Announcing the Thesis Digitization Project

Over the years Pfau Library has received many requests to make past CSUSB master’s theses and projects available online. The number of downloads already recorded worldwide for CSUSB’s most current theses (2014-present) reflects this interest. The library supports Open Access to scholarly content wherever possible, and the addition of campus scholarship to ScholarWorks, the CSUSB institutional repository, is vital to increasing scholarly communication, while also showcasing our graduates’ intellectual endeavors.

This year, the library received initial funding through a VETI grant to begin scanning our collection of CSUSB theses for inclusion in ScholarWorks. With nearly 5,000 volumes to scan, this will be a multi-year project.

I hope to begin posting scanned theses by the end of this month, starting with the oldest volumes. The files will be scanned with OCR to make the text accessible to users with visual disabilities. For privacy, advisors’ signatures will be redacted before the files are posted. Based on our interpretation of the HathiTrust and Google Books copyright cases, the library considers that digitizing and indexing texts for accessibility constitutes a fair use, and for that reason we will not be seeking copyright permission from each individual author.

However, we are offering an “opt-out” form for thesis authors at the thesis digitization project web site. We have several options for limiting access: applying an embargo period—that is, making the file unavailable a specific time period of 6 months up to 3 years after posting; restricting availability to on-campus users only; or removing the file from the repository entirely, in which case the library will retain the digital copy in-house for archival purposes. (In keeping with current thesis practice, I will not post any past Creative Writing theses without the author’s express permission.)

Please help me spread the word to our past Master’s graduates!  Does your department communicate with your alums? Did you yourself graduate with a CSUSB Master’s degree, or do you have friends or family who did? Please let them know that they can opt out.

Alternatively, anyone who wants their thesis digitized as soon as possible can use the same form to request priority scanning.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me: Stacy Magedanz,, (909) 537-5103.

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