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“Trace” Online Archive Just Logged its One-Millionth Download

trace_1millionDL-01_smallThe University of Tennessee Libraries is one of many research libraries that now provide a platform for scholars to publish their research and creative work online. UT’s digital archive, dubbed Trace (for Tennessee Research and Creative Exchange), this week reached and surpassed ONE MILLION downloads of scholarship by UT researchers.

More than 600,000 of those downloads occurred over the past year, indicating that Trace — which was launched only three years ago, in September of 2009 — is fulfilling its mission to expand access to the university’s intellectual capital. Free online access via Trace makes UT research and scholarship easily discoverable anywhere in the world.

“Trace offers a digital space for collaboration on an international level, increasing the reach and potential influence of scholarship created at the University of Tennessee,” according to Holly Mercer, associate dean for scholarly communication and research services at the UT Libraries.

Trace brings together in one place the work produced by the UT community and gives faculty a place to share their published and unpublished work. If a researcher wishes to share research results more quickly than a journal article can wend its way through the peer review process, Trace provides a convenient venue. Faculty can create individual webpages to showcase their scholarship, and Trace reports to authors how often their individual works are accessed. Additional features facilitate the publishing of electronic journals and the hosting of conferences.

Not only are Trace collections being accessed more frequently by the scholarly community, UT’s contributing authors increasingly use Trace to share their articles, data sets, multimedia works, and image collections. Approximately 7,500 of the more than 14,750 items in Trace were uploaded over the past year.

Trace also functions as a permanent repository that preserves the work of UT scholars and researchers. With goals of collecting digital content in a variety of formats, organizing it to make it discoverable and preserving it to assure digital file stability, long-term usage, and security, Trace allows any member of the university community to deposit work regardless of genre or format. It also allows depositors to affirm their own copyright ownership and, at the same time, extend nonexclusive rights for noncommercial use.

“The library has always been a trusted archive for the end products of scholarship, and Trace continues that mission,” notes dean of libraries Steve Smith. “Trace is helping UT advance knowledge on a global scale. One million downloads is a great milestone.”

We are celebrating as the one millionth download “Why We Don’t Vote: Low Voter Turnout in U.S. Presidential Elections,” the Honors Thesis Project of a student in UT’s prestigious Chancellor’s Honors Program — and a very timely topic! Trace recorded its one-millionth download on September 25, and — on that day alone — this thesis by Daniel Steven Roberts was downloaded 78 times, proving that Trace increases the value of student research, too.


Seth Jordan, Trace Administrator and Interim Manager, Digital Library Initiatives, University of Tennessee Libraries,, 974-4121

Holly Mercer, Associate Dean for Scholarly Communication and Research Services, University of Tennessee Libraries,, 974-6899

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