Theses Digitisation Pilot
The University Library is pleased to announce that it has embarked on an exciting trial project to digitise 250 doctoral level theses from its print collection as a first step to investigating the feasibility of making the University’s collection of PhDs available online.
Making Lancaster’s research universally available
There are approximately 1,500 doctoral level theses available in electronic format through Lancaster Eprints and the British Library EThOS service as a result of mandatory electronic deposit for research theses for students registered from October 2011 onwards. However, the Library holds approximately 6,500 doctoral theses in print format only, dating from the late 1960s.
What are the benefits of doing this?
Print theses are difficult to find, and time consuming and often costly to access, creating barriers to the availability of the unique research they contain. A digital thesis collection maximises the visibility of an institution’s doctoral theses and helps promote its research profile on a global platform to a wide range of researchers. Authors and institutions benefit as there is huge potential to promote their research.
The trial thesis digitisation project
We selected 250 print theses from the collection using criteria based on the number of print consultations since 2012 and representing disciplines from each faculty, including theses from the 1970s onwards to allow us to evaluate digitisation quality for different reproduction techniques. We made the decision to work with an external company, ProQuest, to take full advantage of their proven expertise in working with digitisation projects of this nature.
How will we use the results of the trial to move forwards?
The trial will allow us to evaluate digitisation quality for text created both by typewriter and word processor, as well as supplementary material such as fold outs, original photographic images and accompanying software in a variety of formats.
We will monitor usage figures for the digitised theses very closely to determine the likely reach and impact of a digital thesis collection. In addition to quantitative measures, we will also invite feedback from authors, supervisors and users on the benefits of digital access.
Evidence provided from the trial project will inform the decision on whether investment into a full digitisation project will enhance both the research reputation of the institution and provide alumni with the opportunity to raise the profile of their research in the context of contemporary debate.
Are you an author of a PhD thesis?
Owing to the size of the collection, and because we do not have up-to-date contact details for all authors, we will not be contacting authors individually to inform them that their thesis will be digitised and made available online.
If you are an author of a PhD thesis, we would like to hear your thoughts about the online availability of your work. If you wish your thesis to not be publicly available, please contact the Library firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss with you the most appropriate action to take. The Library operates a takedown policy to remove thesis content in the event of an author requesting that their thesis is removed from open access.