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Version: 1.0

Approved: 2021-01-11

We are committed to preserving Virginia Tech University Libraries (VTUL) digital content. In order to do so we are also committed to providing transparent, persistent access to this content. 

The Content Withdrawal, Takedown, and Deletion Policy governs any access status changes to content after it has been ingested into the Virginia Tech Digital Library Platform (VTDLP). The purpose of this policy is to comply with creator/contributor/community rights, copyright laws, and other situations that require a change in digital access status.


This policy is relevant to all content managed and maintained by VTUL in the VTDLP for preservation or access purposes.  

Collection Policies 

Content hosted on VTUL sites and digital libraries is governed by Collection Policies. For reference, see the VTechWorks policies, VTechData policies, Special Collections and University Archives Collections, and the Digital Imaging & Preservation Services' Selection Scope. Many errors that occur after deposit will be handled by the collection and content managers per their respective policies. This policy applies to content that has been ingested into the Digital Library Platform will affect its availability, metadata, and storage locations.

The VTDLP will abide by the policies and collection decisions of the collection and content managers of the individual collections stewarded by the VTDLP.

Status Changes

Content Withdrawal

Withdrawal is temporarily or permanently removing content and its metadata from public access. This may occur if content has been submitted unintentionally or prematurely, if content is meant to be embargoed for a certain amount of time, or as part of a Deletion. Unless it becomes a Deletion, this content is still accessible to and maintained by VTUL personnel. 

Example: Material is submitted for publication and made public but should have been embargoed.  The depositor intends to re-ingest this content for public access at a later date. This content may require a separate request for reinstatement depending on the nature of the withdrawal request.

Content Takedown

Takedown is removing content from public accessibility, but maintaining the archival master and its corresponding metadata in the VTUL internal and external storage. This content is not scheduled to be republished without a separate request. This content is still accessible to VTUL personnel. Content that is taken down will be redirected to a tombstone page where the reason for removal, if appropriate and available, and the item’s citation, will be visible.

Example: Content is discovered to be outside of copyright compliance, or is discovered to be defamatory. The content and its metadata are taken down from publicly accessible platforms, but maintained in VTUL internal storage. Links to this content will be redirected to a tombstone page with its reason for removal and citation.

Content Deletion

Deletion is the complete removal of content and its corresponding metadata from the digital library platform and its internal and external storage, as well as the retiring of its minted identifier. This will remove access for both the public and VTUL personnel. Deletion is not reversible, but the content may be resubmitted and assigned a new identifier per the Identifier Minting Service Policy. Deleted content will be redirected to or replaced by a tombstone page where the reason for removal, if appropriate and available, and the item’s citation, will be visible. While content deletion requests are reviewed, content will be held in a withdrawn state.

Example: Published content is discovered to be erroneous. The collection manager and the DLP team determine that Virginia Tech should not be associated with this content. The content and, in some cases, metadata, are removed from all access platforms, internal storage, and external storage. This content may or may not be directed to a tombstone page depending on the nature of the issue.


Content withdrawal and takedown may be effected by users authorized to manage collections.  Content deletion will be mediated by VTUL administrators. Requests for any change in content status can be made by any individual internal or external to VTUL.

Requests may be made for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Copyright compliance
  • Author/contributor rights
  • Unintentional submission/deposit
  • Data sensitivity or Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Erroneous content
  • Defamatory or abusive content

Significant requests will be stored as administrative records in the VTDLP.

Requests to remove items may be made by emailing

Consideration of Requests

Any requests under this policy will be reviewed by the appropriate library staff and/or the university legal counsel.  

Document Revision History









Digital Preservation Coordinator


Draft, revised


Digital Preservation Coord., AD of Digital Libraries


Draft, revised


Director, Digital Imaging and Preservation Services; Digital Preservation Coord.


Draft, revised


Digital Preservation Coord., AD of Digital Libraries

Ready for review by IT Advisory

1.0Published2021-01-11Digital Preservation Coord.


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