UI library catalogues Vandal alumni’s work
The library’s new theses and dissertations database catalogues work done by Vandal alumni.Devin Becker, Digital Initiatives Librarian at the University of Idaho Library, worked with Ben Hunter, Head of cataloguing and collections, to create the database. Becker said the purpose of the database was to create an outlet that would make searching past projects easier.
“If you are looking specifically to find out what dissertations or what theses were done in (your) program in the last 10 years, you can find that,” Becker said.
Becker said Hunter came up with the idea and pulled all the files, and then it was Becker who took all of that information and turned it into a searchable database.
“I told him ‘if you pull these for me I can probably make a database and we can get it online,’” Becker said.
That is just what Becker did and while Aug. 23 was the official release date of the Theses and Dissertation Database, the program was up and running the week before.
The database allows students and faculty to search theses and dissertations done at UI from 1909 to 2011. In all there are more than 10,000 searchable documents.
Becker said this database is something that has been asked for in the past.
“I think the emphasis for this is that over the years we get questions from the reference department and other places that people want to see whether these theses have been done — people want to see them all together,” Becker said.
Becker said the database was made with members of the university in mind and that it is interesting to see the intellectual tradition of the university.
The database will allow members of the university from all areas of study to navigate what projects have been done and refrain from possible redundancies.
History professor Ellen Kittell said the work that is found in that database showcases the work we have put out as an institution.
“We as an institution or we as a flagship of the University of Idaho are represented by the work we have done in a cumulative sense,” Kittell said.
Kittell said looking at the past can prevent problems like replicating work when we realize that UI students in 1909 were facing some of the same problems we face today. By reading those projects we can get a glimpse of who we were and who we have become, she said.
“Those databases represent not only curiosities, but more so they represent our historical memory — what we have done, when we did, what questions we were asking and what we were then,” Kittell said.
The Theses and Dissertations Database can be found on the UI Library website and allows users to search via author, date, college and more to find specific works.
Jacob Dyer can be reached at email@example.com