ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9172-8085

Abstract

In 2008 the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries began a project to digitize their collection of over 14,000 print dissertations, ranging from 1934 to 2006, and upload them to the Institutional Repository (IR@UF). At UF, copyright remains with dissertation authors and not the university. Thus, we started an outreach effort to ask authors to opt in to the Retrospective Dissertation Scanning (RDS) project. We worked with the Alumni Association to get contact information for our doctoral graduates, then reached out to them through multiple mediums: e-mail, letter, and postcard. In 2011 Gail Clement and Melissa Levine published “Copyright and Publication Status of Pre-1978 Dissertations: A Content Analysis Approach.” In light of this, our project transitioned to an opt-out model. In addition to the e-mail, letter, postcard method from the opt-in phase of the project, we added a webpage where authors could opt out of public access for their work. If we did not have contact information for an alumni we performed a “reasonable search” to locate such information. Outreach to alumni for a project like this has many benefits for academic institutions, including fostering a collaboration between libraries and external organizations—the Alumni Association in our case. It expands access to the scholarship of alumni, which not only showcases the institution but also encourages researchers to continue or respond to existing scholarship. Additionally, authors and next-of-kin can reconnect with the library and university and appreciate having their work shared online.

In 2011 Gail Clement and Melissa Levine published Copyright and Publication Status of Pre-1978 Dissertations; A Content Analysis Approach. In light of this, our project transitioned to an opt-out model. In addition to the email, letter, postcard method from the opt-in phase of the project, we added a webpage where authors could opt out of public access for their work. If we did not have contact information for an alumni we performed a ‘reasonable search’ to locate such information.

Outreach to alumni for a project like this has many benefits for academic institutions, including fostering a collaboration between libraries and external organizations—the Alumni Association in our case. It expands access to the scholarship of alumni, which not only showcases the institution but also encourages researchers to continue or respond to existing scholarship. Additionally, authors and next-of-kin can reconnect with the library and university and appreciate having their work shared online.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.5703/1288284317071

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Engaging Alumni: The How and Why of Author Outreach for Dissertation Scanning Projects

In 2008 the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries began a project to digitize their collection of over 14,000 print dissertations, ranging from 1934 to 2006, and upload them to the Institutional Repository (IR@UF). At UF, copyright remains with dissertation authors and not the university. Thus, we started an outreach effort to ask authors to opt in to the Retrospective Dissertation Scanning (RDS) project. We worked with the Alumni Association to get contact information for our doctoral graduates, then reached out to them through multiple mediums: e-mail, letter, and postcard. In 2011 Gail Clement and Melissa Levine published “Copyright and Publication Status of Pre-1978 Dissertations: A Content Analysis Approach.” In light of this, our project transitioned to an opt-out model. In addition to the e-mail, letter, postcard method from the opt-in phase of the project, we added a webpage where authors could opt out of public access for their work. If we did not have contact information for an alumni we performed a “reasonable search” to locate such information. Outreach to alumni for a project like this has many benefits for academic institutions, including fostering a collaboration between libraries and external organizations—the Alumni Association in our case. It expands access to the scholarship of alumni, which not only showcases the institution but also encourages researchers to continue or respond to existing scholarship. Additionally, authors and next-of-kin can reconnect with the library and university and appreciate having their work shared online.

In 2011 Gail Clement and Melissa Levine published Copyright and Publication Status of Pre-1978 Dissertations; A Content Analysis Approach. In light of this, our project transitioned to an opt-out model. In addition to the email, letter, postcard method from the opt-in phase of the project, we added a webpage where authors could opt out of public access for their work. If we did not have contact information for an alumni we performed a ‘reasonable search’ to locate such information.

Outreach to alumni for a project like this has many benefits for academic institutions, including fostering a collaboration between libraries and external organizations—the Alumni Association in our case. It expands access to the scholarship of alumni, which not only showcases the institution but also encourages researchers to continue or respond to existing scholarship. Additionally, authors and next-of-kin can reconnect with the library and university and appreciate having their work shared online.