As we move further into an age where most research information is derived from digital resources, we face a greater need to convert older information into a format that can be accessed efficiently by our students and faculty. In the Introduction to Experimental Biology course, our students research and develop independent research projects that they carry out over a sizeable portion of the spring semester. In the past, some of the research papers that result from this student work have been bound and reserved by the instructors. Ideally, subsequent classes should be able to use these papers in order to identify potential projects that pertain to their field of interest, but access is currently difficult and limited. At present, students must page through un-indexed photocopies of papers, which is time-consuming and which offers only limited access to this resource: the papers are stored in a classroom which is only open during class times. Likewise, faculty project mentors do not have ready access to projects done in other class sections. This lack of access may hinder them in guiding students to better experimental designs and/or methods.
This proposal requests funds to solve this problem of accessibility for both students and faculty who are connected to Introduction to Experimental Biology. The project, if undertaken, would digitize our collection of student research papers and will store this information as a part of the LBIS digital collection. There are several ways that this will be a useful, but the most important one would be that our students’ research papers would be in a searchable database that our students and faculty would be able to access. Digitization of these valuable resources also ensures that these works are preserved and easily reproducible.