Beginning in 2015, the Frances Willson Thompson Library has taken steps to preserve and make more accessible UM-Flint’s graduate theses and dissertations.
Since our last update we have continued to work on the project by adding theses to Deep Blue as students graduate and by reaching out to the remaining authors. We have now contacted all the authors for whom we were able to find contact information. In the end, we sent out over 700 letters asking for authors’ permission to allow the full text of their work to be made available to a larger audience than the three UM campuses.
We have also continued to track how many times the theses have been downloaded from Deep Blue, the University of Michigan’s institutional repository.
Deep Blue by the Numbers
411 theses have been added to Deep Blue between July 2015 and June 2017; the bulk of the theses (375) were added in May 2016.
239 theses (58% of the 411) have been downloaded at least once.
10,901 downloads have occurred since July 2015 when the first few theses were added.
184 of the 411 theses (45%) are designated as open access, meaning they are freely available to anyone on the internet through Deep Blue and search engines, like Google Scholar.
179 of the 184 openly accessible theses (97%) have been downloaded at least once.
60 of the 227 theses (26%) that are only accessible on UM campuses have been downloaded at least once; only 4 of these theses have been downloaded more than five times.
10,772 of the 10,901 total downloads (99%) were for the openly accessible theses.
129 of the 10,901 total downloads (1%) were for the theses only accessible on UM campuses.
In 2016 the Frances Willson Thompson Library took steps to preserve and make more accessible UM-Flint’s graduate student theses and dissertations.
Since our last update we have continued to work on the project and track how many times the theses have been downloaded from Deep Blue, the University of Michigan’s institutional repository. We also helped Graduate Programs set up a work flow to capture newly submitted theses digitally and make them available to a wider scholarly audience more quickly. The process was implemented in the Fall 2016 semester and so far ten theses have been successfully submitted this way.
Deep Blue By the Numbers
391 theses were added to Deep Blue between July 2015 and December 2016.
159 theses (41% of the 391) have been downloaded at least once.
3,223 total downloads, half of which were downloaded between October to December of 2016.
123 of the 159 theses (77%) are designated as open access, meaning they are freely available to anyone on the internet through search engines like Google Scholar.
119 of the 123 openly accessible theses (96%) have been downloaded at least once; and all of the top ten downloaded theses are open access.
3,134 of the 3,223 total downloads (97%) are for the openly accessible theses.
On display were some photos from the collection, most notably about the Arab American history of Flint and Genesee County.
We also opened the Crapo Room, so that visitors could step into the 19th century. The Crapo Room was created in part to preserve the memory of Governor Henry Howland Crapo, Michigan’s 14th governor (serving from 1865 – 1869) and a Flint industrialist. Most the the furnishings and items in the room have been donated by his descendants, including Frances Willson Thompson, his great-granddaughter and the library’s benefactor.
Visitors to the Crapo Room were able to experience some early 20th century entertainment in the form of a music box, which was given to the Nurses Home of Hurley Hospital by William Crapo Durant in memory of his mother Rebecca Crapo Durant (daughter of Governor Crapo) in the 1920s.
(Click on any image to enlarge.)
We enjoyed welcoming our hometown tourists and we look forward to next year’s event!
For the past year, the Frances Willson Thompson Library has partnered with the UM-Flint Office of Graduate Programs, UM Library’s Deep Blue, and database provider ProQuest to digitize the graduate theses of the University of Michigan – Flint.
(Click on any image to enlarge.)
A quick recap: in December 2015, we sent 375 theses to be digitized by ProQuest and in May 2016 we uploaded them into Deep Blue.
While the theses were being digitized we have been contacting the authors for decisions on how their work should be distributed through both ProQuest’s databases and Deep Blue.
Since the original news story was published on 25 April 2015, we have gotten a wonderful response from our authors. Of the almost 400 authors that have been contacted, 190 have responded with their decisions on how their work will be shared with the larger scholarly community.
Most authors have decided to allow the full text of their work to be available in ProQuest’s Dissertations & Theses Global database, a major repository of graduate work from around the world (to which we provide access to current UM-Flint affiliates) and to be openly accessible through Deep Blue, the University of Michigan’s institutional repository.
A book reviewer from CHOICE magazine, a leading source for book reviews that librarians and other academics rely on, said this about the book:
“Bradley’s well-researched compendium describes and puts into context this important and somewhat forgotten era of film history. In the late 1920s, as movies began to talk (or squeak, screech, and otherwise express themselves orally), the film industry was faced with producing products that could quench the film-going public’s thirst for the new medium… One may draw a comparison between the early sound era and today’s world of the Internet/reality TV and find that in media and pop culture, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Then as now, there was a diverse audience with a huge appetite for entertainment and a nascent industry looking to make a quick buck by fulfilling the fickle public’s need for entertainment… Summing Up: Highly recommended.” (Dutka, 2005).
Mr. Bradley has donated a copy of his book to the Frances Willson Thompson Library and it is available for check out.
Currently, the library is working with Graduate Programs to digitally capture the theses of our most recent graduates and to contact the remaining authors.
Later this year, the Library plans to digitize the other half of the theses, most dating from the 1980s to the mid-1990s.
Since Fall 2014, the Frances Willson Thompson Library has increasingly reached out to the University’s international student population, especially with regard to the English Language Program (ELP) collection. We sat down with Liz Svoboda, the library liaison to the International Center and the ELP, to find out more.
Q: What is the English Language Program collection? What is in it?
A: It’s a small collection of about 400 books that I started in Fall 2014. The collection is mainly devoted to books for the ELP students’ extensive reading program, with some test prep materials for the TOEFL, IELTS, and MELAB language proficiency exams.
Q: Extensive reading program? What is that?
A: Basically extensive reading is reading a lot of English books that are at an English language learner’s level of comprehension. The ELP students try to read as many as they can during the semester; their classes even have a friendly competition to see who can read the most.
Their books are leveled for both syntax (sentence structure) and vocabulary for beginning learners all the way to advanced learners who are about to enter academic classes. The main goal of these books is to be interesting to the students but in language they can understand to build up their confidence, reading comprehension, reading speed, and vocabulary. In essence it helps them practice their reading skills outside of their textbooks.
Q: You said these books are outside the textbook? But we’re an academic library, so are they more for education or for fun?
A: I hope they are both! Who says that learning can’t be fun? Imagine reading the equivalent of the Dick and Jane books in Spanish or Hindi, not all that interesting. But if a book has an engaging story or is a biography about someone you admire or it relates to what you want to study, you are more likely to pay attention to the book, while learning some new vocabulary words and seeing what written English is supposed to be. The books being engaging is especially important to new readers and students who do not normally read for pleasure.
Q: How do students know what level of book is right for them?
A: Each publisher has their own scheme, which don’t match each other. So I found a comparison chart from the Extensive Reading Foundation which shows how the different publisher levels correspond to each other, then used colored labels and a lettering scheme I adapted from another ER organization to show which books are easier than others.
The labels are meant to be a guide only; there are syntax and lexical differences between books at the same level from the same publisher. We encourage the students to stop reading a book they chose if it is too hard or not interesting and then to choose another that might be better. It’s not an exact science, but we can’t and shouldn’t stop them from choosing a book that may be too hard but interests them.
Q: You mentioned engaging books? What kinds of books or genres are there?
A: I tried to make the collection as diverse as possible. English language learners are people just like anyone else, so they have diverse interests and tastes, and I want to accommodate that as much as possible. There is about an even mix of fiction and nonfiction. The fiction genres include realistic fiction, mysteries, multicultural or immigrant stories, modified British and American classics, sports stories, and a few science fiction and romance stories. The nonfiction is a lot of biographies and books about to different cultures and the sciences.
Some of the books, both fiction and nonfiction, have an accompanying audio CD, so that students can listen to someone else reading the book as they themselves read it. Listening while reading is supposed to help with pronunciation and word recognition, since many of the students are actually at a higher listening and speaking level than reading and writing, but I’m not sure how many actually do it.
Q: Are these books you can easily get at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?
A: You can probably find them on Amazon, but they are not readily available in commercial stores. The big publishers of English language learner literature are Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Pearson Longman, Macmillian, and Cengage Heinle. So academic publishers, which means you can order them online easily or, in our case, through our book vendor.
Q: How popular is the collection?
A: Pretty popular. Last year (Fall 2014 – Winter 2015) we had a 60% circulation rate. The collection was smaller with just over 200 items (80 of which did not circulate), but had 234 loans over both semesters and pretty even across all levels of the collection. Nonfiction seems to be more popular than fiction, but I’m still waiting to run statistics for this semester.
Q: Any favorite books from the collection?
A: Personally, I enjoyed the biography of Tom Cruise. It’s for an early intermediate reader, so the language is pretty simple, but the opening sentence is something like, “Tom Cruise is a famous star who makes a lot of movies, though not all of them are good.” Cracked me up. But in general I’m impressed by the original stories that English language literature authors write and even some of the nonfiction topics they cover. There’s another book about the artists and filmmakers of Afghanistan who hid the country’s artistic works during the Taliban regime that was incredibly interesting.