Mac digitizes honors projects

By Lisa Moldan and Zac Farber

In September 2005, DeWitt Wallace Library staff started adding Macalester students’ honors projects to an Internet database called Digital Commons. Since the project’s founding, users have completed more than 26,000 full-text downloads. A copy of each project is bound in the archives at Macalester’s library, saved on microfilm in the archives, and recorded on a disc in reserves.

Students are given the option of posting their work. Because the honors projects tend to be ongoing, most students choose not to make available the results of their research.

Thirty-one of the 78 Macalester projects added since 2006 are currently available to the public.

Macalester’s use of Digital Commons offers a positive model for students sharing their research with a larger acdemic audience, Geography professor Bill Moseley said.

“This is an important way of sharing your insights with the broader scholarly community,” Moseley said. “It is another way of giving back and moving away from a model of extractive research.