Skip to main content

News from eCommons, CUL’s General Purpose Institutional Repository

On behalf of the eCommons team, I’d like to share some news on new services for eCommons users, and some other things we’ve been working on. My apologies for being slow to recognize the need and the opportunity to communicate news of this kind to you. For the most part, I’ll communicate eCommons news by forwarding to CU-LIB the communications that I send to eCommons collection coordinators, and I’ll include the first of those updates in this post. AND you might wonder, what is a collection coordinator?

eCommons collection coordinators have some level of administrative responsibility for one or more collections in eCommons. Not every collection has a coordinator, but many do. Since this hasn’t been well-documented in the past, we’ve recently started trying to identify collection coordinators, and to document the administrative details of the collections for which they’re responsible. Examples of the types of type of collection information we’re after include whether a collection has any limitations as to who may submit to it, whether a collection includes student works and how FERPA releases are handled, whether and how deposit to the collection is mediated by eCommons staff, and whether the collection coordinator has been made aware of eCommons policies and recommended best practices. This effort is moving along slowly but steadily, beginning with eCommons users with whom we’re in the most frequent contact, users who contact us with questions or issues related to a particular collection, and with the requestors of new communities and collections. There is wiki to which coordinators have access, and a very low traffic email list. There isn’t a lot to see on the wiki because collection information is limited to the people associated with the collection, but for an idea of what we’re trying to track, you can view the Test managed collection. If you’re reading this and would identify yourself as a coordinator for one or more eCommons collections, please get in touch with us!

Now about the updates to collection coordinators. Our first one was about managing FERPA releases, and here that is:

= = = = = = = = =


This message is being sent to eCommons coordinators, individuals who are listed as a contact or coordinator for one or more collections in eCommons. Our intention is to use the list to notify coordinators of any significant changes to eCommons, substantial service interruptions, and news regarding services and policies. We anticipate traffic on this list will be low. If you have received this message in error, please contact me.

Here’s our first news item for this list, for programs or units whose students submit work to eCommons. While it is the responsibility of those units to secure and retain FERPA releases, we have taken a couple of steps with eCommons to make this simpler, depending on who completes the submission process:

  • Student submissions: we have updated our eCommons license to include a FERPA authorization statement. When students submit their own work to eCommons, if they complete the submission themselves and accept the license, they authorize Cornell to make the work publicly accessible online.
  • Proxy submissions: if anyone other than the student completes the submission, the program is responsible for obtaining a FERPA release, whether it is program staff or library staff who complete the submission. Historically, programs have had students complete paper FERPA release forms, and have retained those documents. That’s fine and programs may continue to do that, but we now also offer the option of storing a PDF of the signed release form with each work in eCommons. Stored release forms are not visible to the public. If you are interested in using this option to manage retention of FERPA releases for student works, please contact and we’ll work with you to accomplish this.

We hope these options will simplify things for those of you who choose to use them.

Best wishes,


= = = = = = = = =

You can expect a few more updates to come soon – in the meantime pleased don’t hesitate to contact the eCommons team with any questions, ideas, or concerns.

eCommons team: Mira Basara, Christina Harlow, George Kozak, Wendy Kozlowski, Chloe McLaren, Gail Steinhart



Comments are closed.