Aquifer Collections Development Policy



Overview of the Project


DLF Aquifer is an initiative of the Digital Library Federation. Envisioned as a means of leveraging digital library content, DLF Aquifer will create scalable solutions to enable teaching, learning, and scholarship. Beginning with a significant collection of digital content in the area of American culture and life, DLF Aquifer will create a test-bed of tools for selecting, collecting and providing access to quality digital content. Grounded in the thinking that libraries add value through the organization of information, DLF Aquifer offers opportunities for collaboration among libraries and with partners building repositories, content management systems, course management systems, and other solutions that support the scholarly process. Future broader scale collaborations can be modeled on the DLF Aquifer experience.


DLF Aquifer is aimed at meeting the needs of scholars in the humanities and social sciences. Aligning services with scholars’ needs and building rich collections in context will make DLF Aquifer attractive for inclusion as a suite of library services in course management system portals. With strategic collaborative partnerships, the Digital Library Federation anticipates that DLF Aquifer will enjoy a high rate of adoption by scholars and will inspire and inform more ambitious library collection aggregation.


Selection Criteria for the Aquifer Collection


The materials aggregated into the Aquifer Collection should:


  • Fall into the subject scope of American history, society and culture;
  • Serve research and instructional needs of libraries and of scholars in the humanities and social sciences;
  • Represent collections of all media types (e.g., images, text, video, audio, etc.);
  • Come from any local or aggregated collection that meets Aquifer requirements;
  • Be available for OAI harvesting, complying with both DLF OAI best practices and Aquifer metadata standards;
  • Include a persistent URL that leads to a publicly available digital object; and
  • Include assurances from the hosting institutions that the content will remain available for the foreseeable future.


The DLF Aquifer Collections Coordinator is responsible for the review of material.


Acquisitions Process


Materials to be potentially included in the Aquifer Collection may be identified through a number of channels:



Once collections are reviewed and vetted against the collection development criteria by the DLF Aquifer Collections Coordinator, the institution managing the content will be contacted.  If they agree to participate, they will be given any instructions for making their metadata available for aggregation into the Aquifer collection. 


Participation in the DLF Aquifer project represents a non-exclusive aggregation and redistribution of metadata and object surrogates.  The original physical content files will not be collected by Aquifer, but remain stored in a distributed fashion on the servers of their hosting institutions. The scope of Aquifer’s collection is limited to an aggregation of metadata and object surrogates to lead users to the distributed content. Thumbnail images, thumbshots of web pages, short excerpts of text or other format appropriate snippets used to aid users in the selection of relevant digital resources may be derived and stored centrally. Aquifer will additionally provide tools and services to assist with the use of the collections.


Any donor-imposed or other legal restrictions on use of materials and their associated metadata shall be disclosed at the time of consideration, and resolved before acceptance as a DLF Aquifer collection.


Reconsideration of Materials


Objections to materials included in the collection will be considered by the DLF Aquifer Collections Coordinator. The established selection criteria will be used in determining whether the item is appropriate for the collection.  


Any work or collection may be removed from the Aquifer Collection if it is determined not to reflect the needs and interests of either of the primary audiences for the collection.