As we near the end of the school year, students pursuing departmental honors are putting the final touches on their projects. Upon completion and approval, students will submit them to the University Archives for long-term preservation and access. The library collects these projects as part of its mission to preserve the University’s history, and to make available the valuable scholarship that is produced here.
As of 2014, students are able to submit their approved projects online directly from the library’s website: http://libraries.umw.edu/paper-submission-guidelines/. Once the submission is complete, library staff adds the item to the collection in the digital archive: http://archive.umw.edu:8080/vital/access/manager/Collection/umw:1604. In the submission form, the student is asked to provide information about their project, like an abstract and keywords. This information will be associated with the item in the digital archive so that researchers can easily find the student’s scholarship if it relates to their search.
For honors papers that pre-date the digital archive, bound copies reside in Special Collections and University Archives. In 2005, the library began a preservation project that retrospectively bound every thesis to help ensure their long term preservation. Previously, theses had been submitted to the library in a variety of containers, causing page curls and other issues. In order to provide access to these papers, each has a record in the library’s catalog so that it can be found by the UMW community or other researchers. Library staff are also always happy to hear from alumni who request that their paper be digitized and uploaded into the digital archive.
Of course, there have also always been honors projects that aren’t papers, and the library has collected plays, videotapes, photographs, and costume sketches, just to name a few. As students embark on more complex digital projects every year, the library is working on solutions to collect these and other types of projects, as well.
If you’re submitting an honors project to the collection this year, congratulations! Please don’t hesitate to contact Special Collections and University Archives if you have questions about the process.