Monday, November 28, 2016

Celebrate Graduate Student Research! Fall 2016 Convocation ETDs now available in ERA: Education and Research Archive

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Twice a year the Library releases some very special digital works into the world: University of Alberta graduates’ theses and dissertations! Congratulations to all these graduate students and their supervisors who have convocated in Fall 2016 for all your hard work and perseverance. Over 600 electronic theses and dissertations became available openly on the web on November 15! We would like to celebrate this event by highlighting the value of the unique and important collection of electronic theses and dissertations at University of Alberta Libraries.

The University of Alberta Libraries has always taken its responsibility to preserve theses and dissertations very seriously, as we hold the ‘last copy’ of all of these works whether in paper format of the past or today’s electronic format. As long-term stewards of these unique and precious works, we do everything we can to ensure their long-term survival.

Fall 2016 theses now available in ERAFor us, these theses also represent a revolution in open access. Theses used to be accessible only by special request. These works, representing the culmination of many years of graduate student research, and often containing important, original, and cutting edge discoveries, were challenging for other researchers to access, or were only available through subscription electronic databases. Now electronic theses are available openly on the web - a change that has taken place at virtually every major research institution around the world.

In 2009 UAL partnered with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research to develop the policy and infrastructure necessary to offer students the choice of submitting a traditional paper thesis submitting their thesis electronically. Over 90% of students immediately chose the digital open access option, immediately exceeding all our expectations. In April 2014, FGSR finalized a policy that requires all theses are submitted electronically.

Today, theses are openly shared and preserved digitally in ERA: Education and Research Archive, the University of Alberta’s institutional repository. We’ve also shared over 15,000 digitized theses in ERA, for a total of over 19,000 digital theses available online for the use of researchers, practitioners, legislators, students, and proud families of our grad students worldwide. Of course, we also continue to care for and preserve those theses in print format that are in our collection which are held at the Book and Record Depository - these can be requested and accessed at the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library.

Although we don’t have time to read every thesis in our collection, we do see many thesis titles!

Of particular interest this round is Dr. Tracy Bear’s dissertation - Dr. Bear received the Governor General’s Gold Medal, which is an award that recognizes the doctoral graduate who achieves the highest academic standing/cumulative scholarly achievement at the University of Alberta. You can read Dr. Bear’s dissertation, Power in My Blood: Corporeal Sovereignty through the Praxis of an Indigenous Eroticanalysis, available in ERA at this link.

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