Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bowdoin Digital Commons (BDC)?

Bowdoin Digital Commons (BDC) provides open access to digitally published scholarship created by the College’s faculty, students, and administration. BDC offers a shared venue for original research and literary and artistic expression, as well as for select College publications, special collections holdings, and archival records. Research, scholarship, and creative work included in BDC have been selected and deposited by Bowdoin faculty, students, and staff.

What are the benefits of posting my work to BDC?

BDC allows researchers and interested readers anywhere in the world to learn about and keep up to date with Bowdoin scholarship, and promotes discovery of and open access to your work. BDC provides authors comprehensive reports and metrics to allow them to track usage. Uploaded PDFs are full-text searchable and available for downloading.

What content can I submit to BDC?

Faculty may contribute any scholarly or creative work completed while at Bowdoin College and may use BDC for online journals and conferences. The platform supports submission, editorial review, and publication. Students may contribute their complete Honors Projects. For more information about submission guidelines for Honors Projects, please see Honors Guidelines.

Unless otherwise noted, materials posted in BDC are the property of their respective authors.

Authors who have not given a third party exclusive rights to distribute their work may submit it to BDC.

Authors or their copyright assignees retain all intellectual property rights to their material, and must be willing and able to grant Bowdoin College the non-exclusive right to preserve and distribute submitted work through BDC.

All content posted in BDC must comply with U.S. copyright law. In order to deposit a work in BDC, you must hold the copyright to that work, or have the approval of the copyright holder to do so. For information about securing permission to add someone else’s work to BDC, please see the Bowdoin College’s Library’s Copyright support page. If your work is also being published by a traditional publisher, you may have transferred your copyright to them as part of the publication process. You will need to determine the copyright status of your work before submitting it to BDC.

Can I deposit data into BDC to fulfill a sharing requirement from my funding agency?

Depositing your data into BDC upon completion of grant-funded research fulfills the data sharing requirement of many granting agencies. For more information about the requirements of specific granting agencies, see the College’s Sponsored Research page.

How do I determine the copyright status of my published work?

The Bowdoin Library may be able to assist with specific questions about copyright and permissions, but contributors assume primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with copyright.

If you did not retain copyright, but have transferred your rights to your publisher, you may still be able to deposit a version of your work in BDC. Check your publisher’s copyright policy to determine if submission to an institutional repository is permitted. We recommend that you use the Sherpa/Romeo listing of publisher copyright policies.

Some publishers will not accept material that has been made available elsewhere, even if it has not been formally published. We recommend that you check with potential publishers to ensure that you can safely submit a pre-print, for example, into BDC. If you share copyright with additional authors, you must obtain their approval before submitting work to BDC.

What file types are supported by BDC?

BDC supports digital material—born digital and digital surrogates—in the form of text, still images, audio, video, and data sets.

Digital surrogates are digitized versions of analog materials. An example of this is a print document or photograph that has been scanned and converted into a digital format.

Born-digital refers to materials that were originally produced in digital form—for example, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides, PDFs, photographs, and audio and video that have been produced digitally.

BDC can support a wide variety of file types. The system can accept .doc, .docx, .rtf, or PDF files, all of which are then displayed as PDF documents. PowerPoint files should be converted to PDF before uploading. If you have a collection of images, we can create a specialized image gallery that will handle most standard image types including .bmp, .jpg, .gif, .png, and .tiff.

For audio and video, please contact Meagan Doyle ( for assistance in making the material available as streaming media.

How do I upload my work to BDC?

If you are a Bowdoin faculty member and would like to add your work to BDC, visit the Submit Your Research page to learn how to get started.

For more information about uploading Honors Projects, please see Honors Guidelines and Tips.

For policy information, see About Bowdoin Digital Commons.

Questions? Contact Meagan Doyle at