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Research Guides

Dissertations and Theses

Depositing Digital Work

Graduating authors may request that related digital projects be preserved in conjunction with the deposit of a traditional text-based dissertation or thesis. In addition to the format guidelines for the PDF of your capstone, thesis or dissertation, the GC Library has additional guidelines for submitting digital components. 

Some submitters deposit just a sample of their digital work, while others opt for full reproducibility by capturing all the web pages of a site and or software and database files and it is entirely up to depositors and their advisors which path is taken.  Please see the library's Digital Preservation Guide to help you get started thinking about archiving your digital components.

Common Digital Project Formats

  1. Use a WordPress Backup Plugin: In a shared hosting environment like CUNY Academic Commons, you don't have direct server access. Instead, you'll need to rely on WordPress plugins to create backups. 'Simply Static' is available on the Commons and fairly straightforward to use.

  2. Create a Full Backup: Once installed, initiate a full backup of your WordPress site using the plugin. This will create a compressed backup file containing all your website's data and files. 

  3. Download the Backup File: After the backup process is complete, click 'Click Here to Download' to download a zip of your site.

Archiving an Omeka site involves creating backups of both the website files and the database. Omeka is a content management system typically used for digital collections and exhibits. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to archive an Omeka site:

Backup the Omeka Database:

  1. Access the Server: You need access to the server where your Omeka site is hosted. If you are using a shared hosting service, access your server via FTP or a control panel.

  2. Navigate to the Omeka /Files Directory: Use FTP or the control panel's file manager to navigate to the directory where your Omeka files are located, the /files directory.

  3. Create a Backup of the Omeka Files: You can create a backup of the Omeka files by compressing them into a ZIP file.

  4. Download the Backup: Once the ZIP file is created, download it to your local computer.

  5. Access the Database: You'll need access to the database associated with your Omeka site. Typically, this is done through a tool like phpMyAdmin or the command line if you have server access.

  6. Export the Database: Use the database management tool to export your Omeka database. Here are the general steps:

    • In phpMyAdmin:

      • Select your Omeka database in the left sidebar.
      • Click on the "Export" tab.
      • Choose the export method (usually "Quick" is sufficient).
      • Click the "Go" button to initiate the export. This will generate a .sql file.
    • Using the Command Line (if you have SSH access):

      • Use the mysqldump command to export your database. Replace your-database, your-username, and your-password with your actual database information:

      mysqldump -u your-username -p your-database > omeka-database.sql

  7. Download the Database Backup: After exporting the database, download the .sql file to your local computer. This file contains your Omeka site's database.


For the purposes of submitting your digital material to the CUNY institutional repository, a GitHub (or GitLab, or etc.) repository is about as simple as it gets!

How to Download a GitHub Repository Archive:

  1. Log in to GitHub: Ensure you are logged in to your GitHub account.

  2. Go to the Repository: Navigate to the GitHub repository you want to archive.

  3. Click on the "Code" Button: On the repository's main page, click the green "Code" button.

  4. Download ZIP:

    • To create a snapshot of the entire repository, click "Download ZIP" to download a ZIP archive.

Unfortunately Tableau does not provide a built-in feature to directly archive or export entire Tableau projects as standalone files. However, you can achieve a form of archiving or backup by exporting the contents of a Tableau project individually. Here's how:

1. Export Workbooks and Data Sources:

Tableau projects typically consist of workbooks, data sources, and other related resources. You can export these individually as follows:

  • Workbooks: To export a Tableau workbook, open it in Tableau Desktop, go to "File" > "Export," and choose "Tableau Package (.twbx)." This will create a packaged workbook that includes the workbook and the data source it's connected to.

  • Data Sources: For data sources, you can export them from Tableau Desktop by going to "File" > "Export Data Source" and selecting "Tableau Data Source (.tds)" or "Tableau Packaged Data Source (.tdsx)." Similar to workbooks, these files can be stored for archiving.

2. Export Data:

If your Tableau project includes custom data sources that are not packaged within workbooks, you should also export the data itself if you want to archive it. Depending on the data source, you might need to use database backup/export tools.

3. Save Metadata and Documentation:

To ensure future users understand the context and purpose of your Tableau project, it's a good practice to save metadata and documentation. This includes descriptions, data lineage, and any custom documentation you've created within the Tableau project.

4. Compress Materials into a ZIP File:

On Windows:

  1. Select the files and/or folders you want to compress.
  2. Right-click on the selected items.
  3. Choose "Send to" from the context menu.
  4. Select "Compressed (zipped) folder."

A new ZIP archive will be created with the selected files and/or folders inside it.

On macOS:

  1. Select the files and/or folders you want to compress.
  2. Right-click on the selected items.
  3. Choose "Compress" from the context menu.

A new ZIP archive with the same name as the selected items will be created in the same location.

Squarespace and other 'no-code' site creating apps purposefully make it difficult to export and archive content. As a workaround you can use archiving tools like Conifer:

Using Conifer to Archive a Website:

  1. Visit the Conifer Website: Go to the Conifer website (

  2. Enter the URL: In the provided field on the Conifer homepage, enter the URL of the website you want to archive.

  3. Adjust Capture Settings (Optional): Conifer offers options to adjust capture settings, such as specifying the date and time of the capture or selecting specific pages within your site. You can choose to leave these settings as they are or customize them to your preference.

  4. Start the Capture: Click the "Capture" button to initiate the website capture process. Conifer will load the specified webpage and take a record of it.

  5. Review and Download: After the capture is complete, you'll be presented with a preview of the recorded page. You can review the recording to ensure it looks as expected.

  6. Download the Archived Page: Once you're satisfied with the capture, click the "Download" button to save the archive to your local computer.

  7. Repeat for Other Pages (if needed): If you want to archive multiple pages of your website, you can repeat the process by entering the URLs of those pages and capturing pages one by one.

  8. Organize and Store: Save the downloaded recordings in an organized folder structure on your computer.

To capture videos for archiving purposes, especially those hosted on websites like YouTube or Vimeo, you can use screen recording software or specialized video downloaders. Here's how:

Method 1: Using Screen Recording Software:

  1. Install Screen Recording Software: Choose a screen recording software that suits your needs. Some popular options include OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software), Camtasia, or ScreenFlow (for Mac users). Download and install the software on your computer.

  2. Open the Video You Want to Capture: Navigate to the webpage or platform (e.g., YouTube) where the video is hosted and open the video you want to capture.

  3. Configure Recording Settings: Launch your screen recording software and configure the recording settings. Set the recording area to capture the video player on the webpage.

  4. Start Recording: Start the recording process in your screen recording software and then play the video on the webpage. Ensure that you capture both the video and audio.

  5. Stop Recording: After the video has finished playing, stop the recording in your screen recording software.

  6. Save the Video: Save the recorded video to your computer in a suitable format. Make sure to name and organize the file appropriately for archiving.

Method 2: Using Video Downloaders:

  1. Install a Video Downloader: There are various video downloader browser extensions and standalone software available for this purpose. Examples include 4K Video Downloader, YouTube-DL, or browser extensions like Video DownloadHelper for Firefox.

  2. Open the Video Page: Go to the webpage where the video is hosted (e.g., YouTube) and open the video you want to download.

  3. Use the Video Downloader: Activate the video downloader tool or extension while you are on the video page. In most cases, you'll see an option to download the video. Click it.

  4. Choose Download Settings: Depending on the downloader you're using, you may have options to choose the video quality and format. Select the desired settings.

  5. Download the Video: Start the download process. The video will be saved to your computer once the download is complete.

  6. Organize and Store: After downloading, save the video file to a location on your computer or external storage device, and organize it for archiving.

Please be aware of copyright and fair use laws when downloading and archiving videos, especially if the content is not your own or if it is subject to licensing restrictions. Always respect the terms of service of the video hosting platform and obtain the necessary permissions if required.