The Guide to Submitting Items into DRUM

DRUM is a service of the University of Maryland Libraries. The University of Maryland Libraries use DRUM as a long-term storage system for digital documents; it captures, preserves, and provides access to the research output of University of Maryland researchers, centers, and labs.

This document gives a brief overview of how DRUM works. It is oriented to help anyone get started submitting for deposit to DRUM quickly. Because DRUM is not your run-of-the-mill content management system, we hope you'll review the concepts presented here, and that doing so will help you prepare and submit your files more smoothly.

On to the overview! First, two meta-points:

  1. This is a very simplified overview of DRUM; there is much more extensive documentation available within DRUM itself and elsewhere, some of which is referenced in this document. If you don't see what you need to know, don't hesitate to contact us.
  2. This guide is geared toward those who intend to deposit a small number (one, or a handful, but not thousands!) of files for storage in DRUM. This would apply to you if you want to store an article, or some images, or code, or if you're in a position where you might be regularly asked to deposit an article or working paper on behalf of others, but not necessarily many at once. We've developed a Web interface for uploading content which we think you'll find straightforward for occasional or regular uploads, but we have other tools for loading a large bulk of content at once. If you have a large collection of digital materials you'd like to deposit into DRUM, please contact us directly and we can discuss what the best approach for you might be.

What you need to know about depositing works in DRUM

The Submission Process

You will need to be logged in to DRUM before you can begin a deposit. See the deposit policy for who can submit works. University of Maryland users can log in using their university ID and password. The system automatically assigns you deposit permissions based on the departmental information found in the University LDAP system, which manages personal information about campus affiliates.

After starting a submission, you will be led through a seven-step process: this includes some basic questions about your materials first, then several screens where you can describe your materials (see metadata below) and upload your files, a verification screen (where you can even compare file checksums if you wish), and a license-granting screen. Each of these steps has more detailed documentation available as links on each screen.

After you finish, the folks at the UM Libraries will look over your submission to make sure that it appears complete and then will approve your deposit. In other words, your materials will not go directly into the archive. You will be notified by email as soon as final approval of your submission occurs.

On the Organization of DRUM

DRUM content is organized into communities, with logical groups of materials organized into collections within individual communities. The smallest unit of content in DRUM is an "item," a.k.a., one "thing," whether that's a single file article, or a single dataset made of several files, or several file format versions of the same image. Take a look at the communities overview and browse some DRUM items to get a feel for how it works. If you have questions about whether your materials should be one or several items, or even a collection, feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to consult with you.

On Metadata in DRUM

We librarians are big on metadata. Hopefully after thinking about it a bit you will be too. In collections as big as libraries, of which DRUM is just a part, being able to find a single item or a set of relevant items for a given user in some context of information need is very dependent on the quality and consistency of descriptive information available for querying. Some description can be done mechanically: file sizes, checksums, and full-text indexing, for instance, are critical elements, so we've built those in. But we also need a higher order of human-made description in order to determine things like titles, authors, unique identifiers, and abstracts. If DRUM handled just one genre of content (say, just articles), we could standardize formats and templates to make this easier. DRUM handles many genres and many formats, however, so we need your help in providing this description.

DRUM uses a qualified version of Dublin Core as a descriptive lingua franca across all content. Some communities or collections may also have tailored metadata available (such as MARC records for book collections or FGDC records for geographic datasets). But even where that's available for some items, we crosswalk more detailed metadata records into our Dublin Core vocabulary to ensure a common layer of descriptive specificity for browsing and searching across everything. The "describe" pages in the submission interface map the values you enter to our vocabulary: what you enter will be what others use to find your content in the future. So please take a moment to read the explanations of each field and check the help screens. And don't hesitate to contact us with questions, comments, or concerns!

On File Formats

Over time, items stored in DRUM will be preserved using a combination of time-honored techniques for data management and best practices for digital preservation. As for specific file formats, however, obsolescence and proprietary formats make it impossible to guarantee the exact same level of preservation support services for every file.

We have drafted an initial format support policy. As DRUM develops, we will be working to create a more complete policy that we believe will balance the needs of most researchers with the long-term reality and costs of supporting changing technologies over time. Put simply, our initial policy for file formats is:

Access Controls

DRUM implements very minimal access controls. Access controls can be used to ensure that items requiring usage restrictions will be properly limited. In the future, some collections may be limited to University of Maryland network access only, for instance. Currently, all DRUM materials are made freely available to anyone in the world. This includes all items submitted to the collections for individual deposit by UM faculty.

Author Rights and Rights Transfer to the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland needs some rights to be granted by authors so that their works can be maintained in the repository. As an author, you never have to give another organization ALL of your copyrights for them to legally store and maintain your work. Recognizing that the University of Maryland needs to have authors approve a minimum level of rights transfer, the agreement used by DRUM only asks for non-exclusive rights to keep the work, preserve it, and make it available on the Web. The term "non-exclusive" means that when you deposit a work in DRUM, you retain all of the copyrights to your work. You can sign other agreements with other organizations granting them the rights you have retained or you can use and enforce those rights yourself. Authors often have many questions about their copyrights for their works and how copyright issues affect their ability to deposit work in DRUM. More information is available about your rights as an author and about giving non-exclusive rights to the University of Maryland. There is a also a set of Author FAQs.

If you are at all unsure about whether you have permission to deposit a particular item in DRUM, don't do it! Get in touch with us and we'll help figure it out what will be best.

Where to Go for Help

The fastest ways to contact DRUM support staff is via our help list, You can quickly send email to our help list from anywhere in DRUM; just click "comments" at the bottom of any page. Be sure to give us a valid email address so we can respond. You can also call DRUM staff at 301-314-1328.

Where to Go for More Information

We publish a broad range of DRUM documentation within our own DRUM site. Our documentation provides more details about:

Still have questions?
General inquiries:, (301) 314-1328
DRUM Coordinator: Terry Owen,