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SDR Deposit of the Week: CISAC Honors Theses and how a SDR PURL facilitated lively debate

July 17, 2014
Kris Kasianovitz
Image of Encina Hall at Stanford

This spring marked the inaugural deposit of Honors Theses from the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). 

I met with the twelve students in the Fall Quarter to go over research strategies and resources.  I've done this for the past few years now. The difference with this session was that I devoted about fifteen minutes to management and archiving of their research, including a demo of the SDR. 

I circled back to the thesis deposit at the beginning of Spring Quarter. I worked with the thesis coordinator and T.A. to ensure we communicated the deposit process and let them know help was available.  We had a 100% submission rate! From my side of things as a collection reviewer, the deposit process was pretty seamless.  The detailed deposit instruction guide and video created by Stella Ota and Hannah Frost (both of which were sent to the students) were very helpful.  I did learn a few things though:

  • Having the T.A. send the email to the students was a good approach.
  • The “Date Created” field caused some issues for about half of the submitters.  Some didn’t fill it in according to the designated format or left it blank completely. If this isn't filled in correctly, students can't submit their work for final review and publishing.
  • Instructions for the keyword field ask submitters to include their department or program. About 80% left CISAC out, so before publishing I made sure this was added.
  • Some forgot the last step or had issues with their dates (see above), to submit the thesis for review; so follow-up via email is necessary.
  • Usage statistics would be welcomed by the students.
  • Instructions for ensuring a submitted file does not contain a virus might be a good idea. (One of the theses submitted was infected; but with some extra assistance from Hannah Frost, it was taken care of immediately.)

I found that that the promise of having their very own PURL, emphasis on the permanent, to include in resumes, bibliographies, holiday cards, tweets, etc. had a pretty big "oh wow" factor.  Here is one student’s testimonial of using the PURL to distribute her thesis.

"It has been really exciting to see what the thesis has gotten up to - after getting posted on Twitter, it caused a really big debate across borders in the hacker community, and one of the companies I mentioned in my thesis even wrote a (not very complimentary) blog post about it. But this is exactly the debate that the thesis was intended to spark, and it was enabled by having the online link - great success story for the PURL."

It’s great that the SDR is being put to real and good use by our students; and they are seeing the benefits.

I should note though that the CISAC Thesis Collection actually got started with the “Sunny Side Up” submission last summer. The student had heard about the SDR, and wanted a permanent place to put the paper, since after all, he received the William J. Perry Award for his thesis. 

Like the rest of the campus, there are a lot of movers and shakers in the CISAC program. Being able to help them archive their early work is a great service that the Library provides.

In case you are interested, here are the thesis titles with their PURLS:





Photo of Kris Kasianovitz, 2016 August

Kris Kasianovitz

Head, Social Sciences Resource Group
Government Information Librarian, State, Local and International Documents