OhioLINK Update - Fall 2008 - DRC

Ohio Digital Resource Commons: Save, Discover and Share Ohio's Hidden Knowledge


Ohio campuses are treasure troves of knowledge, but valuable resources are often hidden. Campuses hold special and historical collections in libraries, preprints, class lectures and learning objects created by faculty; students’ theses and research work, and historical campus information. Imagine being able to save, discover and share—free of charge—the instructional, research, historic and creative materials produced by the University System of Ohio and Ohio’s liberal arts colleges. Imagine the benefit to instruction and research that could come from a single access point to Ohio’s scholarly knowledge. Imagine being able to save your institution’s knowledge materials without having to fund the hardware, software and staff necessary to maintain the technical system. The Ohio Digital Resource Commons (DRC) uncovers this hidden knowledge and makes it freely available to scholars statewide and beyond.

The Digital Resource Commons provides a robust, statewide platform for OhioLINK members and other state organizations to rapidly publish and access information and resources produced by Ohio’s scholarly communities. Wright State University was the first institution to add materials to the DRC, beginning in 2007. Since then more than 20 institutions have started contributing to the commons. A wide variety of collections are in development including an archive of narratives exploring the literacy practices and values of U.S. citizens, Bowling Green State University’s Nickel Weekly novels from the late 1800s and early 1900s, cartoons by R.M. Brinkerhoff from the University of Toledo, and much more.

OhioLINK staff are also migrating the consortium’s commercial and institutional multimedia collections—including art and architecture images, educational films, and history and archives collections—from the Digital Media Center to the Digital Resource Commons in order to further the creation of a single access point to Ohio’s multimedia resources.

An Affordable Solution
The Digital Resource Commons eliminates redundant and costly local investments by enabling Ohio colleges and universities to rapidly publish and access all types and formats of digital materials using OhioLINK’s hardware, software and staff. The DRC offers flexible control and enables institutions and communities within institutions to define how their content is added and shared.

Each participating institution’s repository looks like an extension of its virtual campus and Web site. Each DRC appears as if it were hosted on the institution’s own servers and displays the URL and branding elements of that particular institution, or community within that institution. Content submission is easy; institutions and communities can add content online and control how that content is displayed. End users can quickly discover resources available from their school or the entire statewide commons.

One Shared Statewide Platform, Many Benefits
The Digital Resource Commons offers numerous benefits to many different higher education constituencies. Administrators will appreciate the ability to utilize OhioLINK’s disk space, staff and system and their institution’s branding elements to develop local, state-of-the-art institutional and learning object repository capabilities. Many institutions would not have the expertise or financial means of having these capabilities otherwise.

Faculty members, researchers and other contributors will appreciate being able to store, share and preserve their research, digital learning objects and publications. The DRC enables faculty and researchers to distribute research results to worldwide audiences quickly—which will likely lead to increased visibility and impact—or limit availability to a single colleague. Faculty will also appreciate a central resource for finding learning objects and course materials from colleagues statewide. The DRC also enables contributors to maintain ownership of their work and permanently control who sees it. Choosing a copyright license is quick and simple, as authors can specify a Creative Commons license when contributing an item to the DRC.

The DRC provides students with a versatile resource for sharing and showcasing theses, dissertations and other research projects as well as accessing course materials, research and learning objects to support their learning.

Supports Virtually All Types and Quantities of Content
The Digital Resource Commons accepts documents, such as articles, preprints, working papers, technical reports, conference papers, theses, dissertations, images and data sets. It also supports a virtually unlimited variety of digital file types and formats including audio, video, streaming video, multimedia presentations, animations, simulations, learning objects and Web pages. A large storage area network allows for virtually unlimited storage space.

Keeping Content Safe
Regular offsite tape and disk backups ensure the long-term safety, security and preservation of content contributed to the commons. DRC servers are located close to the center of OSCnet, ensuring maximum availability and speed. The DRC offers not only a promise of high availability for today’s needs, but also the commitment to long-term preservation of content. Ohio’s academic libraries have come together to create this preservation solution for digital content because we believe that acting in concert is the best way to successfully safeguard Ohio’s digital research.

Ready and Waiting
All OhioLINK member institutions are automatically eligible to create their own Digital Resource Commons. Interested institutions are encouraged to contact John Davison, OhioLINK’s assistant director for DRC development, at john@ohiolink.edu or 614-728-3600 ext. 342.

The Digital Resource Commons is part of the Ohio Digital Commons for Education, a collaborative initiative of the Ohio Learning Network, OhioLINK and the Ohio Supercomputer Center, to develop leading-edge education resources, services and capabilities in Ohio. Explore the Digital Resource Commons and find more information at http://drc.ohiolink.edu.


Each Digital Resource Commons appears as if it were hosted on the institution’s own servers and displays the URL and branding elements of that particular institution, or community within that institution.