Alteration Policy

Once deposited, content should not normally be modified.  If the description of the content (its metadata) is incorrect, the depositor may send a request and explanation of the error and its correction to the eCommons administrators. Reasonable corrections to metadata will be made by eCommons staff.

Requests to create a new version, replace, or remove content are addressed according to the following policies.

Adding a new version

If the depositor wishes to update a work, providing a new version of an existing eCommons item, they must contact the eCommons administrators with their request. Standard practice is for eCommons to maintain access to previous versions, with all versions visible on the landing page, and the reason for each subsequent version. If access to one or more earlier versions should be restricted, the submitter should request this specifically. Version history and the metadata for restricted access items will remain visible to users, but the file(s) will not be accessible.

When to VERSION an item:

Creating a new version is the preferred approach when:

  • Nature of change is purely additive, and maintaining a record of (and persistent links to) earlier versions is important. This is common a occurrence with data sets, but can happen with other content as well.
  • Examples of valid versioning requests include:
    • New version correct significant error(s) in previous version. Include brief description and location of corrections.
    • New version includes new content. Include brief description and location of new content.
    • New version supersedes previous version. 

Assignment of handles for versioned items
  • For content added before 5 April 2018, the original handle always resolves to the newest version, and handles for older version(s) are generated by appending a number to the original handle.
  • For content added after 5 April 2018, an additional version's handle is appended with a sequential number representing the version (eg. or


File replacements are made sparingly and at the discretion of eCommons administrators. Users making such requests do so at their own risk. eCommons administrators do not retain and cannot reinstate older versions of files that have been replaced.

Complete replacement of a file requires justification from the requestor. The requestor must note in their request the specific changes that have been made, in order to allow eCommons staff to assess the request. Examples of reasonable requests for replacement include:

  • Submission error (submitter sent or uploaded the wrong item).
  • Minor content corrections, such as contact information for an author.
  • Superseded content where new version simply has an added cover page, watermark, or other indication that this content is no longer current. In spite of this modification, original content is still essentially viewable. Example: historical documents that recommend practices that are no longer considered to be best or safe practices. Such a document would be of historical interest, but users should not mistake it for current best practice.
  • Superseded content when submitter has a compelling reason to no longer have an earlier version available, at all. Note: access to previous version(s) will be restricted, but the item will remain in eCommons.
  • The nature of change is purely additive - simple addition of pages with no changes in pagination, for example. Note that in this case a VERSION might also be appropriate.

There are some cases in which a replacement cannot be made, such as when a request pertains to an official record such as a thesis or dissertation that has been formally approved.

Withdrawal Policy

eCommons is intended to provide persistent access to deposited material. As such, requests for removal or withdrawal are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and must include a justification for the request. If a request is approved, eCommons administrators will take one of the following actions, depending on the circumstances:

  • Restrict access to the item, leaving the metadata visible, and add a note explaining the reason for the restriction. This is the preferred course of action if circumstances do not warrant withdrawal or removal.
  • Withdraw the item from the collection. It remains in a restricted access collection accessible only to administrators, and no metadata are publicly visible. Users attempting to access the item see a message that the item is no longer available, and cannot see the metadata.
  • Remove the item completely. This happens only in exceptionally rare cases, typically due to formal a takedown notice of copyright infringement.

Cornell University Library reserves the right to withdraw content that is libelous, an invasion of privacy, or that does not reflect the nature of the Collection to which the work was submitted.

A request for removal should be directed to the eCommons administrators and include the reasons for withdrawal. eCommons staff may contact the requestor for additional information.