Newswise — ROLLA, Mo. – Somewhere on the lower west side of Chicago, an internet user seeking information about photografting – a technique for attaching polymers to surfaces – struck gold with a visit to Scholars’ Mine, Missouri University of Science and Technology’s online repository of research papers, creative works and other documents.
There, the person discovered “Surface Modification of SU-8 by Photografting of Functional Polymers for Lab-on-a-chip Applications,” a paper presented in January 2006 at the Proceedings of the 2006 5th IEEE Conference on Sensors. It was the millionth paper to be downloaded from the site since December 2014, when Scholars’ Mine went live following a major refresh of a system first created in 2007. Download No. 1 million on the refreshed platform occurred on Feb. 6, 2017.
Scholars’ Mine attracts more interest than the number of downloads indicates, says Roger Weaver, scholarly communications librarian in the Curtis Laws Wilson Library at Missouri S&T. “Thousands of individuals from around the world visit our site every month to review research, but not all of these visitors download from Scholars’ Mine,” says Weaver.
The site houses research papers, theses and dissertations, student podcasts, and digitized collections of artwork, conference proceedings and an eclectic variety of other materials, says Tracy Primich, director of the library and learning resources at S&T.
The repository is a trove of information for historians. It includes bachelor’s theses dating back to 1876 – just five years after classes were first held at the university, when it was the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy. The first of these theses, which were required of all undergraduates through the 1940s, was a 12-page handwritten analysis of Beaver Bridge, which was located outside of Rolla. The author was James E. McGrath, a candidate for a bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1876.
Scholars’ Mine also houses the university’s collection of yearbooks, the minutes of the Faculty Senate dating back to the 1971-72 academic year, and papers and proceedings from conferences currently or previously affiliated with Missouri S&T, including the International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering and the International Specialty Conference on Cold-Formed Steel Structures. Scholars’ Mine even houses a digitized version of “A Taste of Rolla: The Chancellor’s Table,” a two-volume cookbook of recipes compiled in the early 1990s by Dorcas Park, the wife of former Chancellor John T. Park, and sold to raise funds for the university.
A visualization map on the site identifies what was downloaded during the previous 24 hours. The map illustrates Scholars Mine’s far-reaching impact. Over one recent 24-hour period:
- A user from England download a 2015 dissertation, “Electromagnetic compatibility in power inverter design,” by Natalia Bondarenko.
- Someone from Thailand downloaded a 2014 master’s thesis by Nevan Christopher Himmelberg titled “Numerical simulations for wellbore stability and integrity for drilling and completions.”
- A visitor from Los Angeles downloaded “Anchor Slab Retaining Wall Stands Overtopping Flood,” a paper presented in 1984 at the International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering, held in St. Louis.
- Someone from Nigeria selected Brijgopal R. Mohta’s mechanical engineering master’s thesis, “Evaluation of methods for analysis of multi-degree-of-freedom systems with damping.”
“Missouri S&T research definitely has a global impact, and Scholars’ Mine helps to extend and reinforce that reach,” says Primich.
Primich and Weaver also see Scholars’ Mine as a valuable tool for sharing research information globally. “Scholars’ Mine helps raise Missouri S&T’s profile as an international research university,” Primich says.