Have questions about the ALA Institutional Repository? Consult this guide for the answer! If your question isn’t answered here or need more information, please feel free to contact us!

Getting Started

What is the difference between ALAIR/our ALA unit website/ALA Connect?

ALA Connect is essentially a group-work platform, like Facebook Groups or Google Groups. It’s for sharing current documents that your group needs to discuss, use, and distribute. Unit websites are also for distribution for current documents and resources.

ALAIR is an open access institutional repository, it’s for older documents your group is no longer actively working on, but that have historic value. It is an extension of the ALA Archives’ existing digital archives methods. Unlike most websites, all items in ALAIR are backed up into separate servers (Amazon S3 and Glacier), checksums are run on the records (to track any degradation of the records and ensure their integrity), and all records are recoverable even if they are deleted.

Can I use my ALA account to log into ALAIR?

ALA staff members can use their ALA accounts and passwords to login via the Shibboleth authentication. ALA members will need to create an account and login via the password authentication. Create your account here, https://alair.ala.org/register, or email the ALA Archives for help in creating an account.

I’m an ALA member and created an account for ALAIR, but why can’t I deposit items?

All accounts created through ALAIR’s website must be first given permissions to deposit by administrators from the ALA Archives. Once you created an account, or would like to request one, please email the ALA Archives with your name, email address, ALA unit you will be depositing for. We will email you back with confirmation of the activation of your account and details on how to start depositing!

What should I deposit?

Take a look at our Donate Materials section to get an idea of what the Archives collects. If you’re not sure, contact us! ALA units and members are often surprised about what the Archives is interested in preserving!

My ALA unit has 10 years’ worth of backlog of documents on our website/server/hard drive and I have no time to deposit all of it! Can someone help me?

Yes! The ALA Archives will be happy to assist ALA units in uploading backlogs of records on their websites and servers into ALAIR. We’re also happy to help work out strategies with ALA units on uploading new materials into the repository.


How to do I deposit into ALAIR?

Read this guide on depositing into ALAIR: Depositing Items to ALAIR. If you still have questions, please contact us!

What are the required fields for metadata entry?

The submission process only requires title and date, all other metadata fields are optional. ALAIR uses Dublin Core metadata standards. If you do not see a metadata field you need, please contact us.

How much description should I provide?

As much or as little as you feel that the item needs to be findable. Items at that are text readable (Word documents, most PDFs) will be indexed by ALAIR within 24 hours and that text will become searchable. These kinds of items may only need minimal metadata description to make them discoverable. However, other items such as images, audio recordings, or older PDFs which are not text readable, may need a more robust description.

Is there a controlled vocabulary for subjects?

In order to accommodate the wide variety of topics and subjects engaged in by ALA units, there is no controlled vocabulary.

I encountered an error during the submission process, what should I do?

If there is an error message, try to copy it and send it to the ALA Archives with a description of where the error popped up and any difficulties you were experiencing. We will see if we can resolve the error on our end and if we are unable to we will pass it onto our partners at DSpaceDirect. Issues are normally resolved within a few business days.

I have a video of a speech and a transcript of the same speech, do I have to deposit them separately?

You can deposit related records together under the same submission, such as the audio of a presentation and the corresponding PowerPoint or meeting minutes and attached exhibit items.


I have a publication that I am allowed to distribute after a certain date, can I deposit it into ALAIR now?

Yes, ALAIR is able to support embargoes on records, which means the record will not be accessible until after the date you set it to. An option for an embargo is presented during the submission process. ALAIR does not support indefinite embargoes.

I have a library related paper/article/publication that I’d like to deposit, but it’s not related/connected to an ALA unit, can I still deposit it?

Yes, ALAIR has a community setup for Member Papers and Publications for library related scholarly works that may not fit into a specific ALA unit community. If you want to deposit an academic work that has been published elsewhere, please make sure that you are allowed to distribute it.

I deposited my records, who can view them? Only ALA staff and members?

Anyone! ALAIR is an open access repository that encourages research and scholarship by all users, including ALA staff and members, students, scholars, and the general public.

I have records that have personnel/sensitive/member only information that needs to be preserved, should I deposit them into ALAIR?

Ask yourself, “Would I post this on my unit’s public website?” If the answer is no, then depositing it into ALAIR is not a good option for those records. Please contact the ALA Archives for options for preserving sensitive digital records.


I made a mistake in my metadata, can I go back and fix it?

To secure the authenticity of our records, and avoid any accidental or malicious changes, only administrators from the ALA Archives can go back and change metadata. If you need something changed, just email the ALA Archives and we will be happy to help you.

Can items in ALAIR be deleted?

Items can only be deleted by administrators from the ALA Archives. Items are only deleted if the submitter notes that they accidentally deposited a wrong or duplicate item, if the item violates copyright conditions, or if the item has sensitive information not meant for open access.

I’m Done, Now What?

Sit back, relax, and pat yourself on the back for helping to preserve the history and story of your ALA unit! It may be hard to believe, but the work you are doing is of great interest to ALA staff and members, students, scholars, authors, historians, and the public!

(Created 2014, updated 2021)