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Since 1956, Tulane University has submitted their dissertations to ProQuest® for storage on microfilm. In 2004, the institution decided to have many of their volumes digitized to make it easier for researchers and students around the world to take advantage of the rich research that had been produced during that time.
“It was a two-stage project really,” said the institution’s Archivist, Ann Case. “We decided to have all our older dissertations digitized because we wanted to make them available digitally. It was a really simple process—ProQuest already had the microfilm versions of the dissertations, so we just paid them to have them digitized—it was great!” At the end of the project, Tulane was given a disc of their digitized dissertations, including those that were still embargoed.
The second part of the digital archiving and access project was to digitize approximately 115 dissertations held by the institution’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
“We originally explored having dissertations published from 1890 to 1956 digitized; but it quickly transpired that doing this would be fraught with problems. The old dissertations had been bound together, with many typed on onion skin paper, and I felt that to take the volumes apart in order for them to be scanned and digitized might prove too risky,” said Ann. “But, then I found out that the School of Public Health had around 115 dissertations that had never been submitted to ProQuest for microfilming. I felt it was important to get these into the ProQuest database, so we decided to move forward with that project instead.”
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