About THL > Participation & Support > Scholarly Participation In THL > What Does It Mean To Participate In THL?
The requirements for scholarly participation in THL are fairly simple and can be classified into four criteria: scholarly excellence, permissions, THL banner/menu, and standards.
Scholarly excellence. The usual standards of scholarly excellence and honesty apply to all work within THL, just as they do in traditional academic print publications. While new technologies involve new possibilities and afford new types of experimentation, the traditional rigorous standards of intellectual excellence as well as the need to clearly credit one's sources continue to apply without the slightest change. Digital technology does, however allow for a more fluid approach to publication in addition to traditional publication. This means that documents can be shared in draft form to get feedback, and can be published in a final form allowing for stable reference. However, we are working out a system to clearly label materials "in process" in contrast to those in "final published form."
Permission for non-exclusive but permanent rights for THL to publish submitted work as well its free use within THL. THL believes that scholars, artists, and others creating intellectual and aesthetic objects should retain ownership of their own work. Thus scholarly submissions to THL remain the property of the scholar, pure and simple. In addition to their use within THL, scholars also are free to publish the work, or components of the work, elsewhere. Of course this right does not extend to how the scholar's non-THL publication may utilize THL components created by other people. In such cases, scholars must secure explicit permission from the creator of any component they want to incorporate in their work outside of THL. THL offers several copyrights that scholars can conveniently utilize, depending on how they want their work to be disseminated and used.
However, submissions to THL do entail THL holding permanent rights to publish the work. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, the publication of most submissions to THL require extensive work – in terms of technical and metadata processing – by THL staff to publish. Thus, if there is no assurance that the published item will remain published within THL, a tremendous amount of labor and the funding that supports it can be squandered. Thus once submitted, THL has permanent rights to publish the work, though contributing scholars are of course free to utilize their work in formats other than THL.
Finally, all submissions to THL can be freely linked to and incorporated by other projects within THL. Thus, images submitted to THL can be utilized within THL (but not necessarily outside of THL) by any THL project. Any such use requires clear credit to the original creator of the item.
Use of integrated THL banner/menu. All publications in THL must utilize the standard THL banner with its menu options. This menu-banner is what integrates all THL pages and projects, such that users can easily draw upon THL reference resources, and navigate from one project to another. It also provides THL credit for its work in supporting the projects. However, all submissions are clearly credited throughout to their authors and hosting institutions. Thus, THL should be viewed as a co-owned consortium brand that complements individual and institutional branding.
Adherence to technical, metadata, and design standards. All publications within THL must strictly adhere to THL's technical standards for text markup, image digitization, web page construction, and other issues. These technical standards are what allow all THL components to be completely interoperable, such that a given page can be rendered correctly, searched fully, and can draw upon any other THL resource, (such as an image from the image database) seamlessly. Just as important are the standards for metadata, which essentially signifies "data about data" such as a cataloging record for an image or the header data for an essay (author, date of composition, copyrights, and so forth). This use of common metadata standards allows for web pages to be properly displayed, and for comprehensive and detailed searching to be performed across all components of THL.
Finally, there are design standards, namely the look and feel of pages. Here we try to strike a balance between providing a consistent look and functionality for user's convenience in navigation and use of a given component of THL on the one hand, and providing THL participants the freedom to explore their own unique design on the other. This signifies such things as a certain design for projects' home pages, listing of info-links (read more, participants, contact us, etc.), and the rendering of tables of contents along the left side of essays. The balancing of design standards and design individuality is an on-going process.