The debate for preservation of scholarly works continues to be a hot topic as institutions around the world look for solutions to provide perpetual access to decades, if not centuries, of their institution’s research output. While the current debate explores articles, datasets and other scholarly outputs, ProQuest® has provided institutions with a robust archive solution for preserving their dissertations and theses since 1938. At that time, microfilm was the new technology and today, ProQuest offers digital preservation for dissertations and theses too, through its Digital Archiving and Access Program (DAAP).
The premise is straightforward. Each paper-based dissertation and thesis submitted by an institution is digitized and two copies are produced in microfilm, and a further digital copy is produced in PDF format. The institution receives a copy of both the microfilm and PDF files in order to provide access to their own works in perpetuity. The microform negatives are then stored separately in ProQuest’s climate controlled vaults for preservation, while the digital copy is stored as both a TIFF and a PDF in the online electronic vaults. The PDF copy is also included in ProQuest’s Dissertations and Theses database for discovery by students and scholars around the world.
In 2005, University of Ottawa embarked on a DAAP initiative to digitize approximately 100 years' worth of scholarship. Beginning with digitization of paper copies of theses that ProQuest already held in its archive, the project quickly grew to include theses that were filed in the institution’s library.
As Tony Horava, Associate University Librarian (Collections) and professor at the School of Information Studies at the University of Ottawa, explained, "There have been a number of phases to our project. Starting with the digitization of dissertations ProQuest already had access to meant we didn’t need to worry about shipping and collating supplementary data, and in the first phase alone approximately 4,700 files from 1957-1996 in microform were digitized."
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