Outside Researchers Want Greater Access to SIPS

By Kamalaldin M. Kamalaldin

Since 2007, the Upjohn Library Commons has utilized the College Academic and Historical Experience (CACHE) as the Kalamazoo College digital archive. The CACHE archive contains historical material relating to K as well as academic work done by K students and faculty.

“Most of what we have, actually, are student Senior Individualized Projects (SIPs),” said Stacy Nowicki, Upjohn Library Commons Director.

The physical copies of SIPs are housed with their respective academic department, but are requested by the library to be scanned and uploaded to the CACHE archive.

“Student SIPs are not available to the public,” stressed Nowicki. The SIPs are only accessible to people with a K network account, such as faculty, staff and students. People without a K network account can only see the Title, Author, Abstract, Date, and Advisor of a SIP.

“Students can see other students’ work and they can see old [SIPs] if they are trying to get ideas,” said Nowicki. The SIPs come in PDF format, and students can search for keywords or phrases within the PDF, but cannot copy/paste any information in order to deter plagiarism.

Some students think their SIPs are useless once they are done with them, expressed Nowicki. “Students don’t realize that their work, with their permission, can be of use to professionals in their fields,” she added.

K has received SIP requests from some of the most prestigious academic institutes based all around the world, including the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Scientists, Tehran University of Medical Scientists, the University of Damascus, as well as universities in Kenya, Egypt, Brazil, India, the Netherlands, Finland, Greece, and Scotland, and local academic institutions within the United States.

When a SIP is requested from an entity outside of K, Nowicki sends a formal request to the SIP’s copyright holder. “If I can find [the copyright holder] and get [his or her] permission, then I will send the SIP on. If I cannot find them, then I do not send the SIP,” said Nowicki.

Most alumni are excited and confused when they are told their SIP is being requested, according to Nowicki. “They say … I did my SIP so long ago, why is anybody even interested?”

A specific SIP dealing with fingerprint detection has been popular in terms of SIP requests due to its influential implications.

The Archives holds all Senior Individualized Projects from their introduction with the K-Plan to the present day. Only a few SIPs are not available in the CACHE archive due to critical academic, personal, or legislative reasons and purposes.

Students can choose to censor certain information in their SIPs, or hide it from public or K students all together. They can also opt to make their SIPs fully available to the public, to be fetched without request.

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