Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to some of the most common questions about the Mississippi Digital Library. If you do not find the information you need, please contact us.


What materials can be included in a collection?

Materials may include, but are not limited to, photographs, letters, manuscripts, postcards, books, maps, slides, films, and audio recordings. Institutions may also choose to include metadata which refers to materials that are not available online. All materials submitted to the MDL should be in the public domain or have permissions granted by the copyright holder. The Mississippi Digital Library is not responsible for determining the copyright or privacy status of items. Please see the Collection Development Policy for more details.

The content of a collection is left to the discretion of the contributing institution. Please remember that the materials showcased in collections are a reflection of the contributor and we do reserve the right to remove content if necessary.

Does additional information need to be provided with collection materials?

Yes. Metadata must be provided along with the submitted items. Guidelines and templates can be found on our resources page as well as links to our series of instructional videos relating to metadata.

Do collections have to be about Mississippi?

No. While the primary puropse of the MDL is to showcase the rich resources that can be found in Mississippi concerning the state's history, residents, culture, and heritage, we do not limit collections to materials about Mississippi. If a collection represents a significant scholarly resource it may still be considered for inclusion in the MDL. Please contact us to discuss the addition of a collection that may fit into this category.

Does a digital collection have to include the entire source collection?

No. Partners may choose to digitize part or all of their collections. When dealing with collections that contain large numbers of items for example, it may not be possible to digitize everything. Some items may not be able to be digitized at all due to technological contraints. We suggest tailoring the selections in a partial collection to give the best representation of what the entire collection has to offer.


Do you accept audio and video files?

We are happy to be able to accept audio and video files at this time. Files must be mp3 or mp4 format, h.264 encoded, and Flash compatible. Transcripts may be included with the files. Additional processing of the files may be needed upon submission. If you have audio or video files you are interested in adding to your collections please contact us.

How do I send my files to you?

The easiest way to send files to us is to use the free file sharing application Dropbox. We will share a folder with you devoted to MDL materials. Simply place a copy of your files in this shared folder and we will have access to them within minutes. Contact us to set up Dropbox file sharing. If you prefer not to use Dropbox, you may mail a disc with your files to:

Mississippi Digital Library
118 College Dr. #5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39401

Is there a limit on how much material can be sent to the MDL?

As of today, there is no limit on the number of items that can be contributed to the MDL. We hope that we never have to impose one. Our current partners have collections that range from one item to thousands.

How often can materials be submitted?

Materials can be submitted to us as at any time. We work to process submissions as soon as they are received and notify the contributing institution when new materials are made available for viewing.

How are contributed materials allowed to be used?

All the digital files in MDL are protected by copyrights held by the institutions that scanned the original materials. The original materials which were scanned may also be protected by copyright. The digital surrogate may be used for instruction and personal research under the provision of “fair use” in U.S. Copyright Law. Under fair use, a user may view, print, copy, and download digital files from MDL without prior permission provided proper credit is given to the source of the material every time it is used.

Use of the materials in MDL for commercial purposes or in publications is not permitted without prior permission from the contributing institution. Institutions may offer prints or high-resolution digital copies of materials contributed to MDL, for a fee. The contributing institution handles all requests for reproduction and copyright/permissions inquiries.

Does the MDL store source materials and digital master copies?

No. The contributing institution is responsible for storing all source materials and digital master copies. We recommend sending us a lower resolution access image to be used on the MDL website.


What are the requirements for MDL membership?

Requirements for membership as well as other terms and conditions may be found in the MDL Collection Development Policy. Institutions may apply for membership in the MDL if their collections meet the following parameters:

  1. The institution must be physically based in Mississippi.
  2. Collections and materials selected will reflect Mississippi’s available history from precolonial times to the present, its varied population, urban and rural experiences, and divergent points of view.
  3. Collections and materials that do not pertain to Mississippi history may be selected if representative of a significant scholarly resource located within the state as long as they serve the educational, recreational and information needs of the MDL users.
  4. Materials must be in the public domain or have permission granted to digitize and make publicly available. The contributing institution assumes all responsibility for securing permissions for collections and items. The MDL is not liable for any infringement of copyright or privacy laws.
  5. Metadata must conform to standards established by the MDL.
  6. The MDL sets minimum digitization standards; however, institutions may use their own digitization guidelines provided they meet or exceed the minimum standard set forth by the MDL.
  7. The MDL only accepts access images for inclusion in the database. Please consult the digitization standards for acceptable formats.
  8. Partial collections will be accepted. Materials may include, but are not limited to, photographs, letters, manuscripts, postcards, books, maps, slides, finding aids, film and audio clips.
  9. Only permanent collections residing at an institution may be included. Collections such as those on loan from another institution or personal collections are not accepted.
  10. The preferred language for collections is English however other languages may be accepted as appropriate.

How do we become a MDL partner?

It easy to become a MDL partner. To begin we need a to know a little bit about your institution and what you would like to showcase on our website. If you are interested in getting your institution involved in the program please complete this form.

Are there any benefits to becoming a member institution?

Choosing to partner with the Mississippi Digital Library exposes your contributed materials to a worldwide audience. When an item is viewed through our website information about the location of the original is provided. This can help to increase awareness of the resources available at your institution as well as increase traffic in your source collections. Additionally, searching our database returns relevant items from all member institutions regardless of the size of a collection. We believe all of our contributed materials are important and should be showcased as much as possible.

Beyond collection exposure, member institutions may choose to offer prints, high-resolution digital reproductions, or publication rights of contributed materials for a fee.

Does is cost anything to become a partner?

No. It is completely free to join the MDL. With a small amount of time and effort you can begin sharing your collections with the world.


What is metadata and why do you require it?

We have a brief video answering this question on our YouTube channel. In short, metadata is information about the items you contribute to the MDL. We use it to provide website users with item descriptions, to help us keep collections organized, and to keep the website's search functions working properly.

Is there an explanation of the metadata spreadsheet categories?

We provided detailed explanations of each metadata category in the Metadata Guidelines. We also have a member help blog that features instructions, tutorials and hints for working with and creating metadata. If you are still unclear about what should be entered in a category please contact us.

I'm having trouble filling out the metadata spreadsheet. Can you help?

Of course. We are more than happy to work with you in creating metadata. Call or email us and we will make sure that all of your questions are answered.

Do I have to use the metadata spreadsheet?

No, we do have an online metadata creation and item submission form for single items. If you would like to add a compound object (an item with more than one page) however, you will still need to use the metadata spreadsheet.