For many scholars, the graduate thesis or dissertation is the first work of scholarship they do. Today, many universities are implementing bulk document scanning projects to convert this intellectual output into digital format to increase the visibility and access to this intellectual output. Scanning dissertations and theses is considered a cost-effective way to preserve, store, organize, and retrieve such information and ensure its effective use. This is a great strategy to make valuable information available to a wider audience.
Increasing Importance of Electronic Theses and Dissertation
Today, many public and private universities worldwide are in the process of digitizing their valuable collections.
The Library of Congress’s National Digital Library projects digitized around five million items by 2000. The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertation funded by a grant from the US Department of Education, is a collective focused specifically on digitized versions of theses, dissertations and technical papers that began in 1996 at Virginia Tech. The University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries is on multi-year project to digitize more than a hundred years of worth theses and dissertations. The digitized dissertation and theses can be viewed in their website. In 2014, the University of Southern California announced the start of a project to digitize 50,000 print theses and dissertations in the Grand Library collection, 70% of which were about 50 years old.
The conventional way of archiving and storing theses and dissertations is inefficient. Many dissertations and theses gather mould in library basements and researchers and scholars are unable to locate the information that could be useful to them. This has prompted institutions to opt for scanning and conversion services to transform theses and dissertations into electronic format and thereby provides students and researchers with quick and easy access to valuable information.
Advantages of Digitizing Theses and Dissertations
- It improves the prestige of an institution and also attracts researchers
- It provides an online archive of university-wide research
- Digitized theses and dissertations can be used as teaching aids
- Parts of dissertations can be published as journals or as chapters in multi-author books
- Properly archived, the material will be searchable by subject, author, advisor, title, institution, date
As bulk document scanning projects are not easy to implement in-house, most institutions outsource the task. Established service providers use advanced scanners and other state-of-the-art equipment to provide superior output. They also provide archiving and document management solutions. With an experienced company, universities can rest assured that the project will progress efficiently and that the material will become available online quickly.