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.
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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.
One interesting outcome of the project, has been an addition to the library’s collection by one of our alumni. Edwin Bradley, M.L.S. 2001 and M.A. 2012, is the curator of film at the Flint Institute of Arts. After being contacted about his 2001 M.L.S. Master’s thesis American Film Short Subjects and the Industry’s Transition to Sound, Mr. Bradley informed us that he turned his research for the thesis into a book: The First Hollywood Sound Shorts, 1926 – 1931.
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.
If you have any questions about this project, please contact Liz Svoboda at email@example.com.
Dutka, A. J. (2005). The first Hollywood sound shorts, 1926-1931. Choice, 43(3), 446.