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Senior thesis archive goes digital

September 23, 2014
by Lynn Durgin, Library - Rare Books & Special Collections

Through a joint project of the University Archives, the Office of the Dean of the College, and the Office of Information Technology, senior theses for the Classes of 2013, 2014, and all future classes will be collected and made accessible to the campus community via Princeton University’s digital repository, DataSpace.

Mudd Library student employee Lavondre Nelson '16 retrieves a senior thesis from the Library's collection of almost 60,000 senior theses held in paper form. More than 2,000 are now available electronically, with an expected 1,300 added every year.The University Archives made the transition from collecting paper theses to theses in digital format (PDFs) to broaden accessibility of senior theses within the Princeton community. The Senior Thesis Collection is the most frequently used collection at the University Archives. Princeton students consult theses at a rate of about 1,000 per year to explore topics, gather ideas for possible faculty advisers, find sources, gain familiarity with disciplinary writing styles, develop research methodologies for their own theses, and to generally understand what makes a good thesis. In addition to improving access to theses, the DataSpace repository also has the capability to capture and deliver multiple file formats including text, video, audio, and image files.

“The senior thesis has a long history at Princeton,” said University Archivist Dan Linke. “This is just the next chapter for this important aspect of a Princeton education.”

While most Class of 2014 theses will be available in PDF format on all Princeton-networked computers, a small number of Class of 2014 theses (and all of Class of 2013 theses) will be available only at computer terminals in the Mudd Manuscript Library, and none will be directly accessible to the general public. Senior theses submitted in 2012 and before will continue to be available in paper format at the Mudd Manuscript Library.

A direct link to the Senior Thesis Collection in DataSpace is available here: http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/handle/88435/dsp019c67wm88m.

For more information on the Senior Thesis Collection, contact mudd@princeton.edu

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