Amherst College Student & Alumni Publications

black and white photograph of Amherst, MA featuring Amherst College, 1800s

Size: 65 linear feet (only selected portions will be digitized)
Pre-digitization surveys: I:\DigitalPrograms\PreDigitizationSurveys\ma00230_ACStudentAndAlumniPublicationsCollection [restricted to internal users; contact us to learn more]
Trello card [restricted to internal users; contact us to learn more]
Finding aid

Year one (2017 – 2018): begin partial digitization
– Pre-digitization surveys: In process
– Digitization start
– Digitization finish
– Metadata start

Year two (2018 – 2019): continue metadata, finish collection
– Metadata complete
– Ingest selections into ACDC


  • Additional material in collection (correspondence, ephemera, etc.) should not be digitized. – BOG 11/1/17
  • Have only photocopies for vol. 4 of The Guest. Because this is AC content and unique, we will digitize the photocopies. Note in metadata should indicate that analog is a photocopyand that A&SC doesn’t have the original. – BOG 11/27/17
  • When issues found in the folders of the Student Publications Collection cannot be safely digitized, Tim may digitize another copy from a bound volume. (i.e. multiple issues were bound together in a single physical volume). Often, covers of individual issues (or all but the first) were removed when the issues were bound together. In those cases, Tim has been scanning the covers of the individual issues from the Student Publications Collection and adding them to the digital objects. Discussed the potential implications of this process. Is it misleading to create digital objects using multiple analog sources while the shelf location in the metadata is for a copy that doesn’t “match?” Unlike other collections, “this is not a true archival collection rather the easiest way to amass the student and alumni publications.” [RJ in 11/15/17 email] Compiling a digital object from multiple analog sources also allows us to, in some cases, create a more intellectually complete object than would otherwise be the case. Agreed that we are ok with this approach and that it is important for Tim to record where the original(s) came from in the production tracking worksheet. Kate and Manda will devise a note for the metadata to make it clear that object was digitized from multiple analog sources. – BOG 11/27/17
  • Digitization of content in series 1 (copies not from this collection, but from the stacks), student newspapers and Olios, happened before our pre-digitization survey process was in place, but pre-dig survey group will soon do a review of the remaining series before digitization begins. – 12/1/17
  • We will not digitize any extra content in the folders with the student publications (examples include policies and correspondence, calls for contributions, prospectus, faculty evaluation surveys (with the Amherst Scrutiny), etc. – BOG Feb 2018 & email from RJ 3/29/18
  • Shelf location in the metadata records for these publications will be the title of the publication rather than a box and folder number as this is a growing collection that is organized by alphabetical order- therefore when more is added the box and folder numbers of issues can change. This also allows us to collocate each publication in ACDC in multiple ways:
    1. Issues of a publication can be pulled together by the uniform series title included in the record. This will pull together all the issues of one publication with a particular title such as Amherst Literary Magazine. 
    2. Issues of each publication can be pulled together by the shelf location which is publication title, including publication title as it changes over time. For instance issues of Amherst Literary Magazine have a shelf location of “Amherst Literary Monthly/Amherst Monthly/Amherst Writing/Amherst Literary Magazine” so that all the issues of this continuing publication, even when the title was changed, can be collocated.
      • In this way, even though all of the publications are in the same ACDC collection, users can view all of the Amherst Literary Magazines or all of the Amherst Lits (published under various titles over time) together.
      • What constituted as a continuing publication even with title changes was based on viewing the publications themselves, consulting the series catalog records, and consulting the Scope and Contents section of the finding aid.

Digitization decisions related to rights

  • Background: Series 2 and 3 were already digitized prior to the beginning of the Bicentennial Project. The Bicentennial Working Group decided that we would digitized publications from Series 1, 4, & 6 only for the Bicentennial Project. Thus, all the below information regarding copyright review workflows pertains to publications in those series.
  • We decided to only digitize publications which can be made available to which No Copyright – United States rights statements or Creative Commons licenses (e.g. Public Domain or a license that the College could assign) could be applied. This served to narrow down the amount of digitization required for this very large collection to a selection that was manageable with our current technical, time, and personnel capabilities. It also was consistent with previous ACDC Collection Development and inclusion policies created before the start of the Bicentennial Project.
    • To determine which publications we could digitize based on this decision, an in-depth, item-level copyright review of each issue of each publication had to be conducted beforehand. Due to unexpected transitions and delays, the copyright review process was done by 2 different departments (Metadata and Digital Programs) over the course of 2 years (with a gap of multiple months in between each review and with each department reviewing a different set of publications).
    • In each copyright review, staff looked at each issue in Series 1, 4, or 6 of the collection that was published in the 1923-1989 date range. They noted in spreadsheets the title of each issue/publication, its location in the collection, the publisher if noted, the date of publication, and any copyright statement included on the item.
      • We assumed that issues published before 1923 would most likely be automatically not in copyright in the U.S., and thus we did not spend the labor or time to review each of these issues beforehand for copyright statements or concerns.
      • In general, any issues published after 1989 were excluded from the copyright review process as issues published after 1989 would automatically be in copyright regardless of whether or not they included a copyright statement.
        • The one exception to this ruling was Amherst, an alumni magazine in Series 4 of the collection which we guessed prior to review was likely a work for hire with Amherst College as the corporate author, and thus the College could assign a Creative Commons license to it. Therefore, we did conduct a copyright review on this publication for issues published after 1989. (After review, our guess that this was a work for hire with Amherst College as the copyright holder in cases where issues were in copyright was confirmed with legal counsel.)
    • Once the initial copyright review process was completed, a staff member went through the information and listed any issues published between 1977-1989 that did not include copyright statements. She then checked for each title on this list in the online copyright registry to see if they had been subsequently registered for copyright within 5 years. She recorded findings in the copyright review spreadsheets.
    • In the next step, staff reviewed the spreadsheets that had been created and determined what issues listed could be digitized.  They consulted with Legal Counsel as needed during this process. Issues of publications (all but one of which were published between 1923-1989) from the copyright review spreadsheets were marked as “clear-to-digitize” during this step if they fell into the following categories:
      • Published without a copyright notice
      • Published between 1977 and 1989 without a copyright notice and not subsequently registered within 5 years
      • Published with a copyright notice, but Amherst College is the copyright holder
      • Published with a copyright notice that names “Students of Amherst College” or “the students of Amherst College” as the copyright holder. (Students of Amherst College is not a registered copyright entity and thus Legal Counsel determined that these would not be in copyright)
    • What should or should not be digitized from Series 1, 4, & 6 of the collection was then communicated to the digitization team via Trello and was recorded elsewhere on shared network drives.
  • Unsurprisingly, there were also complications regarding copyright for this collection that had to be managed after issues were digitized.
    • Notably, several issues of publications had no copyright registration at the issue level (and thus were determined to be “clear-to-digitize” during our copyright review), but on further inspection, we noted that they included separately copyrighted content within – such as advertisements, images, or articles with their own individual copyright statements. After consultation with legal counsel, we determined that we could still make these issues available in their entirety per fair use principles. We have included in the metadata for these items the appropriate rights statement or license for the issue as whole and when needed an additional local rights statement indicating to users that separately copyrighted content may be included in the issues.
    • There where other cases in which we discovered after digitization that the initial copyright review had not caught copyright statements for issues. In these cases, we did further review based on date of publication such as checking for copyright renewal and checking that the publication had actually been registered. (Example: issues of In Other Words, Writing at Amherst, A Review, Amherst Review, and Clarion include a copyright notice identifying the copyright holder as “Students of Amherst College” and yet were digitized. On further review, however, we noted that these issues were not actually registered for copyright as there was no evidence of registration in relevant copyright record books online or in the online copyright catalog.  Thus, issues that were digitized and published pre March 1, 1989 were were made available with a No Copyright – United States rights statement.)
  • There was one exception to our decision to only digitize and make available in ACDC issues of publications to which No Copyright – United States rights statements or Creative Commons licenses could be applied, Han Ma Um Korean-American Journal of the Five Colleges. It had been included in copyright review because it was published in 1989, however we later realized that we could not determine if it was specifically published before or after March 1 and therefore would have to note it as Copyright Undetermined in ACDC. The Bicentennial team decided that we would still digitize it regardless as it would require no further pre-digitization time or labor, it was deemed to be of high content value, and our ACDC Collection Development processes in regards to only digitizing material not in copyright (or Amherst College copyright) were currently under review.  If this publication is in copyright based on publication date, we thought it would still be appropriate to make it available online via ACDC after conducting a fair risk analysis.

You can also view our collection overview for this project.