After 9 months and 62 orders the pilot stage of the Thesis Scanning Service is over. When the service started I don’t think any of the team anticipated the impact it would have on our workload. We naively expected to be scanning one thesis a week but, with an average eight scan requests coming in each month, it isn’t unheard of for us to deliver five completed scans in one working week. This far exceeded our expectations and we have been pleasantly surprised by the uptake. In fact, now that the service is up and running, each of us devotes up to half of our working day to digitisation.
The project has highlighted the demand for digital copies of theses. Although only a handful have made their way onto ERA thus far those that have are benefiting from increased visibility and usage. Since being made available on ERA, Lance Whitehead’s 1994 thesis on the Clavichords of Hieronymus and Johann Haas has been viewed over 100 times and downloaded almost 40. On average the theses that have been available via ERA for more than 6 months have been downloaded 23 times each.
As more materials are added to the ERA database, their visibility on search engines such as Google Scholar will only increase, allowing our worldwide audience access to Edinburgh’s Research. Despite some of the interesting moments and challenges along the way, we feel the service has been a great success and all of us on Team Annexe are looking forward to seeing how it develops in the future.
Maria O’Hara, Library Annexe Assistant