User Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the procedures below are outlined in greater detail in our RIT Scholar Works User Guide. For any other questions that you may have, or if you would like assistance, please feel free to contact RIT Scholar Works staff at

If you are interested in submitting to RIT Scholar Works, please see the Author FAQ

Who can access RIT Scholar Works? Do I need an account?

All works available on RIT Scholar Works are open access and full-text. This means that they are open for you to view them at no cost.

You do not need an account to view works on RIT Scholar Works, however, if you would like to save searches, track authors or subjects, or receive email notifications, you can sign up for a free account with RIT Scholar Works. To learn how to do so, see the RIT Scholar Works User Guide.

If you affiliated with RIT, you do not need to create an account--you can sign in with your RIT computer account.

What is the purpose of the map on the homepage?

The Readership Activity Map provides a visualization of downloads from RIT Scholar Works occurring around the globe, illustrating the spread of RIT's scholarship. College and departments also have a map on their pages as well, representing their own scholarly impact

How is content organized in RIT Scholar Works?

Works in RIT Scholar Works will fall into one of four categories: Articles, Theses & Dissertations (includes Graduate Master's Projects & Capstone Projects), Books, and Other (includes presentations, video lectures, etc.).

RIT Scholar Works is further divided by college and department. There may be further sub-collections within various colleges as necessary. You can browse the list of colleges and departments here:

RIT Scholar Works also houses RIT Open Access Journals and RIT Open Access Books, which is separate from the institutional repository. You can access these from the homepage or the hyperlinks above.

What is the Digital Commons Network?

The Digital Commons Network is a portal to content stored with bepress' Digital Commons platform. Free, full-text works posted to repositories from any institution (including RIT) currently using Digital Commons to support their repository are included in the Digital Commons Network, where they are sorted by discipline. To view the Digital Commons Network, visit:

  • What are disciplines?

    RIT Scholar Works is hosted on bepress' Digital Commons platform. Disciplines represent areas of study that are defined by the Digital Commons Network. In addition to RIT Scholar Works' internal method of organization, disciplines are set by Digital Commons and increase discoverability within the Digital Commons Network.

How do I search for a specific paper/author/topic?

You can perform a basic search from the home page, in which all fields will be searched, as well as full-text documents. Only documents that have been processed by an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software will have full-text search available.

To perform a more specific search, you can click on the Advanced Search option (underneath the Basic search bar). From here, you can choose to search only within certain fields, such as "Author", "Title", or "Publication." If you are looking for a particular topic, you can search the "Subject" and "Abstract" fields.

Additionally, you can click on the "Authors" link under the "Browse" section of the home page. This will take you to a full alphabetical listing of all the authors who have contributed to RIT Scholar Works. You can jump to different letters of the alphabet or perform an in-browser search for the author's name. You can also browse by College and Department or Discipline from the home page.

More information on the search features available to RIT Scholar Works can be found in the RIT Scholar Works User Guide.

If you are having trouble locating a specific work, you can contact RIT Scholar Works staff at

How do I save a search?

In order to use this feature, you must have an account on RIT Scholar Works, or, if you are affiliated with RIT, log in with your RIT computer account.

When you perform a search, there will be a link to the right of the results that says "Save this search." This allows you to save the search query you used to your "Research Alerts" page, accessible through the "My Account" page. This way, if you want to view the results of the search again, instead of re-typing it in, you can simply click on the link. Additionally, you will receive an email whenever new works are added to Scholar Works that meet the search criteria.

For more information on using this feature, see the RIT Scholar Works User Guide.

How can I receive updates on new works added to RIT Scholar Works?

RIT Scholar Works has a "Saved Searches" feature (see above), as well as a "Follow" feature that will provide email updates on new works added to RIT Scholar Works, depending on what you would like to follow.

How does the "Follow" feature work?

On the right sidebar, under the "Browse" section, there is a blue button labelled "Follow." Click on that button to receive email updates when new works are added to RIT Scholar Works. You must have an RIT Scholar Works account (or an RIT computer account) and be logged in in order for this feature to work. You will also need to have an account with SelectedWorks, a companion site to RIT Scholar Works. This is where you will manage your "Follows." If you are using your RIT computer account to log in to RIT Scholar Works, you will need to create an account with SelectedWorks. Please use your RIT email address. If you have created a non-RIT account on RIT Scholar Works, you will use this account information to log into SelectedWorks.

For further information on using the "Follow" feature, see the RIT Scholar Works User Guide.

I would like to use content from a work I found on the site--whom should I contact?

RIT Scholar Works is an Open Access repository, meaning that all of the contents on the site are available for free. Generally, if you wish to use or quote from a work, you do not need to contact the author in person, but must give credit to the author. Some works may have a Creative Commons license attached, which will provide further detail on what you can or cannot do with that work.

  • What is Open Access?

    Open Access refers to unrestricted online access of scholarly research. This means that scholarly works are freely available to the user without cost and without having to seek additional permissions for use.

  • What is the Creative Commons License?

    Creative Commons licenses are public copyright licenses that enable an otherwise copyrighted work to be freely accessible, at varying levels, without having to release it to the public domain. If a work has a Creative Commons license, it will be listed on the work record page. For more information on what different Creative Commons licenses permit, visit:

How do I export citations of works found in RIT Scholar Works

Recommended citations for a work are provided on the work record page, as well as on the cover page of the work's PDF download, which you are able to copy and paste. You may have to edit the citation to conform to different formatting styles (APA, MLA, etc.).

If you are affiliated with RIT, you can use the citation tools accessible from

Why can't I see any signatures on thesis PDFs? Why are some advisors listed as "illegible" on thesis records?

For older scanned theses, signatures have been edited out to protect students and advisors from identity theft. In some older theses, names of advisors were not formally typed out. Occasionally, it is impossible to determine the advisor's name based on a signature alone. In these instances, the advisor has been listed as "illegible."

I have encountered the error message "The file is damaged and could not be repaired" when I try to download a file. What do I do?

This is a browser-based issue. This issue does not originate from the Digital Commons software. Typically, this error occurs with Firefox, but can also occur with other browsers. It occurs when attempting to load a large PDF file which utilizes the Adobe Acrobat plug-in within the browser. To bypass this error, right-click on the "Download" button link for the work. Then save the file to your desktop. You will be able to access the work from your desktop.

Please note: Internet Explorer vers. 8 and 9 do not currently support the right-click download option.

Have any questions or concerns that were not addressed above? Feel free to contact us at

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