Theses as the academic legacy of student researchers at SRSU Library and Archives: Unraveling ETD administration, modernization, and accessibility




Evans, Betsy
Contreras, Victoria

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Texas Digital Library


University libraries provide access to materials needed by their campus community, but just as importantly, they preserve, promote, and provide access to materials created by their campus community. Theses and dissertations serve primarily as the intellectual output of Masters and Doctoral programs, but also as invaluable resources for researchers and as a seemingly permanent academic legacy for the graduates. This is particularly the case for rural Sul Ross State University. The University currently offers 15 fully remote graduate degrees and is planning to launch its first doctoral program in 2024, with more to follow.

In this presentation, we will discuss some of the challenges that we face in preserving and providing access to Masters theses, particularly for isolated rural communities, including: cost to students, physical copy redundancy, undesignated ownership and responsibility of ETD administration, institution-wide short-staffing and limited resources, long-term preservation, varied levels of access, and a lack of digital access.

Our quandary boils down to one question: how do we best preserve, promote, and provide access to the academic legacy of student researchers, particularly those historically underrepresented in academia?

While the need for a long-term plan is imminent, we are in an information-gathering phase and are actively considering potential solutions, including transitioning to digital-only publication and storage of dissertations and theses. We welcome attendees to share their challenges and ideas as we work toward developing a more equitable and sustainable answer.


TCDL 2024 Session 5B, Wednesday, 5/22/2024, 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm | Moderated by Phebe Raglin, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi | Idea lab | Scholarly Communication