.g. Microsoft Word's character formatting. So to enter a title into Deep Blue, you would first copy and paste the title from your word processing document into a new one. Then:

Then, copy and paste this title into the appropriate field on your Deep Blue form. Though this sounds complex, it's actually harder to describe than it is to do. If you have any questions, please contact Deep Blue.


Will the Library enhance my deposit in other ways?

When the Library determines we can improve access by providing a new context for the work (such as representing the work in additional collections beyond the one you deposited it in) or better preserve your work by changing its format, we will do so.


Does Deep Blue assign any metadata automatically?

At the time of deposit Deep Blue automatically assigns

This information is used to manage content over time.

If you would like to further customize your collection interface to add more information automatically, please contact Deep Blue.


If I don't want to assign a lot of descriptive metadata to my deposit, will the Library do it for me?

Yes. The Library will assign additional metadata whenever it can do so. For example, we can help you add the Michigan Metadata in use by BlueStream and other projects, or connect you with a cataloger who can help you better describe your content.

Assigning metadata can be time-consuming and therefore costly, so if you need help from the Library, please contact Deep Blue and we will work with you to reach an agreement on how to accomplish this most effectively.


Can I deposit content in any format?

Our goal of providing access to your work means that Deep Blue accepts all digital formats. However, not all formats can receive the same level of preservation support.

For more detailed information about format support, see the Preservation and Accessibility section.


What types of deposits does the Library discourage?

The guidelines above are inclusive, and purposely so, as we hope to have Deep Blue represent the UM intellectual environment as broadly as possible. Deciding what should be included in Deep Blue is largely the function of the individual depositors and the collections with which they're affiliated. Individuals and collection administrators may wish to work closely with their Library liaisons and may decide it's more efficient and convenient to delegate some of the deposit decisions to them.

While there may be cases where the Library will need to discuss deposits with you, or even remove a deposit, we anticipate these cases will be rare. There are however some items that you may not be able to deposit or that may find a better home, either temporarily or permanently, elsewhere at UM. Two examples of the latter:

Deep Blue may in exceptional cases decline a submission due to technical challenges or out-of-scope content. If you have questions please contact Deep Blue and we will be glad to help you determine the best place for your item(s).


What type of already existing materials can I add to Deep Blue?

Deep Blue will focus on new digital materials, and the Library will also experiment with making some of its large digital collections of UM-based work available as well.

That said, we encourage collection administrators and individuals (including Library selectors and departmental liaisons) to continue to identify excellent but less current materials, both in digital and non-digital form. UM has produced a tremendous amount of interesting work, and that will require prioritization, especially when that work must be digitized to make it available through Deep Blue. Please contact Deep Blue if you have items like this and we will work with you to make them available.


How large a deposit can I make?

The size of an item does not matter as such. There are practical limitations, though, especially where video, large datasets and similar items are concerned. Because of network constraints, depositing files larger than 250 Mb will probably require the assistance of the Library, which can provide better means for reliably depositing them. (For instance, we will want to compare checksums on your file before and after deposit to verify that the file transferred correctly and completely.) We will handle these on a case-by-case basis, so please contact contact Deep Blue if you plan to deposit large files.


Can I withdraw a deposit?

Yes. Deep Blue is designed to provide long-term, permanent access to the items you deposit. However, we know circumstances can arise where a deposit will need to be removed from view. When this becomes necessary, contact your collection administrator and together we will determine the best course of action to take.

However, since any item in Deep Blue may have been cited via its persistent URL, we will always supply a "tombstone" whenever the item is requested. The tombstone will contain the metadata for the item, with one of the following messages indicating why the item was removed:

"Removed from view by legal order."
"Removed from view by the University of Michigan."
"Removed from view at request of the author."

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 we will make these items unavailable for harvesting by services such as OAIster and Google.


Can I remove a file from an existing deposit?

Though it is possible under certain circumstances, to preserve the historical record of your scholarship, and because others may have cited the old version, the preferred way to handle this is to clearly mark the old, out-of-date version as "Superceded" in both the 'Description' field for the file and add a coversheet (or its equivalent) to the file itself. Contact your collection administrator for help with this.


User Support Services


Deep Blue's basic services provide a system that allows Deep Blue depositors and administrators to deposit their work and all users to access items in Deep Blue. Management services provide ongoing support for creating new and enhancing existing Deep Blue communities, responding to customer inquiries, and supplying system monitoring, back-up, and recovery. We are investigating services beyond these which may be offered for a fee.

The Library commits to the Deep Blue Deposit Services (for already authorized users) and Access Services (for all), as defined in Deep Blue Services on a 24x7 basis. Deep Blue Management Services, supporting collection set-up and related tasks as defined in "Deep Blue Services" are provided Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm.


I'm trying to access Deep Blue and am getting system errors/no response. Who should I report this to?

If you are trying to search/browse Deep Blue and it is not responding, please contact Deep Blue to report the outage.


I'm trying to deposit my work in Deep Blue, but even though I'm an authorized user and can log in I can't do so now. Who should I report this to?

Please contact Deep Blue to report the outage.


How can I get more help with Management Services?

The Library will provide both web-based/email and telephone support to all Deep Blue users. Support will be provided Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm. All inquiries will receive a return response via e-mail or telephone within one business day.

Contact Deep Blue by email



Library liaisons and subject specialists also work with the Deep Blue coordinator and Systems Administrator to provide of End-User Support Services, with back-up from the Digital Library Production Services and Core Services staff. For a complete definition of services see Deep Blue Services.


Preservation and Accessibility


Deep Blue is committed to providing long-term access to every deposit you make. At the same time, while the Library has a long history and many years of experience in the area of preservation, we recognize that both the digital landscape and our understanding of the complexities of digital preservation continue to evolve. We anticipate that over time both the public and private sectors will develop more tools and techniques to facilitate long-term preservation of digital information, so these preservation principles and policies will continue to evolve.

For more specific information about our commitment to preservation, see the Deep Blue Preservation and Format Support Policy.


Can you explain the different levels of format support you provide for my work?

You may deposit work in any digital format in Deep Blue, but not all formats can receive the same level of preservation commitment. Deep Blue has designated three levels of support we can offer, based on criteria such as the wide deployment of the format, availability of publicly-documented specifications, and the expectation that tools will be available to undertake controlled transformation or migration. They are described in detail in the Deep Blue Preservation and Format Support Policy.

TIFF (.tiff, .tif) is an example of a "Level 1" type of format. Widely used and an open standard, we can support it to our fullest extent. An example of a "Level 2" format is an MS Word document (.doc). Because Microsoft owns and controls the specifications for this format, but doesn't publish them, some features like macros may not operate between versions regardless of our best efforts. Windows Media Audio (.wma), because of its close ties to a specific platform and because it is far less common than MP3 or WAV formats, serves as a good example of a "Level 3" format that we can only commit to preserving at the bit level. In other words, in the future you will be able to download an exact copy of the deposited file, but it may be difficult to open and use it without legacy hardware and/or software.


What other preservation services does Deep Blue provide?

For all content you deposit, Deep Blue will provide secure storage, backup, management, fixity-checks, and periodic refreshment by copying the data to new storage media. We will also undertake appropriate format monitoring and provide adequate staffing and other resources to support the services offered. In addition, Deep Blue staff is developing best-practice guidelines to help depositors convert or create documents that achieve the level of quality needed for information capture and the highest degree of preservability over time. Further, we make the following commitments to preservation:

What formats receive the Highest Level (Level 1) of preservation?

For a list of all recognized Deep Blue formats and their current support levels, see the Deep Blue Preservation and Format Support Policy. We expect to add to and revise the support levels as standards emerge for digital preservation of additional formats.


Why isn't PDF considered a Level 1 format? What is PDF/A?

Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF), as you currently generate it using most commercial applications on your computer, is a proprietary format owned and controlled by Adobe Systems, Inc. So despite its wide use, it is not publicly documented at this time. An international preservation standard for PDF/A -- "ISO 19005-1 for PDF/A-1," where the "A" stands for archive -- exists. We have developed guidelines for creating PDFs to which we can apply our highest level (Level 1) of preservation support. Please contact Deep Blue for more information.


Can you preserve all the relationships in items made up of multiple files?

At present, the three levels of preservation commitment are made at the individual file level. We will need to evaluate complex content -- items comprised of files in various formats that interact with each other -- to determine whether the operational relationships between the files can be maintained. Executables and some files that rely on a specific hardware/software environment will also require additional evaluation because not only the format but the access environment must be considered in determining preservation issues. Please contact the Deep Blue Preservation Group if you wish to deposit any of these content types.


How accessible are Deep Blue documents for people with disabilities?

Deep Blue accepts many formats and places few restrictions on depositors. As such, the files found here may vary in their accessibility features and their usability for people with disabilities. We encourage all depositors to make their work as accessible as possible, since this ensures ease of use and the broadest possible readership for their work.

If you are unable to use a specific file in its current format, please select the Contact Us link and we can modify it to make it more accessible to you.

Since many of the items in Deep Blue are in PDF format, we have created guidelines for creating high quality, accessible PDFs.

There are many applications that offer more robust capabilities that support a variety of file formats. On the U-M Ann Arbor campus, you can get assistance installing and using them via the Adaptive Software and Hardware site , U-M Office of Services for Students with Disabilities , and Library Accessibility Services .



You can find Deep Blue's privacy policy here.