Colenda Digital Repository

About Colenda

Colenda is a digital repository for digitized and born-digital material of enduring value to University and global scholarly communities, serving teaching and research needs. It provides direct access and long-term stewardship for these important resources.

Much of Colenda’s content consists of materials owned and digitized by the Penn Libraries, including significant collections that have been donated to the library. Colenda also includes some public-domain digital objects that were created from assets owned by other institutions in the course of a joint project with the Penn Libraries.

Sensitive Materials Statement

The Penn Libraries is committed to producing, preserving, and providing access to knowledge. We make materials accessible to improve information equity and enhance teaching, research, and learning. Some materials may be considered offensive and do not represent opinions, values, positions or norms that are held by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. Where possible, we strive to present these materials within the historical or cultural context they were created by providing descriptive information.

Rights statements

Penn Libraries intends to provide access to objects in Colenda as broadly as possible, for as long as possible.

When designating rights statements for copyright status and re-use of cultural heritage objects in Colenda, we have embraced the options. When designating rights statements for re-use of items created by individuals in the Penn community, we encourage the use of Creative Commons licenses.

For material that we digitize that is in the public domain, we require the use of a maximally open license from either or Creative Commons.

In the spirit of University of Pennsylvania Libraries Open Metadata Policy, we require that all publicly exposed metadata related to an item be licensed under the Creative Commons license CC0 unless otherwise necessary, regardless of the license on the asset itself.

Software components

Colenda is repository software designed for long-term preservation of digital assets and metadata. It is Open Source, and functionality is provided through a customized application written in Ruby on Rails. The application uses the storage platform Ceph for asset storage, selected for high availability, high replication, performance, and fault-tolerance. Colenda also uses git and git-annex to track changes to objects over time. More information about each of these components can be found in the links below.

Colenda also complies with International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) standards, which ensures high-quality images, interoperability with other image viewers, and the ability to download digital materials.

Publications and code


We encourage and welcome community feedback. If you have any questions or comments about Colenda or its contents, please use our LibAnswers service to submit them.