Introductions are probably in order, my name is Hope Mitchell and I am a new member of Digital Repository @ Iowa State University. I was hired as a Library Associate II and began working here in September. Like Lorrie, I am also responsible for permissions checking and uploading publications into DR@ISU, but I also help Harrison oversee the day to day running of the DR. Before joining the Digital Repository, I was a graduate student in the History Department here at Iowa State University.
While I was already well aware of the many benefits that digital repositories provide for authors, I have recently been able to experience these benefits first hand. My thesis, “Sacrificing our daughters: changing perceptions of prostitution in Iowa, 1880-1915,” recently won the 2014 Iowa History Center Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award. After winning the award, my thesis began to gain a lot of attention. I like to think it is because I wrote an outstanding thesis, but I am pretty sure it has more to do with the racy topic of my research.
I was getting calls from family, friends, historical societies, local newspapers, even TV stations! When all of these people inevitably asked where they could read my thesis, I thankfully had a very simple solution. Rather than fumbling with trying to exchange email addresses or remembering to email them later, I simply referred them to DR@ISU, which features copies of all newly published theses and dissertations.
The attention that my thesis has received has been truly mind blowing and the way in which DR@ISU helped me to promote my thesis has been amazing. It has also been really fun to watch the readership on my thesis. I remember the first readership report that I received, where I found out that four people had downloaded my thesis and I was just in heaven! I couldn’t believe that four people had actually wanted to read what I wrote. Now, as my stats creep closer to three hundred downloads, I am still in shock that there are that many people who have an interest in what I have to say. In case you might have any interest in reading my award winning (and somewhat racy) thesis, you can find it here in DR@ISU.