What is Unbound?
Unbound is a digital publishing platform and repository. It’s a place to store, organize, present and disseminate the products of the intellectual life of the College, and to preserve the history of the institution

Why do we need Unbound at Williams?
Unbound supports the work of the college in a variety of ways. By providing a central location for the storage and preservation of material that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, it allows faculty to develop and share collections of materials used in teaching, materials that support academic publications, and material such as video, audio and interactive data sets that can’t be distributed in traditional print material. It also allows the College Archives and others to preserve and provide access to materials that otherwise would be difficult to locate or view. It provides a permanent repository for faculty publications. Further, by providing a flexible, online presentation platform Unbound makes it possible to develop custom research and presentation tools that support original scholarship.

Who decides what information is included?
Williams faculty, staff and students can submit or sponsor a project, collection, or item. Items being submitted should comply with local, state and federal content and privacy laws, and with college policies and standards of conduct. The Unbound Advisory Group (comprised of faculty and Unbound managers) oversees the project, and will review and address any questions regarding objects or collections.

Why should I submit my materials?
You should submit to Unbound if you would like:

  • your publications to be preserved and easily found by other scholars
  • your collections to be accessed by students in your classes or by others around the world
  • your datasets, field notes, recordings and other source material, which support your publications, to be accessible to readers of your publications
  • to provide more or more varied material than can fit in a paper, or traditional electronic publication
  • to satisfy the mandate of a granting agency for access to your data
  • to integrate disparate media such as data, audio, video, spatial coordinates and text into a unified teaching, research or presentation tools


What types of materials can be submitted?
You can submit digital material—born digital or digitized—regardless of type: text, audio, still and moving images, datasets, learning objects, etc. We do ask that content comply with local, state and federal content and privacy laws, and with College policies and standards of conduct.

Who can submit?
Williams College faculty, staff and students can submit or sponsor a project, collection, or item.

How do I submit materials?
If you would like to add an item to a current project—such as adding a PDF article to the faculty publications collection—your library and ITech liaisons can show you how.

If you are interested in beginning a new project, please complete the Start a Project form. Your library and ITech liaisons will then contact you to learn more about your collection and your goals in making it available.

Who can help me? What services are provided?
Your library and ITech liaisons are happy to speak with you regarding your material and/or a special project that you would like to undertake. The Unbound Management Team is also available to work with you on workflows or funding proposals if a project needs support that is beyond the resources of OIT and the Libraries.

What descriptive information do I assign to my work when submitting it?
This depends on what you’re submitting and how you would like to provide access to your material. Some descriptive schemes will be fairly simple—author, title, and description/keyword—others may include information that will allow your items to be manipulated in particular ways—spatial coordinates for mapping, temporal categories for sorting, etc. Your library and ITech liaisons, and the Digital Resources Archivist, can help you decide what sorts of descriptive information will be helpful to your project.

Can I restrict access?
You can limit access to your items or collection, e.g. restrict to use by a particular class, restrict to campus only, embargo for a period of time, etc.


How can I check to see if I have retained the copyright for my published journal articles?
You can review your publisher’s contract or get in touch with your publisher. In addition, the SHERPA/RoMEO site provides a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher’s copyright transfer agreement.

What rights do I retain to my work when submitting to Unbound?
You, or your copyright assignees, retain all the intellectual property rights you own in the material. The limited rights you grant to Unbound are non-exclusive, so your rights do not change as a result of your submission. In addition, copyright information becomes part of the description (metadata) that accompanies each of your items.

If I no longer hold the copyright to an article or other publication, can I still submit it to Unbound?
Most publishers allow some version of a previously-published article to be made freely accessible online. The Sherpa list of Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving is the most definitive list of publisher policies at this current time. You may also ask your publisher whether you can submit your previously-published work to Unbound.

Can I publish material elsewhere if I've already submitted it to Unbound?
Some publishers will not accept material that has been made available elsewhere, even if it has not been formally published. We recommend, then, that you check with potential publishers to ensure that you can safely submit a preprint, for example, into Unbound.

May I submit material of which I am a joint author?
If you and your co-authors retained your copyright, you should contact your co-authors to make sure they are also amenable to posting to Unbound.

May I post someone else’s material in Unbound?
You are free to post public domain material, including U.S. Government photos and images, and content that has been licensed with Creative Commons agreements. If the material is still under copyright, please contact the copyright holder for permission to post. The Libraries’ Finding Copyright Holders page can help.

I found some interesting work by someone else in Unbound and want to download it. What can I do with it once I have it?
Unless otherwise noted in Unbound or the work itself, you should treat the work like any other copyrighted material and may make “Fair use” of it.

I don’t own the copyright to my material, but I’d like to make sure that it’s preserved here at Williams. How can I do this?
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act allows the Williams College Libraries to preserve a copy of your material in Unbound so long as it is not distributed digitally and it is made available to the public only inside the Libraries.