Getting Started on Dissertation Work

Around Ann Arbor, the semester is ending and classes are coming to an end. For me, however, a new project is just beginning: I recently completed my dissertation proposal and moved into the final stage of my career as a doctoral student: ABD (all but dissertation). My dissertation, titled “The Changing Landscape of Digital Access: Public-Private Partnerships and Cultural Heritage Institutions” for now, examines the emergent set of relationships between public archives and libraries and private companies around digitization projects for archival records. I’m interested in how these partnerships take shape, how they are negotiated and managed, what records they focus on, and how these types of arrangements affect public access to these digitized materials.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been conducting a series of interviews with employees at private sector companies (non-profit and for-profit) who are involved in negotiations and contract work with archives and libraries. These have been extremely fruitful conversations and I am looking forward to diving into analyzing the transcripts next term. Additionally, I’ve visited the business school and law libraries here on the University of Michigan campus to identify additional resources that may be useful in my research. I enjoy these opportunities to meet librarians across the university and discuss my research with them. The outside perspective has helped me find new databases and academic research tools that I will certainly use as I continue to move forward on this project.

On that note, I should get back to work! Writing is a process, and I hope to use this blog as a sounding board for ideas and a place to reflect on my research process as I progress through the dissertation.