CSUN ScholarWorks: Thesis Digitization Project (1957 - 1988)

Project Overview:

As part of a Campus Quality Fee, the Oviatt Library is digitizing the print CSUN Master's thesis collection. The first phase of the project, which runs from August 2013 through June 2014, will focus on the first 30 years of the university from 1957 to 1988. Subsequent phases will cover the years between 1989-2000 (Phase II), 2001-2012 (Phase III), and finally theses with multimedia and other at-risk formats (cassette tapes, VHS, DVD, etc.).

Manuscripts will be digitized and then placed directly into ScholarWorks, CSUN's Open Access Institutional Repository. As of August 22, 2013, the first 10 years from 1957 to 1967 have been digitized and placed in the repository.  We are currently working on 1968.

The impact of Digitization:

Digitization has been proven to provide added value to print texts. The project will help CSUN and its students in multiple ways. First, digitized theses will receive a new life and renewed interest online. Thousand-fold increases in access are associated with digital versions of print texts. One thesis from 2001, for example, was checked out of the library three times in the 12 years it was on the library's shelf. However, since being added to ScholarWorks in October 2012, the thesis has been downloaded over 1000 times. Second, students with disabilities will be able to better access the collection. Digital texts with Optical Character Recognition applied to them will allow students with the ability to access these texts.  As was shown in the HathiTrust lawsuit, creating digital indexes of such content for the sake of adhering to the American Disabilities Act (ADA) is considered a Fair Use under copyright law. Finally, increased exposure of the thesis manuscripts will help to return some subjects to the fore. Many subjects have been buried in recent years--in particular from 1960-1990--due to copyright restrictions. One article in particular finds an egregious lack of materials available to even purchase, let alone access, because of overly restrictive copyright policies. (citation here) This project can help to alleviate a small part of this unfortunate gap in the print book record.


The project will scan nearly 5000 manuscripts from between 1957 to 1988. The progress of Phase I can be seen in the chart below. This chart is updated periodically. Click on the image below to view it in a larger size.

ETDs Retro Digitization Project Progress

Note: Theses that contain multimedia (i.e. cassette, or video) supplements will not be digitized during this first phase due to budgetary and time constraints. These will be addressed in a later phase of the initiative.

Current and Future Projects:

Phase I: in progress for AY 2013-2014; scope includes 1957-1988. (Pre-March 1989 theses published by the university without the (c) copyright symbol are in the Public Domain.

Phase II: (tentative) AY 2014-2015. Digitization of 1989-2000,

Phase III: (tentative) AY 2015-2016. Digitization of 2001-2012

Phase IV: (tentative) AY 2016-2017. Digitization / Migration of thesis manuscripts with at-risk multimedia formats