Kenya National Archives

By Bonnie Ryan, recently retired Librarian for Africa/African American Studies.

map of East Africa Protectorate in 1912
Struggle for Kenya, Robert Maxson 1993, 18

 “I would like to investigate the colonial government in the Northeastern Frontier district or province of Kenya in the early 20th century, focusing on education policies.”

“I would like to look at land tenure disputes in the Nyanza Province…”

Two questions above are examples of the type of research that leads scholars to Syracuse University Libraries’ Kenya National Archive collections.

What are the Kenya National Archives?

The Kenya archive collections comprise a large variety of materials which are mostly primary source government documents. Many of the materials were at one time confidential and belonged to the colonial government of Kenya up to the early 1960’s.  Other types of materials include a large number of microfilm reels of newspapers, journals, and papers of assorted social organizations. Syracuse University Library is the sole repository for the complete collection on the Kenya National Archive of materials up to the time of independence from colonial rule in Kenya. Duplicates of selected portions of the collection are held at various other archival institutions around the world, including the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) in Chicago; the National Archives of Kenya in Nairobi; the National Archives of Great Britain , London; and some U.S. universities such as University of Michigan and University of Illinois.

Location and Use of the Collection

The Kenya National Archive microfilm collections are currently housed on the 3rd floor of Bird Library in cabinets with other microfilm collections.  Microfilm readers/scanners are nearby.  When viewing the microfilm, a scholar can download pages onto a USB drive for printing at their leisure.  The expert staff at the service desk on the third floor are available to help scholars with any technical or access assistance. Syracuse University Libraries offer Interlibrary Loan to scholars in the continental U.S. for up to 4 reels of the Kenya National Archive collection at a time.

How the collection came to Syracuse

The collection was produced in the 1960’s through a joint grant with the National Science Foundation, the government of Kenya, and the Program of Eastern African Studies of Syracuse University, which is no longer in existence. The East Africa Program was developed in 1962 as a very strong component of the Maxwell School, attracting a number of scholars of the African continent, including Eduardo Mondlane and Fred G. Burke (Gregory 1984). The Kenya documents were microfilmed by Syracuse University faculty in the East Africa Program, their graduate students, and the Chief Archivist of Kenya in the mid-sixties.

The story of how the documents were chosen, found, collected, and received by the scholarly community is full of suspense and political intrigue. It is a lesson in international and scholarly diplomacy. To find a thorough description and history of the collection, look at Robert Gregory’s article in Syracuse University Libraries’ Associates Courier, Vol. XIX, Number 2, Fall 1984, pp. 29-59. You can also view the article through the Syracuse University Libraries’ SURFACE repository. The collection of approximately 1,369 microfilm rolls was then sent to the Syracuse University Libraries in 1966 and 1967 to preserve the records of the colonial government for research purposes.

How the collection is used

Because of the wide diversity of materials within the collections, most of which is not fully indexed, scholars are encouraged to visit Syracuse University Libraries and peruse the collections themselves.  To prepare scholars for the collections, many of the indexes that were produced have been digitized, and are part of the Libraries’ digitized collections (Kenya National Archive Guides).  On-site orientations are offered to visiting scholars who are using the collections in our Libraries for the first time.

These extremely valuable collections have served a number of scholars from around the world as well as faculty and students at Syracuse University, such as Professor Martin Shanguhyia, Department of History. Dr. Shanguhyia makes extensive use of the collection for his classes as well as for his own research investigations. In any given year, 16-20 scholars from other institutions may access the collection. Every single scholar who has used the collection goes away with more information than they knew existed on their topic and are armed with citations and microfilm numbers to access the KNA sources via Interlibrary Loan or in-person for further research.

Some challenges and closing remarks

There are many challenges facing the future of this rich collection, primarily in terms of preservation and access. One ongoing concern is the gradual deterioration of the quality of the content, given the age and nature of the microfilmed materials. In terms of access, there is also a question of how to make the resources, including their guides and indexes, open and accessible to a wider group of scholars. There is also the real and unresolved issue of ownership and corresponding rights to the documents themselves that must also be discussed between a number of stakeholders around the world, most importantly between Syracuse University and the Kenyan Government.

As Robert Gregory ably described in his 1984 article in the Library Courier, East Africa in general and Kenya in particular is a fascinating study for African scholars.  The tensions, often violent, between the occupying colonizers of the British Empire and the struggles of liberation of the peoples of the African nations, such as the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya (Gregory, 1984, 32) are documented in a number of sources. (Maxson 1993)  Despite the fact that it is from the perspective of the occupying, colonial forces, the Kenya National Archive collections gives the scholar a glimpse of the effects of British occupation on an African nation and the struggle of Kenya’s citizens to survive and prevail in all its complicated, bureaucratic, and heart-breaking details.

Gregory, Robert G. “The Development of the East African Collection at Syracuse University”, The Courier, 19.2 (1984) 29-59

Maxson, Robert M. Struggle for Kenya: The Loss and Reassertion of Imperial Initiative, 1912-1923
1993 Cranbury,N.J.: Associated University Presses


A delegation from the Kenya National Archive visited Syracuse University Libraries from December 9 – 13, 2019 to learn how the Syracuse University collection of the Kenya National Archives is maintained and accessed.  The delegation consisted of Mr. Frank Mwangi, Director of the Kenya National Archives, Nairobi and Assistant Directors, Naftal Chweya and Richard Wato.  There were an additional three members of the delegation visiting other research institutions in the U.S. at the same time.

Syracuse University Libraries’ employees Darle Balfoort and Bonnie Ryan worked closely with Director Mwangi and Assistant Directors Chweya and Wato to search the Kenya National Archives guides and bibliographies.  The delegation also met with Professor Martin Shanguhyia, History Department, and his graduate assistants. Director Mwangi hopes that their visit may open future discussions between the Kenyan government and Syracuse University on the preservation and conservation of the University’s Kenya National Archive collections.

Photo above shows from left: Mr. Richard Wato, Assistant Director, Kenya National Archives; Darle Balfoort, Library Technician and Maps Assistant; Mr. Naftal Chweya, Assistant Director, Kenya National Archives; Bonnie C. Ryan, (recently retired) Social Science Librarian; Mr. Francis Mwangi, Director of Kenya National Archives.

New e-Resources

Check out the newly acquired Digital Archival Collections:

Archive of primary source publications relating to the history and study of social, political, health, and legal issues impacting LGBT communities. Documents are from the collections of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, GLBT Historical Society, New York Public Library, and the Lesbian Herstory Educational Foundation, Inc. Content includes newsletters, papers, government documents, manuscripts, pamphlets, and more.

Speeches, debates, votes, party platforms, names of conventions delegates and alternates from Democratic National Conventions of the United States.

Speeches, debates, votes, party platforms, names of conventions delegates and alternates from Republican National Conventions of the United States.

Newspapers from the Middle East and North Africa published between 1902 and 1972, digitized as part of a Global Press Archive (GPA) CRL Charter Alliance project. This is an open access collection, with partial financial support from Syracuse University Libraries.

E-Book Packages, frontlists (new titles are added as they are published):

  • 2020 titles published by SAGE Publishing, active on the SAGE Knowledge platform
  • 2020, 2021, and 2022 titles in the MATHnetBASE ebook collection, active on the Taylor & Francis eBooks platform
  • 2020 titles published by ICE Publishing (Institution of Civil Engineers), active on the ICE Virtual Library

Information Literacy and The High School to College Transition

by Abby Kasowitz-Scheer, Learning Commons Librarian.

As an academic librarian, I’m often asked by school librarians and others, “What should students learn in high school in order to be prepared for college-level research?” I began exploring this topic along with other academic and school librarians from the Central New York area in a group called “Bridging the Gap,” initiated in 2015 by the Central New York Library Resources Council (CLRC) and organized by the OCM BOCES School Library System.

In my own experience working with first year students and other undergraduates, I see a wide range of skills and experiences. I acknowledge that our students come from a variety of high schools and communities within the U.S. and abroad. According to the American Library Association’s State of America’s Libraries 2019: School Libraries Report, 91% of all public and private K-12 schools in the United States have school libraries, and only 61% of schools have full-time librarians.

I try not to make assumptions about the types of library instruction or resources students have been exposed to before they arrive at Syracuse University. When I teach first-year students, I focus on basic information and skills to help them with general library use, as well as upcoming research assignments in the context of the SU Libraries’ Information Literacy Instruction Program.

I recently co-presented on “academic inquiry and research” along with colleagues from Mohawk Valley Community College and Hamilton College at the 2019 Leatherstocking Conference & Technology Showcase for school librarians and other K-12 educators. I offer this (slightly edited) list of tips to help high school students prepare to do research using libraries in higher education institutions:

  1. Know the difference between types of sources: Students should understand that there exists a wide range of resources available to them that can provide information from a variety of perspectives. They should look beyond free web resources and utilize subscription databases (available in many high schools), books, journals, videos, etc.
  2. Identify keywords related to research topics: It’s not enough to search using one word or phrase representing a research topic. It’s important for students to identify questions and then generate a list of words or terms to use in a series of searches to explore their topics from multiple angles.  
  3. Be familiar with the concept of Interlibrary Loan: If your library doesn’t have something, there’s a good chance they can request it from another library and make it available to you.
  4. Spend time on college library websites before you arrive: High school seniors should explore their college library website to see what resources and services will be available to them. (Thanks to the school librarian who attended a presentation I gave last year for this helpful tip!)
  5. Recognize research as a process that allows students to explore interests and develop their voice: The research process is more productive and interesting when students are engaged and use the opportunity to develop their intellectual curiosity. As students move through their college experience, they will begin to see that their work and their voice can be part of larger intellectual discussions.
  6. Ask for help! This is the most important piece of advice I give to new college students as well as all researchers. Librarians and library staff are ready and willing to answer questions and consult with students on all aspects of research process (e.g., identifying research topics, finding and accessing information, evaluating sources, citing sources, etc.). At SU Libraries, we provide multiple options for contacting staff, including in-person, email, phone and even 24/7 chat.

It’s important to note that academic library staff is available to teach and reinforce information literacy skills when students get to college, but some general familiarity with and understanding of the above concepts are helpful. Academic and school librarians should continue to work together to make sure students are exposed to information literacy concepts and information resources and to discuss how best to help students establish good library use and research habits they can take with them to college.

SU Libraries’ Discovery Team

by Emily Hart.

One of the primary missions of libraries is to provide easily accessible information to their communities, ultimately protecting patrons’ freedom to read. At SU Libraries, there is a team of individuals from across the Libraries who work towards optimizing the Libraries’ discovery layers. These discovery layers include systems like our Libraries’ catalog and single search system, Summon, which help to facilitate access to the various types of information and materials available within and through the Libraries. This Discovery Team is hard at work behind the scenes monitoring updates to our systems and keeping an eye on new product developments that will enhance services and our users’ abilities to “discover” resources.

The Discovery Team is organized into two subcommittees, the Communication, Outreach, and Assessment Team (COAT) and the Configuration Team. The primary mission of the COAT subcommittee is to reach out to the campus community for usability testing around our discovery systems. The feedback they gather is then shared with the Configuration Team, who make responsive changes based on the input of our users. This process is designed to be iterative to facilitate the consistent monitoring and improvement of our systems. By ensuring high functioning systems that help our users easily search for and find items, such as books and journal articles, we are increasing the usefulness and discovery of the Libraries’ collections. 

A recent initiative of the Discovery Team has been to recommend purchasing a new piece of software called StackMap. This is an online mapping tool designed to help library users more easily locate physical books and other print items in our collections. For example, if you wanted to find the book “Marie Curie: a life” at SU Libraries, you could go to the Libraries’ website and type in the title of the book into the search box on the homepage. Later this semester, when StackMap is launched, you will see a button that says “Map It”. When you click the button, a map of the Library will display with the specific location of the book highlighted and explicit directions telling you how to get to it. Look for the launch of this new mapping software by March of 2020.

The Discovery Team welcomes input on how we can improve our systems and make it easier for users to find the Libraries’ resources. To submit feedback, email

A Decade of Architecture Books

by Barbara Opar, Architecture librarian

In late December of 2019, CNN posted online what they considered the most influential books of the decade. The article began with the statement that “A decade is in part defined by its books. And recent days have seen many roundups of the best books of the 2010s — the titles that critics consider the pinnacle of literary excellence.” (

That, of course, made me wonder if it might be easy to compile a list of the most influential architecture books of the past decade.  What defines influence?  How important are circulation counts?  Do faculty referrals or use in course reserves (Jean-Louis Cohen’s The Future of Architecture, Since 1889) trump general circulation? Some books receive high use for a few years (The Domestic Space Reader) then may be considered core but not circulate highly. Influence derives from a combination of factors including traditional academic tracking like citation counts and mentions on social media. We must also consider that one title might generate interest in a topic (Atlas of Brutalist Architecture or Archigram: the book) and as such lead to more titles and expanded research in an area. For instance, while not the first book on the topic, Mimi Zeiger’s 2009 Tiny Houses I believe helped spawn interest in the topic of small houses.

Some of the specific titles below (Elements, Fundamentals, Project Japan) are ones that most everyone will agree have been influential. I presume, though, that not everyone will agree with all my choices. However, in considering the titles, I came to realize that certain topics stand out (net zero or climate related topics) or that certain publishers (DAMDI who published Program Diagrams) have made a substantial difference. When considering topics that generated a great deal of interest with respect to architecture during the course of the past decade, these came to mind: climate change, net zero energy design, sustainability, building materials, the small house movement, modern architectural movements such as the Bauhaus, Brutalism and metabolism. Books like 100 Ideas That Changed Architecture serve as important reference sources. Other titles like Ecological Urbanism present well written overviews of ecological concerns and how they might be mitigated through sustainable practices. Some topics will always dominate the discipline such as architectural detailing (De-tail –kultur). Manual of Section is another similar work highly recommended by faculty. Certain authors – Farshid Moussavi being one– have written works on architecture which have been and continue to be influential in teaching.  The Function of Style- while not as popular as her Function of Form or Function of Ornament- is nonetheless an important title. Books on major and contemporary architects like David Adjaye, Jimenez Lim and Syracuse Architecture’s own MOS are frequently consulted. Jimenez’s book is a graphic novel – a highly original topic in architecture. Books on individual projects are not frequent, but when they appear such as The High Line they prove to be of great use. The Handbook of Tyranny with its study of refugee camps and prisons introduces important topics tangential to architecture. One title on my list- The Other Architect– may not be broadly known but it presents a changing architectural profession not steeped in traditional design work. This is the catalog of an exhibition held at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. My last selection is a new edition of Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, a title surely on everyone’s list of influential architecture books.

As we enter the next decade new Bauhaus books are being issued on its 100th anniversary. These as well as topics yet to be envisioned will make up the most influential books of the next decade.

But without further ado, here is my list of the most influential architecture books of 2010-2020.

The List:

Adjaye, David. African Metropolitan Architecture. New York: Rizzoli, 2011.

BIG Bjarke Ingels Group. Hot to cold: An Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation. Köln: Taschen, 2015.

Borasi, Giovanna. The Other Architect: Another Way of Building Architecture. Montréal, Québec: Spector Books, 2015.

Briganti, Chiara. The Domestic Space Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.

Chalk, Warren. Archigram: the book. London: Circa Press, 2018.

Cohen, Jean-Louis. The Future of Architecture, Since 1889. New York: Phaidon, 2012.

Deutinger, Theo. Handbook of Tyranny. Zürich : Lars Müller Publishers, 2018.

Hootman, Thomas. Net Zero Energy Design: A Guide for Commercial Architecture.  Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Koolhaas, Rem. Elements. Venice: Marsilio, 2014.

Koolhaas, Rem. Fundamentals: 14th International Architecture Exhibition. Venice: Marsilio, 2014.

Koolhaas, Rem. Project Japan: Metabolism Talks. Köln: TASCHEN GmbH, 2011.

Kumpusch, Christoph A. De-tail– kultur : if buildings had DNA : case studies of mutations : the complex behavior of collective detail, 10 lenses, 12+1 projects. Beijing: AADCU Program, 2016. 

James Corner Field Operations. The High Line: Foreseen, Unforeseen. New York: Phaidon, 2015.

Lai, Jimenez. Citizens of no place: An Architectural Graphic Novel.  New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012.

Lewis, Paul. Manual of Section. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

McLeod, Virginia. Atlas of Brutalist Architecture.  New York: Phaidon Press, 2018.

Meredith, Michael. MOS: Selected Works. New York, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2016.

Metaborizumu no mirai toshi = Metabolism, The City of the Future. Tōkyō: Shinkenchikusha, 2011.

Moussavi, Farshid. The Function of Style. New York: Actar, 2014.

Mostafavi, Mohsen. Ecological Urbanism. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller, 2010.

Pyo, Miyoung. Program Diagrams. Seoul: DAMDI, 2011.

Stalder, Laurent. Atelier Bow-Wow: A Primer. Cologne : König, 2013.

Venturi, Robert. Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction at Fifty. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019.

Weston, Richard. 100 Ideas That Changed Architecture. London: Laurence King, 2011.

Giving Thanks for our Sound Beat Partners

By Jim O’Connor, Producer of Sound Beat

Producing audio episodes and projects for Sound Beat and Access Audio requires cooperation between many Libraries partners. I’m continually thankful for the support of staff from Belfer, Special Collections Research Center, and the librarians who help to guide research for these projects. Furthermore, an enjoyable part this job is interacting with students on a daily basis. The program has benefited from the hard work and insight of gifted students, especially over the past few years as our internship opportunities have grown more robust.

Sound Beat interns help to set programming schedules, write episodes for our 90 second on-air interstitial segments, perform quality control on our website (, post on social media, and support distribution to our more than 360 stations across the globe. In addition, through their work with Access Audio creating longer form audio programming, they are gaining firsthand experience in the various stages of audio book and documentary production. They interact regularly with partners across the Syracuse University campus, including WAER, school and college partners, and University counsel. At Bird Library they receive invaluable research instruction from librarians including Rachel Fox von Swearingen and Patrick Williams. Over the years we’ve worked with impressive students who have won awards and honors for academic performance during their tenure at SU.

Through the Sound Beat class partnership, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of SU students, including those in honors and musicology classes. I enjoy instructing them on how to write scripts designed for an audience’s ears rather than eyes. The process usually starts with students using audio archive research to create a longer form written piece, which gradually is revised into a concise, informative, and entertaining 90 second script. The best of these student-created pieces are selected to air in the 360 markets where Sound Beat is carried — across North America, the Philippines, and even New Zealand. Each semester brings a new class of fresh students with unique perspectives and interests that come through in the pieces they select and write.

We’ve also been proud to partner with the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education’s InclusiveU program, working with students with intellectual and cognitive disabilities. InclusiveU students have contributed immensely to numerous audio productions that will be released in the coming year and have aided our goal of becoming a model of inclusivity and accessibility across campus and beyond.

I consider it a great privilege to play a role during an exciting and formative time in these students’ lives. I’m excited to share our accomplishments and show the SU community what’s coming from all of us at Sound Beat and Access Audio in 2020.



In Celebration of University Press Week, SU Press Author Sean Kirst Discusses ‘Community’

Written by Sean Kirst, author of ‘The Soul of Central New York.’ Kirst was the recipient of journalism’s 2009 Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing; he is now a columnist with The Buffalo News.

Eight years ago or so, when I began working with editors at the Syracuse University Press on “The Soul of Central New York,” the entire goal – and the success of the book – hinged on the notion of community.

At its heart, the book was a collection of columns I had written over what would turn into 27 years as a staff writer and columnist with The Syracuse Post-Standard. The idea was capturing – as a guy who first arrived here years ago from somewhere else – what I had sensed and hopefully shared over many years with readers about Syracuse and Central New York: It is a place of extraordinary physical beauty, heritage and shared experience that had – through decades of economic, environmental and cultural struggle – sometimes forgotten its own gentle but resounding claim to the extraordinary.

The idea of putting together such a a collection sounds simple. As I quickly learned, It was not. My early attempts contained too many columns, too many repetitive themes and too little of a focus. The first concept involved roughly 150 columns. In the end, in close partnership with editor Alison Maura Shay of the SU Press, she wisely convinced me to almost halve that number and create a narrative thread binding it together, with the first sentence connected to the last.

‘The Soul of Central New York’ offers accounts of some high-profile figures whose personal lives in some often intimate way had intersected with Syracuse or the region: Famed children’s author Eric Carle, then-Vice President Joseph Biden, anthropologist Jane Goodall, Onondaga Nation faithkeeper Oren Lyons, longtime Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim.

Yet they were simply part of the core notion of the book, which was illuminating how a network of seemingly everyday tales from a multitude of experiences – some involving the region’s defining and ongoing connection with the Onondagas – meshed together in a living definition of community.

Thus the fate of an elderly man who falls on a bitterly cold day on a downtown sidewalk, or the tale of a child raised amid struggle in a housing project whose chance encounter at a newsstand helps him ascend to a career as a bank executive, or the account of a woman born with cerebral palsy who formally turns out the lights of an institution that once overwhelmed her life …. these narratives became the spine, the foundation of the book.

All told, it took five years to put together, and the process demanded that I jettison some of my own early preconceptions and focus on making it tighter, smaller and, hopefully, significantly more effective. The outcome was a reaction that I don’t think any of us expected: It became the fastest-selling book in the history of the Syracuse University Press, and a book intended to make at least a small and lasting statement on a sense of place, of joined identity.

For that, I am grateful to the editors and staff at the SU Press. Through their patience, and their belief in the larger theme, we attempted to create a quiet reminder of how struggle, pain and love, the core forces in any solitary life, are also the elements that forge true community – and provide the strength to last.

Native American Heritage Resources and Studies

by Bonnie Ryan, librarian for Social Sciences

Syracuse University Libraries acknowledge the Onondaga Nation, the indigenous people on whose ancestral lands of the Onondaga Nation territory Syracuse University now stands.

Syracuse University Libraries supports the curriculum and research needs of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program’s faculty, students and staff, including students of the Haudenosaunee community.  The Libraries have also partnered or collaborated with programs such as the Ska.Nonh Center – Great Law of Peace Center and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

Here are some examples of SU Libraries’ resources on Native American and Indigenous studies:

Research Guide:

Databases of primary and secondary sources including:

  • American Indian Histories and Cultures
    Spanning the 17th through 20th centuries, American Indian Histories and Cultures presents unique materials about early contacts between European settlers and American Indians, and the subsequent political, social and cultural effects of those encounters on American Indian life. SU’s Native American and Indigenous Studies Program Director, Scott Manning Stevens, served on the editorial board as Director of the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center.
  • American Indian Newspapers
    Newspapers published by indigenous communities in North America from 1828 to 2016. Covers topics such as civil rights, health, land rights, sovereignty, education, environmentalism, and more.
  • Bibliography of Native North Americans
    Bibliographic database covering all aspects of native North American culture, history, and life. This resource covers a wide range of topics across the United States and Canada including: archaeology, multicultural relations, gaming, governance, legend, and literacy.
  • North American Indian Thought and Culture
    Provides access to primary and secondary sources as told by North American Indians of the 18th and 19th centuries.

New books on Native American and Indigenous Studies in print format, located on the 3 floor of Bird Library include:

  • Indians on the Move: Native American mobility and urbanization in the twentieth century by Douglas Miller E98 .S67 M55 2019
  • Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the present by David Treuer E77 .T797 2019
  • Sovereign entrepreneurs: Cherokee small-business owners and the making of economic sovereignty by Courtney Lewis E99 .C5 L397 2019
  • Indigenous food sovereignty in the United States: restoring cultural knowledge, protecting environments, and regaining health by Devon A. Mihesuah; Elizabeth Hoover E98 .F7 I53 2019,

New books located on the New Book Shelf, 1st Floor include:

  • Coming full circle: the Seneca Nation of Indians, 1848-1934 by Laurence Hauptman E99 .S3 H345 2019
  • Rural indigenousness: a history of Iroquoian and Algonquian peoples of the Adirondacks by Melissa Otis E99 .I69 O85 2018

Open Access Electronic Theses & Dissertations

By Déirdre F. Joyce, Head of Digital Library Program

The records for the ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) submitted by the Graduate School for Summer 2019 have been successfully uploaded into SURFACE with submissions from 30 different departments:

Anthropology; Art; Biology; Biomedical and Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Communication and Rhetorical Studies; Counseling and Human Services; Cultural Foundations of Education; Earth Sciences; Economics; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Geography; History; Human Development and Family Science; Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics; Mass Communications; Mathematics; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Media Studies; Nutrition Science and Dietetics; Physics; Political Science; Psychology; Public Administration; Public Relations; Social Sciences; Sociology; and Teaching and Leadership

50 dissertations were submitted and their records have been added to SURFACE.   Almost all authors selected Open Access options.

  • 30 items are already full open access in SURFACE.
  • 9 additional items will be open access in SURFACE at the end of an embargo period.
  • 3 SURFACE records were created for dissertations that were not submitted as Open Access, but which are available in ProQuest
  • 8 SURFACE records were created for dissertations that were not submitted as Open Access, but which are currently embargoed in ProQuest

All electronic dissertation records are available here:

36 master’s theses were submitted and their records have been added to SURFACE.  Again, almost all authors selected Open Access options.

  • 24 items are already full open access in SURFACE.
  • 3 additional items will be open access in SURFACE at the end of an embargo period.
  • 5 SURFACE records were created for theses that were not submitted as Open Access, but which are available in ProQuest
  • 4 SURFACE records were created for theses that were not submitted as Open Access, but which are currently embargoed in ProQuest

All electronic theses records are available here:

Open Access: An International Student Perspective

By: Euphemia Brewer Fasama (Maxwell School student from Liberia) and Prathamesh Pradip Datar (iSchool student from India), graduate student employees, working under the direction of Amanda Page, open publishing and copyright librarian

Open Access week is October 21-27, 2019. Two student voices share their opinion, according to the theme “Open for whom?”

In an era where the world’s desire for unrestricted access and instant gratification is insatiable, Open Access may be a critical answer for scholars and researchers.  Open Access provides the scholar and researcher with an opportunity to download and access information, articles, and other publications types at no financial cost to readers, as long as internet access through a library or mobile device is available. There are two methods used to deliver content through Open Access:[1] Open Access Archives or Repositories (referred to as “Green”) and Open Access Presses, Publishers, or Publications (referred to as “Gold”).

The author of the scholarly article or publication also benefits from publishing through Open Access. The author is able to have their work available for others to read, while retaining their intellectual property, rights and copyright. This format also provides them with immediate recognition and a potentially broad audience and promotes citations.

Today, a lot of public dollars are invested in research, so it stands to reason that the results of that research should be widely available through Open Access. Unfortunately, the publication of research is sometimes hidden behind financial, technical, and legal barriers. As we look at ways to share information and research freely between interested parties, we must explore all the obstacles or challenges to access and collectively identify ways to increase accessibility.

For example, according to Michelle EH Fournet’s podcast titled “Open Access Publishing and Equity, or Can I share this with my mom?” open access may not necessarily provide “equitable” access, yet. Michelle states that in most fields, especially the sciences, technical language and industry jargon is not always understood by the layman but is becoming more so over time. This poses a challenge. When terminology is broken down into everyday language, it much more translatable.[2] Another potential obstacle is the disparity to access the internet across the globe.  Without full internet access, which is impacted by financial, technical and governmental barriers, not all information is accessible. A third challenge is the disparity of appropriate support for accessibility standards by the technical platforms. Some platforms are not equipped to provide translation and/or disability services for broad access.

Although there are challenges to continue to solve, the idea of providing scholars, researchers, and authors with access to build upon an existing body of knowledge is one of many steps in the right direction.  Open Access is helping scholars and researchers to collaborate and grow together as a community,[3] sharing across the world.

Want to know more about Open Access? Contact us.