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Minnesota Digital Library Policies

The Minnesota Digital Library supports discovery and education through access to unique digital collections shared by cultural heritage organizations from across the state of Minnesota. Our contributors include libraries, historical societies, museums, and archives. Staff at the Minnesota Digital Library also provide education and training opportunities concerning digitization best practices, metadata for digital collections, and digital preservation.

Accessibility Policy

We are committed to maintaining accessibility and compliance as established accessibility standards evolve.

Collection Policies

Basic Criteria for All Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) Digitization Projects

Type A—MDL provides project management and digitization services to Type A organizations.

All projects must adhere to these basic MDL requirements:

  • Items/materials must fit the mission and vision of MDL, as well as fill content gaps or complement existing collections.
  • Items/materials must be in, of, or about Minnesota or Minnesotans.
  • Items/materials proposed for digitization should be originals.
  • A good faith attempt should be made to determine if items/materials are already digitally available in other large-scale collections. If other copies are available online, MDL reserves the right to not digitize.
  • MDL works with non-profit, cultural heritage institutions, libraries of all types, and governmental agencies located in Minnesota. *
  • Items/materials submitted for digitization must be held by the types of organizations listed above.
*NOTE: The MDL is not able to accept applications from private corporations or private individuals. People representing corporations or private citizens are welcome to contact the MDL Outreach Coordinator to learn more about digitizing and access to their collections.

Basic Criteria for All Minnesota Digital Library Previously Digitized Content

Type B—The Minnesota Digital Library advises and works closely with organizations that manage their own digitization projects, with the intent of providing access to the digitized Items/materials through MDL.

Previously digitized material must meet the Basic Criteria identified above, as well as the following:

Additional considerations used in selecting materials include:

  • If the history of a particular area is already well-represented, the new items must provide either new information or add a new perspective.
  • Organizations facing barriers or challenges in sharing their items will receive priority consideration.
  • Items/materials under consideration must have an obvious need to be digitally preserved due to condition concerns or similar.
  • MDL does not accept newspapers, newspaper clippings, yearbooks, or cemetery records.

Copyright and Related Issues

Contributing organizations will remain legally responsible for their items/materials, including consideration of copyright, privacy, ethics, and/or contractual limitations on use. Items/materials should not contain anything defamatory, libelous, or otherwise violating the rights of third parties.

Contributing organizations will most often not own the copyrights for items in their collections, but will be able to legally make items available if they believe their use of the items to be permitted by law. Contributing organizations are wholly responsible for deciding when they are legally able to make materials available, and documenting those decisions. MDL will work to provide training and systems to support applicants and contributors in making and documenting these decisions. 

Contributing organizations may sometimes own the copyright in items in their collections and in these cases, participation in the Minnesota Digital Library will be considered to grant a non-exclusive license to the MDL to make those materials available to the public, and to exercise any rights needed for the MDL's mission.

Contributors may always provide suggested attribution/citation language for item records, but must describe copyright ownership as accurately as possible.

Preservation Policy

The Minnesota Digital Library, with assistance from the University of Minnesota Libraries, follows current best practices for digital preservation of content. Please see the University Libraries Digital Preservation website for more detailed information.

Privacy Policy

Please see the Online Privacy Statement from the University Libraries website. The MDL has adopted this document as the MDL Online Privacy Statement.

Request for Reconsideration

In making collections available online, the Minnesota Digital Library acts in good faith, gives credits to rights holders when possible, and respectfully provides access to culturally valuable materials from over 200 contributing organizations.

An individual may contest the online inclusion of material due to any of the following reasons:

  • If, as copyright holder to material, permission for use was not granted, and the use is not covered by an exception to copyright law
  • If due to the inclusion of the material rights of privacy were violated
  • If the material contains content that may be regarded as culturally sensitive 
  • If the material contains content that may be regarded as harmful   

To begin the review, the Request for Reconsideration form must be completely filled out and submitted for review. Upon receipt of the request, the MDL Selection Committee in consultation with the contributing organization will:

  • Review the request to determine if enough information has been provided
  • Send a request receipt notification and indicate if additional information is needed
  • Complete an assessment of the issues identified in the Request for Reconsideration form
  • Submit the recommendation to Minitex for approval.

After approval of the Selection Committee’s recommendation, MDL staff will take appropriate action and send a notice of the outcome to the requester. Potential outcomes may include:

  • The material will remain unchanged and remain online for unrestricted access
  • The material is deemed to be violating copyrights, violating a right to privacy, is considered to be culturally sensitive and or harmful to such a degree that it will be 
    • removed from online access; or
    • a redacted or edited version of the material will be made accessible online.

If the outcome is not satisfactory, individuals may appeal the decision to the MDL Governance Committee by contacting Maggie Snow, Minitex Director at 

  • The Governance Committee will review the request and make a recommendation to Minitex for approval. The Governance Committee decision is final.
  • Staff will take appropriate actions and send notice of the outcome. 

For any additional questions regarding the reconsideration procedure or for assistance filling out the form, please contact

Requesting Reproduction Policy

The Minnesota Digital Library refers all requests for reproductions back to the contributing organizations.

Right to Remove/Right to Refuse Content

The Minnesota Digital Library will remove and/or refuse to publish items that violate the law. MDL will work quickly to investigate the situation and inform all involved parties of its decisions and actions.

Sensitive Materials

The Minnesota Digital Library contains a variety of digital materials. Some material may contain terms that reflect the creators' views, or those of the period in which the materials were created, written, or recorded, but that might not be considered appropriate today. The views expressed in these materials are not those of the Minnesota Digital Library. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in a historical context for teaching, research, and educational purposes.

Social Media

The Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) provides access to the state’s historical and cultural record by gathering, sharing, and preserving digital content. MDL's social media profiles directly support the goal of sharing content and engaging users—in particular, by building awareness of and increasing engagement with MDL's online collections.

MDL encourages the online community to engage in respectful discussions on MDL's social media channels. We welcome comments at any time. When commenting, please keep comments relevant to the original post. Be considerate of differing opinions and do not personally attack others.

MDL reserves the right to hide, remove, and/or report any posts, replies, or comments that include: 

  • Racist, hateful, sexist, homophobic, slanderous, insulting, or threatening messages.
  • Aggressive, violent, or obscene comments.
  • Advertisements or product endorsements.
  • Comments that promote or oppose any partisan political party, person campaigning for elected office, or any ballot proposition.
  • Harassment of the original posted content or content commenters.
  • Unintelligible or irrelevant messages or links.
  • Any other messages that MDL staff feels are off-topic, offensive, rude, or abusive.

In addition, we reserve the right to block or report users who post such comments and/or content.

Policy Review

The MDL Governance, or its designated committee/agent (MDL Operations) will review policies annually and revise when necessary in order to incorporate changes in licensing, technology, or statewide collection goals.