Come June 1st 2012 all IMPs (theses) will be uploaded as PDFs to “the cloud”. This means for the most part theses will by-pass the library, and will not be entered into the library’s catalog. This also means students will need to apply keywords and descriptors to their theses so others can find them easily.

Some descriptors and keywords will be easy to do, for example:

  • program of study
  • author’s name
  • mentor’s names
  • year
  • title of thesis

Where some issues may occur is describing the essence of a thesis. Although writing your own descriptors and keywords (what are the differences) is possible, it’s best to use a “controlled vocabulary.” After some deliberation library staff chose the ERIC thesaurus. Its focus is education and most teachers are familiar with this database.

How many keywords and descriptors should you select? We suggest a minimum of five and a maximum of ten. Spend time exploring the ERIC Thesaurus, watch this online tutorial Finding the Right Descriptor, and be methodical.

Reference librarian at Bank Street College Library.

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