In 2009, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) purchased a block of approximately 5,000 UIUC dissertations, authored between 1989 and 1997, that were scanned from microfilm by ProQuest. These were subsequently provided in PDF form both within the UIUC institutional digital repository (IDEALS) to the UIUC community and via the ProQuest platform. Subsequently, approximately 18,000 additional dissertations were digitized from microfilm by ProQuest for UIUC. Most geology dissertations contain photographs, micrographs, maps and cross-sections (often in color and often oversized), seismic sections and other figures, images, and plates. This content is often some of the most useful information contained in geology dissertations. However, these elements do not copy adequately into microform format, and therefore are not adequate when digitized from microform. Geology dissertations need to be scanned from originals into high-quality color and grey-scale. Administrators and other library staff unfamiliar with the discipline of geology may fail to understand the nature and extent of the problem. In order to document the need for this in-house work, a study was conducted to reveal the extent of problems in the ProQuest versions digitized from microform. Of the 439 known geology dissertations from UIUC, 398 have been digitized by ProQuest. This study found that 82% of the digitized dissertations had at least one figure with unacceptable quality and therefore need to be rescanned at high quality. The results have implications for other disciplines that rely on images and oversized plates to convey important information.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Engineering (miscellaneous)
- Library and Information Sciences