College Librarian Dave Pilachowski was kind enough to send in this update on senior theses.

1) The theses are coming in fast and furious now, with over 40 received on Friday. Most of the remaining theses should arrive on Monday. Processing then includes cataloging, scanning (unless we have an original copy in Word), and binding the hard copy version.

2) Besides Economics, it is likely that some other departments are likely to restrict access to certain theses since some of the work is part of larger faculty research projects.  We will find out the details after we receive all theses.

3) I will be in touch with you or post directly to the blog, if that is something that I can do, when we are able to provide access to the 2005 theses once they become available.

Thanks to Pilachowski for taking the time to update us on this topic. I am deeply suspicious of the claim that any sort of on-going faculty research would preclude the posting of a senior’s thesis, but this is not Pilachowski’s call to make, obviously. As long as the theses that I care about — mostly those having to do with Williams — are posted, I won’t complain too loudly.

But we should remember that a senior thesis is special because it has (or should have) made a contribution to human knowledge. That contribution is lessoned when access to the work is restricted. Now, it is possible to imagine scenarios under which such a restriction makes sense, but they would be few and far between in the context of Williams. If the thesis is done, it should be public.

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