Organizational Infrastructure

(DRAFT) 1. Mission/Scope

R1. The repository as an explicit mission to provide access to and preserve data in its domain.

Compliance Level:

  • The guideline has been fully implemented for the needs of our repository.

TDL Mission Statement

  • “The Texas Digital Library is a consortium of Texas higher education institutions that builds capacity for preserving, managing, and providing access to unique digital collections of endearing value. Our empowering technology infrastructure, services, and community programs: support research, teaching, and digital curation efforts at our member institutions; facilitate collaboration amongst our community and with external partners; connect local work to a global ecosystem of digital library efforts.”

    TDL Projects (digital preservation/data management)

Access to Data

Part of the TDL’s vision in establishing a consortium Dataverse is to make research materials freely available to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. The TDL is an advocate for Open Access to scholarly work and the incentives to researchers for publishing and preserving their research data in the Texas Data Repository are:

  • data that might be precariously stored on fragile, random, or unsustainable storage devices can be securely preserved for the long term.

  • data that might otherwise become neglected over time can be preserved and made accessible for other interested researchers to use and cite, potentially providing wider visibility and impact for the research.

  • many funding agencies and scholarly journals require data management plans that detail how the data will be managed, made accessible, and preserved.

Preservation of Data

The preservation objectives of the Texas Data Repository are:

  • to collect, preserve, and disseminate the data sets and related information generated by researchers affiliated with any of the TDL’s member institutions who choose to deposit their content therein.

  • to enable researchers affiliated with any of the TDL’s member institutions to comply with the mandates of funding agencies to manage, preserve, and share their research data.

  • to provide the means for users to discover and access the data sets and metadata generated by academics affiliated with any of the TDL’s member institutions over the long term.

The TDL Administration published the official TDR launch announcement in January of 2017.

Members of the consortium also published news releases about the TDR Launch. As an example, in a press release from the University of Texas Libraries, Lorraine Haricombe, the Vice Provost and Libraries Director for the University of Texas at Austin, said:

“The UT Libraries is committed to building the scholarly communications infrastructure needed to support access and innovation at UT. Through its complementary relationship with Texas ScholarWorks, the launch of the Texas Data Repository represents a giant step toward sharing the latest discoveries at the university with a worldwide audience of scientists and researchers for further exploration.”

And various TDR liaisons at the different participating institutions created promotional materials and information sheets to help introduce and advertise the TDR to their corresponding constituencies.

2. Licenses

R2. The repository maintains all applicable licenses covering data access and use and monitors compliance.

Compliance Level:

  • The guideline has been fully implemented for the needs of our repository.

The TDR uses the Creative Commons CC0 option as its default license. CC0 is ‘No Rights Reserved’.

TDR users can enter own custom Terms of Use for datasets if CC0 is not feasible by crafting a custom data usage license agreement or using the TDR’s restricted data usage license agreement. ns

To use the TDR service, researchers and users agree to follow the TDR’s General Terms of Use; the Privacy Policy; and the Community Site Norms.

One specific aspect of TDR’s polices dictates that user uploads must be void of all personal identifiable information (for example SSN#s). The TDL requires Texas Data Repository contributors to remove, replace, or redact identifying confidential or sensitive information from datasets prior to upload. There are exceptions to the rule.

Users also agree to grant to TDR all necessary permissions and required licenses to make the submitted or deposited content available for archiving, preservation and access within the site. This includes, without restriction, permission to:

  1. re-disseminate copies of the content in a variety of distribution formats according to the standard terms of use of Texas Data Repository;

  2. promote and advertise the content in any publicly (in any form) for Texas Data Repository;

  3. describe, catalog, and document the user submissions;

  4. store, translate, copy or re-format the content in any way to ensure its future preservation and

    accessibility, and improve usability and/or protect respondent confidentiality; and

  5. incorporate metadata or documentation in the content into public access catalogues.

Users must review and agree to TDR’s Terms of Use when logging into the system for the first time.

Please see R0 for level of curation, liability assumed by TDR, and the level of responsibility taken for the data.

With respect to noncompliance, the Terms of Use explicitly state that users are held responsible for any and all damages incurred if content is in violation:

“In contributing data to the site, you must ensure that the data complies with the terms of use. If your user upload does not comply with the terms of use, the Texas Data Repository has the right in its sole discretion to take down your User Upload. The Texas Data Repository does not review all user uploads before they are made available on the site, or before they are published. Therefore, you will be held legally and financially responsible for all damages if content you contribute violates anything in this agreement.”

TDR may terminate access to all or any part of the service at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice. Items within the TDR may be deaccessioned for the following reasons:

  • copyright violation

  • legal requirements and proven violations

  • national security

  • falsified research

  • confidentiality concerns etc.

3. Continuity of Access

R3. The repository has a continuity plan to ensure ongoing access to and preservation of its holdings.

Compliance Level:

  • The guideline has been fully implemented for the needs of our repository.

The TDR is hosted and maintained by the Texas Digital Library, a consortium of academic libraries in Texas with a proven history of providing shared technology services that support secure, reliable access to digital collections of research and scholarship.

TDR does have a Digital Preservation and Security policy:

The TDL accepts the responsibility to preserve and provide access to research data, including associated metadata and documentation that is properly deposited in the TDR. This includes the provision of digital means to preserve and ensure ongoing access to said content for a minimum of ten years after deposit.

Beyond the ten-year retention period is subject to the TDL’s selection criteria, appraisal of the content, and budgetary and technical support of resources necessary to meet this goal.

The Texas Digital Library began in 2005 as a partnership between four of the state’s largest Association of Research Libraries (ARL) universities: Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, and the University of Texas at Austin. It has extended membership in the consortium to any of the state’s institutions of higher learning and now represents large and small institutions from every region of the state.

In 2012, TDL presented an update to its strategic plan in which it outlined its future direction for the next 3 years.

In 2013, TDL revised its Bylaws describing the organizational structure.

In addition, TDL has released its updated Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The TDR was launched in 2017 as a new service for TDL’s member institutions.

And finally, in its 2017 Annual Report, the TDL highlights both its accomplishments and aspirations.

This timeline is presented as evidence that succession planning for the Texas Data Repository would be required only in the event of the TDL member consortium’s dissolution or some other unforeseen calamity.

However, should such an event occur, continuity of access is addressed in both the Memorandum of Understanding template and the Service Level Agreement template, the documents signed by both TDL and the member institution with respect to the TDR. Once a member institution enters into a relationship with the TDL for the TDR service, both partners agree to: “recommend, in conjunction with [the other partner], data repository options should the Texas Data Repository be discontinued.”

And, the TDL ensures the accurate migration and/or transfer of data between storage spaces, servers, and systems wherever such may become necessary.

Finally, the TDR is hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Using AWS virtually guarantees continuity of service.

4. Confidentiality/Ethics

R4. The repository ensures, to the extent possible, that data are created, curated, access, and used in compliance with disciplinary and ethical norms.

Compliance Level:

  • The guideline has been fully implemented for the needs of our repository.

The Texas Data Repository encourages data deposit from all disciplines and does request confirmation that data collection or creation was carried out in accordance with legal and ethical criteria as set forth by a member institutions.

Specifically, the Terms of Use states that “by posting user uploads to your Dataverse or other Dataverses, or by allowing other to do so, you make the following representations and warranties to the Texas Data Repository.” The representations and warranties that follow cover, among other concerns, copyright or other intellectual property rights; relevant, obligatory, and applicable approvals; and personal identifiable information (with exceptions).

As an example from a member institution, the University of Texas at Austin’s Office of Research Support and Compliance states that its mission “is to ensure that all research conducted on campus complies with all applicable laws, regulations, and University policies.” This office consists of four main areas: the Institutional Review Board; the Institutional Animal Case and Use Committee, the Institutional Biosafety Committee, and the Conflict of Interest section.

Thus, each member institution has codes and guidelines for research conducted by its faculty, students and staff and the TDR’s terms of use explicitly state that depositors made certain guarantees.

There are procedures available to users that can be applied to manage data with discloser risk. First, user uploads must be void of all identifiable information (with exceptions). The TDR does not review data prior to upload so the onus to scrub personal identifiable information lies solely with the depositor.

Second, for other types of data with discloser risk, individual depositors can restrict access to files within a published dataset by describing terms of access for these restricted files. A depositor can also share unpublished datasets with both registered and non-registered TDR users, the latter by way of a private URL.

In these cases, the Dataverse administrators and users assume all liability should possible confidentiality or other privacy issues arise. The TDR assumes no liability.

If a user does not comply with the terms of use or the community norms, TDR reserves the right to take down the user upload and terminate access to any part of the TDR service.

Depositors, not TDR, are held legally and financially responsible for all damages if content contributed violates anything in the Terms-of-Use.

Users downloading datasets agree to abide by both the TDR’s Community Norms and the applicable data usage license agreement attached to the dataset.

5. Organizational Infrastructure

R5. The repository has adequate funding and sufficient numbers of qualified staff managed through a clear system of governance to effectively carry out the mission.

Compliance Level:

  • This guideline has been fully implemented for the needs of the repository.

The Texas Data Repository is a service offered by the TDL. UT Austin services as the lead agency of the TDL and hosts the TDR.


The annual membership fees for member institutions in the TDL and the fees associated with the TDR can be found here:

The relationships automatically renews until terminated by the member institution.

The TDL 2017 annual report has information about both revenues and expenses incurred by the TDL. Please note that the TDR was started in January 2017.


The TDL has 7 FTE staff members, one of whom is directly associated with the TDR:

  • Executive Director

  • Senior Software Engineer

  • Systems Administrator II

  • Deputy Director (which includes TDR)

  • Communication Strategist

  • Senior DevOps Lead

  • Administrative Assistant

    The TDL governing board is comprised of library deans and directors from seven TDL institutions: the four founding Association of Research Library members and three members selected at-large. Two non- voting members also sit on the board. Three members of this board act as the executive committee which is responsible for day-to-day operational decisions.

Member institutions have designated liaisons but those individuals are paid by their respective school, not the TDL. Each institution is responsible for appointing this liaison.

The TDR Steering Committee is the mechanism for local data repository liaisons at TDR member libraries to provide feedback to TDL and make decisions about TDR services. The committee consists of the TDL TDR Services Manager and all member institution appointed liaisons. e+Charter

All current liaisons can be found here:

As each liaison serves as a bridge between the member institution and the TDL, a liaison can both draw on resources from both sides and provide knowledge and talent to both sides. This mutually reinforcing and mutually beneficial relationship greatly expands both the range and depth of expertise of the organization and its staff. This expansion speaks to part of TDL’s mission statement: support[ing] “research, teaching, and digital curation efforts at our member institutions.”


The TDL provides training opportunities for all faculty/staff from its member institutions.

The Service Level Agreements between an institution and the TDL mentions training possibilities for the liaisons:

  • Maintain a tech support helpdesk for the data repository liaisons and for referring requests to them

  • Provide training and professional development opportunities to data repository liaisons as needed

    And each liaison should have opportunities for professional training/development through his/her own institution. Using UT Austin as an example again:

Relevant Affiliations

All four of the founding members of the TDL are also members of the Association of Research Libraries. Please see R0 for other affiliations and partnerships.

The TDL has also established several Groups for its staff and members. “As a consortium, the Texas Digital Library depends upon the active participation of its members and users to be successful. TDL Users Groups, Working Groups, Committees, and Affinity Groups provide opportunities for member contributions focused on particular services, professional roles, and projects.”

Some of these groups extend beyond Texas (South Central States Fedora Users Group) while others do not require membership in the TDL to join (Texas Archivematica Users Group).

6. Expert Guidance

R6. The repository adopts mechanisms(s) to secure ongoing expert guidance and feedback (either in- house, or external, including scientific guidance, if relevant).

Compliance Level:

  • This guideline has been fully implemented for the needs of the repository.

As the TDL is a consortium of 22 current member academic institutions (with 11 institutions participating in TDR), this consortia relationship virtually guarantees that the TDR and its staff can secure ongoing expert guidance and feedback. The TDL can draw on the resources – informational, technical, and disciplinary – from each institution.

Both the TDL Governing Board and the TDR Steering Committee were mentioned previously in R5. The Board provides overall stewardship of the TDL and the Steering Committee is populated with data science experts. The member appointed liaisons on the Committee act as points of contact between the repository and its designated community.

In addition, the TDL Users Groups, Working Groups, Committees, and Affinity Groups were also mentioned in R5. The User Groups and Working Groups are populated by data science experts and can serve as conduits for communication with, and feedback from, the TDR’s designated community with respect to various projects.

The Member Resources, available through TDL, also provide “access to a number of resources and opportunities to engage with colleagues to facilitate and contribute to wider discussions toward the advancement of digital libraries and related services.”

Through its member institutions, the TDL/TDR can communicate with subject experts in myriad different disciplines and subject-specific librarians. Using the University of Texas at Austin as an example:

UT Experts by Subject: UT Subject Librarians:

The TDR is an instantiation of an open source application called Dataverse, originally developed and used by Harvard. Currently, there exist 33 Dataverse installations across the globe and the TDR represents one node in that wider network.

And recently, the Dataverse community formed the Global Dataverse Community Consortium which will “provide international organization to existing community efforts and will provide a collaborative venue for institutions to leverage economies of scale in support of Dataverse repositories around the world.”

The Texas Digital Library plans to be a member of the consortium.

Finally, please revisit both R0 and R5 for additional information about the TDR’s connections to affiliates, partners, and networks of expertise.