Libraries Launch Retrospective Digitization of Theses, Dissertations

The Libraries have embarked on an ambitious program to digitize all university theses and dissertations and make them available online to the public, according to librarian Jessica Adamick, assistant to the associate director for library services.

The research works have been available in electronic format since 1997 for dissertations and 2007 for theses, but public online access has not been available. Other dissertations and theses spanning more than 100 years have long been available only in print.

Beginning with the oldest dissertations and theses, which are rarest and most at risk of physical damage, the Libraries have begun digitizing the works and making them available online in ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst.

ScholarWorks will provide high visibility to the works, making them easily searchable via Google and the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), an international digital library that supports open access to theses and dissertations, said Adamick. The digitized dissertations are also fully accessible to persons with disabilities, which was not the case in their print forms.

The Libraries are taking this opportunity to contact alumni, to let them know about the process and give them a chance to weigh in on the public accessibility of their works. Alumni can request that the Libraries send them a link to their digitized and open access thesis or dissertation, or they can opt-out of having their work available open access. 

After digitizing the oldest works in 2013-14, the Libraries have begun digitizing works on a departmental basis. The first departments to be digitized include Afro-American studies, followed by astronomy, Chinese, history, psychology and polymer science.

For more information, contact Jessica Adamick.