Remember conducting library research using microfiche?
I’m here to tell you, when it comes to OLDER dissertations at some colleges, microfiche is still alive and well! I recorded a 3.5 minute video in the library at the University of North Texas today documenting my process of scanning a 139 page microfiche-based dissertation. The main glaring error in this video is I said it was 2009… Perhaps I was flashing back due to my use of older technologies….
Thankfully the UNT library has a computer with Adobe Acrobat Pro connected to a microfiche reader, so I didn’t have to print all 139 pages of this dissertation and pay 10¢ per copy. There is no charge for scanning to PDF! 🙂 This entire process (yes, to obtain a SINGLE document) took me about 45 minutes.
After creating a single PDF file of this dissertation, I asked the reference librarian if he wanted to keep a copy and make it available online for others who might be interested in it. He wasn’t sure if their system allowed for those kind of additions. The dissertation I scanned was published in 1995. More recently published dissertations are, of course, available online. One example of a digital UNT dissertation I’ve looked up recently is “Cognitive playfulness, innovativeness, and belief of essentialness: Characteristics of educators who have the ability to make enduring changes in the integration of technology into the classroom environment” by Lemoyne Dunn. I referenced this research in my April 2009 post, “Creativity requires a willingness to make mistakes and be wrong,” but hadn’t actually found or read the research until today. I’m glad it’s available in digital form!
It’s easy to take digital document accessibility for granted. Today I had a brief “appreciation course” to remind me it’s not always easy to find and obtain an older document you want!
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