Retrospective Dissertation Scanning

Florida Agricultural College Football Team. On football is written U.F.03 Champions.The UF Libraries’ Preservation Department has started a retrospective dissertation scanning project to help solve problems of access to research, but UF needs permission for Internet Distribution from each author. Authors can grant permissions by completing this form and sending it to the address on the form.
UF requires all new dissertations to be submitted electronically, but that leaves decades upon decades of paper and microfilm-only versions. Finding all of the UF alumni to assign permissions is a monumental task. The retrospective dissertation scanning project has been featured in various news venues (newsletters and the newspaper, emails have been sent to alumni with email addresses on file, letters have been sent to addresses on file) and more communications are planned. Other efforts to get the word out include working through departmental and college contacts and larger and smaller news venues, but this is a slow process so anything automated or anything that easily grows on its own would be a major help. With all of this work the response is slowly building, but I’m hoping that this blog post helps get the word out, too.
Having the dissertations and theses online will be great for researchers and society because it will build the overall pool of shared and available knowledge. Like the picture above, having these materials online will also show a bit of history – UF’s history; the history of a particular idea, research topic, field, researcher; and more. Making high quality research, even older research, openly available to everyone changes the information landscape and opening new doors and allowing for many new possibilities.
If anyone has ideas for more keywords or ways to share the information through faster channels, please add comments to help the project. Authors can give permissions through this online form and mailing it to the address at the bottom of the form, and those who know authors can share the form with the authors. For more information, see the Preservation Department’s page on the Retrospective Dissertation Scanning Project or see this example of a digitized dissertation.
To best help this message get to past authors, here are keywords to further it along through the magic inner workings of the Internet and search engines: UF dissertation, dissertations, thesis, PhD, EdD, doctorate, doctoral, graduates, alumni, former graduates, graduate students, research, retrospective, online, microfilm, print, past, online, digitize, share, archives, scanning, prior, past, old, database, University of Florida, UF, gators, Florida alumni, alumnus, open access, online, openly accessible, make available, share, digitization, digital

1 Comment

  1. The only thing that comes to mind is to use the various alumni channels. There’s an alumni newsletter you could try to get an announcement in, plus the Alumni Association’s Web site, the colleges’ and programs’ individual alumni programs, reunion events, and so on. You might even be able to get the list directly for graduates of thesis- and dissertation-producing programs and contact them via direct mail. If you’re not doing those things already 🙂
    BTW, are you digitizing dissertations in the public domain (produced pre-1923), requiring no permission?
    I had an interesting experience earlier this year digitizing my mother’s dissertation. It’s not professional quality, but at least now it’s available. I deposited it in her alma mater’s IR, but they never accepted it, so instead I posted it to NDLTD:

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