Remote Storage, Theses & Dissertations, Gifts and Textbooks

Remote Storage

With over 4 million volumes, the Texas A&M University Libraries must store some volumes remotely in order to have room for both user space and new acquisitions.  The Libraries currently partner with the University of Texas Libraries to maintain a remote storage facility.  Located near Austin, the facility is a state of the art, controlled-climate, high-density repository known as HDR.  Storage facilities of this type are not designed for end-user visits; materials are shelved according to size in boxes placed on warehouse-type shelves, and the environment is maintained at standards set for long-term preservation of print materials. Materials placed in HDR may remain the sole property of the institution that stored them, or one of the library partners may petition to have materials held by both libraries declared a “resource in common.”  Materials that remain the sole property of an institution may be requested by patrons of that institution only, and may be re-located to another facility by the owning institution.  Materials that are declared a “resource in common” may be requested for circulation by patrons of either participating institution, but must be returned to the storage facility after use.

A second remote storage facility located in Brazos County on Texas A&M University Riverside Campus has been planned.  Construction is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2013.  This facility, called Texas A&M University System/University of Texas System Joint Library Facility (JLF), will serve both the flagship universities’ libraries and the libraries of the system schools.

The TAMU Libraries identify materials for storage by a number of criteria, such as online availability, duplication between campus libraries, superseded editions, fragility, and lack of current use.  These criteria include the identification of materials that will cause the least inconvenience to scholars needing access to the item as historical artifact. 

Theses & Dissertations

Print, Electronic Submissions, and Digitization of Backfiles
Prior to 2003, copies of each thesis, dissertation, and record of study submitted for graduation by TAMU students were traditionally cataloged and housed in TAMU Libraries -- two circulating copies housed in Sterling C. Evans Library and an archival copy housed in Cushing Memorial Library and Archives. In addition, a copy of each doctoral dissertation was submitted to ProQuest Dissertation Publishing (formerly UMI). 

Between 2003 and 2005, students had the option of electronically submitting a copy of their thesis, dissertation, or record of study (ETD) which was then uploaded into the TAMU Digital Repository.  Electronic submission became mandatory beginning in 2005. Doctoral dissertations continue to be submitted to ProQuest, but master’s theses (with very few exceptions) are not.

A large digitization project, completed during 2011, initiated the withdrawal of all print copies of theses, dissertations, and records of study from TAMU Libraries, with one archival copy of each retained in an offsite high-density storage facility in Austin, Texas.

Discoverability, Accessibility, and Embargoes
All TAMU doctoral dissertations are now available digitally through ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Full Text database.  ETDs submitted between 2003 - 2005 (during the optional electronic submission program) and since 2005 (when the mandatory electronic submission program began) are available via the Repository as well as through ProQuest. 

Most of the ETDs currently in the Repository, the earliest dating back to 1922, are freely accessible via the Internet (Open Access).  ETDs which were digitized under a contract with ProQuest, those dating roughly between 1964 – 2004, are accessible to TAMU-affiliated users with a university NetID and password only. 

The Office of Graduate Studies sets policies regarding restrictions on access to ETDs.  Students may opt to place a journal or patent hold (embargo) restricting access to their ETDs for a period ranging from 6 months to 2 years.  Approximately two thirds of students currently place a hold of 1-2 years on their ETDs, making the full text unavailable to anyone (through either the Repository or ProQuest).  Additionally, during this time, neither the record nor abstract is discoverable through ProQuest (for doctoral dissertations) or through LibCat and the Repository (for master’s theses, doctoral dissertations, or records of study). 

The Office of Graduate Studies approved a “process” change applying to ETDs submitted for December 2011 graduation and beyond.  These ETDs will have metadata records (author, title, abstracts, etc.) available in the Repository indicating when the full text is scheduled to be released to the public.

Processing Time
The Thesis Office approves ETDs on a rolling basis, but only publishes (releases them to the Repository) once per semester (e.g. three times per year).  The Office currently processes about 400 ETDs per semester and approximately 400 ETDs are uploaded to the Repository each semester.  However, due to the current rate of holds placed by students, almost 2 out of every 3 ETDs released to the Repository are from prior years and not from the most recent semester.  Given no embargo, generally, there is lag of about 6-10 weeks from the time of submission by the student and approval for release by University Administration to availability in the Repository. 

Catalog records are created through an automated process immediately after they are available in the Repository.

Gifts

The TAMU Libraries, through its Gifts Department, welcome gifts of books and other materials in support of the teaching, research, and service missions of the University. We reserve the right to decline gifts if they duplicate existing holdings, if the subject matter is outside the scope of the library's collections, or if there are donor restrictions that we cannot honor. Donated materials become the sole property of TAMU Libraries without restriction as to use or disposition.  The Gifts Department is responsible for the receipt and acknowledgment of materials donated to the TAMU Libraries.  Appraisals and valuations are the responsibility of the donor.

The Gifts Department receives all non-monetary published (books, periodicals, media, etc.) donated materials to the TAMU Libraries.  Gifts Department and Cushing Library coordinate on rare and unpublished materials.  Subject selectors are consulted before materials are added to the collection. 

Textbooks

The Federation of Texas A&M University Mothers' Clubs provides funds for the purchase of textbooks, the selection of which should conform to the subject specific collection development policies.   In general, one copy of a textbook may be purchased for every 50 students registered for a class.  Exceptions are permitted at the discretion of the selector.  When possible, textbooks should be located in Course Reserves, with the checkout period to be determined by the course instructor.  Consider electronic format (if availble), especially when multiple copies are being requested.