New BU Open Access Portal

Are you looking to find out more about open access at BU, including the opt-out policy adopted in February 2015? Please follow this easily memorable link:

Video Guide to Electronic Theses and Dissertations

We have created videos on thesis prep and related issues (Flash player browser plugin required), intended to help students graduate students submitting their theses and dissertations electronically. Currently this includes all GRS students; GMS students graduating January 2014 or later; and STH students graduating May 2014 or later. There are currently six videos, and none of them is more than five minutes long. The videos cover most of the materials covered in the workshops. Please let us know what you think, and whether you have any additional questions!

Electronic Theses and Dissertations: Fall 2013 workshops announced

Based on the schedule described above, no more paper theses and dissertations will be accepted from GRS, GMS and STH. Electronic theses and dissertations will mean savings for students (no costly printing) and for BU (more economical management of preservation and access).

We plan to roll out this service to the rest of BU—stay tuned!

Fall 2013 workshops have been scheduled. Each workshop lasts two hours. Registration is free but required.

Town Hall Meeting on Open Access

On October 16, 2012, please join us for the next Town Hall Meeting in the series organized by the office of BU’s Vice President and Associate Provost for Research. We will meet in the Photonics Center Colloquium Room (8 St. Mary Street, Room 906) from 3pm to 5pm; a reception will follow. RSVP to to help us plan this event.

From the email sent to faculty:

In working with faculty on open access issues we have found ourselves fielding questions that would benefit from a university-level discussion. We would like to invite you to participate in a Town Hall Meeting that will bring together faculty, librarians, and university administrators. We will discuss issues such as:

  • What do we, as a university, know about open access? What are its advantages and challenges as regards BU?
  • What are the critical issues around open access and copyright for BU faculty?
  • What role does open access play in tenure and promotion at BU?
  • What open access publishing activities are under way at BU?
  • Why have some of our faculty embraced open access? What do they see as its advantages, and as its unresolved problems?
  • How accurately is our institutional repository representing BU’s research portfolio?
  • What does it mean for BU to be part of Hathi Trust?
  • What materials are we preserving digitally, and why?
  • How are BU faculty engaging open access in their teaching?

A substantial part of our time will be devoted to Q&A and discussion with the audience.


Libraries launch new information discovery tool

The Libraries provide a virtual space for carrying out your research. This new curated Web domain allows you to discover and get the materials from the Libraries’ vast collection of resources. A simple search box will bring back results from a number of different sources, including books and ebooks from the libraries’ collections, journal articles and book reviews from peer-reviewed journals, content from BU Digital Common, audio and video resources from the WGBH OpenVault, dissertations from the National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, and much more. Additionally, more narrowly focused searching of online article databases and other library collections are searchable on the second tab.

(best viewed full-screen)


Digital Preservation of Wolof Ajami Manuscripts of Senegal

Professor Fallou Ngom, Director of the African Language Program in the African Studies Center, and Roger Brisson, Head of Metadata Services in Mugar Memorial Library, left for Senegal on July 9 to guide a project funded by the British Library’s “Endangered Archives Programme.”

Image of an Ajami Manuscript

First Ajami Wolof Manuscript to be sent from Senegal

The project will make digital copies of endangered Wolof Ajami manuscripts written by the Senegalese followers of Ahmadu Bamba (ca 1853-1927), the founder of the Muridiyya Sufi order. The project targets manuscripts written by Bamba’s former teacher Khali Madiakhate Kala (1835-1902), and his followers Mor Kayre (1869-1951), Samba Diarra Mbaye (1870-1971), Moussa Ka (1883-1967), Mbaye Diakhate (1875-1954), Habib Sy (1920-2001), and others. The manuscripts survive in private homes in Senegal. Digital copies of the manuscripts will be preserved and relocated to safer environments.

The materials will reveal Wolof perspectives on religious and secular issues—perspectives that have not yet been fully appreciated in the scholarship on Islamic Africa written in European languages and Arabic. The documents will provide new insights into the underlying cultural, spiritual, pedagogical, historical and political reasons that account for the flourishing of Ajami among Murids (compared to other Senegalese Sufi orders). The materials will offer a unique window into scholars’ own perspectives and teachings at the birth of Muridiyya. The materials will also deepen our understanding of the ways in which Islam has been Africanized in Senegal.

On behalf of the BU Libraries, Brisson is training a team of Senegalese in digitizing and creating metadata for the manuscripts. The first of the manuscript images, created during the training in Dakar, began arriving on July 15, these created during the training. Following the five-day training, Ngom and Brisson will take the team to scholars’ family homes in the cities of Diourbel and Touba, Louga, and Saint-Louis in Senegal where the manuscripts are housed. There they will guide the team to begin digitizing and describing 5000 pages of handwritten Wolof Ajami manuscripts.

Roger Brisson and Fallou Ngom training the Senegal team

Roger Brisson (4th from left) and Fallou Ngom (standing right) training the Senegal team

Library Support for Digital Scholarship

Boston viewed from East Boston (1906?)

Boston viewed from East Boston (1906?)

Emerging forms of digital scholarship enable researchers to engage new and larger audiences, transcend traditional boundaries between the academy and communities, and establish collaborative partnerships across disciplinary boundaries. The Web has effectively unbundled the production and consumption of scholarship. Publishing business models are shaken, information seeking and reading habits are changing, and the amount of information being created has radically escalated. An era of information scarcity has become an era of information abundance. With that, the Libraries’ collections, services and tools for information discovery and research are rapidly expanding to support digital scholarship.

Boston Red Sox (1913)

Boston Red Sox (1913)

Boston University Libraries continue to lead in building a cyberinfrastructure for faculty and students to support teaching, learning and research. The Office of Digital Initiatives & Open Access (DIOA) leads the University’s open access initiative, managing the BU Digital Common and offering free e-journal publishing services to help academic journals who share our support of Open Access to research information make their content available to a global audience while eliminating the cost of print production.


Anonymous to Thomas Jefferson, July 26, 1801, Signed A Boston Merchant

DIOA consults with researchers and authors through the entire process of research and writing including developing data management plans for research data, understanding funding mandates, and guiding in matters of intellectual property and copyright. The Libraries are actively engaged in digitizing primary sources and collaborates with faculty in creating and managing digital collections for research and teaching. DIOA is actively engaged in research to develop ways to enhance interdisciplinary research using textual corpora.

Along with new opportunities, digital scholarship brings with it many questions. DIOA provides a forum for conversation about issues ranging from scholarly communication, peer-review, tenure and promotion, open access, copyright, and other issues in academe affected by our digital culture.