Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)

WestCollections: Western’s Institutional Repository

WestCollections is Western’s digital institutional repository, an online environment where WCSU members can submit their work, making it available for others to find, read, and utilize. The homepage provides a menu of content and a global readership map. For students, WestCollections can be used to store and showcase dissertations, master’s theses, capstone projects, undergraduate research, and more. For faculty, WestCollections can be used to store or link to a variety of publications such as books, journal articles, and conference papers or presentations. For everyone, WestCollections offers the opportunity showcase Western’s academic, scholarly, and creative output, allowing us to play an active role on local, national, and global levels.


The Doctorate of Education in Instructional Leadership program is using WestCollections to store and make available students’ dissertations going back to the first cohort in 2008. Students or their advisors submit the final dissertation copy, as a Word doc or PDF, with an abstract and keywords to enhance discoverability. They are discoverable via Google or other search engines. There are now 74 dissertations available and, since starting to do this earlier this year, there have been nearly 3,000 downloads. This has allowed students to make contributions to the academic record, nationally and globally, while providing visibility for the program, department, and WCSU overall.

Though it has not been utilized a great deal in this capacity, individual faculty may also submit papers to WestCollections. Examples are papers co-authored by Biology and Environmental Sciences faculty member Tom Philbrick, such as Developmental Morphology of New World Podostemaceae: Marathrum and Vanroyenella, which has been downloaded 711 times since being placed in WestCollections back in 2011, with 42 downloads in 2017. Additional examples are works submitted by History and Non-Western Cultures faculty members, such as Women and Mythology in Vietnamese History: Le Ngoc Han, Ho Xuan Huong, and the Production of Historical Continuity in Vietnam, by Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox, which has been downloaded 1,656 times overall and 200 times in 2017.

There are also three journals hosted in WestCollections, one being an undergraduate student journal, Social Sciences Journal. The articles in the SSJ are original research papers written by current and former undergraduate WCSU students. The journal also provides information about programs and activities of the Social Sciences department students (current and alumni) and faculty. For the time period January through August 2017, there have been over 9,000 downloads from Social Sciences Journal. SSJ is also a part of Undergraduate Research Commons, a portal created by WestCollections’ host entity Berkeley Press, showcasing outstanding published works authored by thousands of undergraduate students at over 700 institutions.

Authors of documents submitted to WestCollections retain full copyright to their work. They grant a non-exclusive license to Western to distribute their work. In the event an author does not want the actual work available to the public, there are ways to keep it private, so that the title, abstract, and author are available but not the full-text. One manner of doing this is to place an embargo on the document. Generally this is done for 1-5 years, after which the text would become available. This gives students and faculty time to develop their work further for other purposes, such as submitting to a journal as an article or writing a book.

For more information about, to become involved with, or to submit work to WestCollections, contact your library liaison or Tom Schmiedel in the library.

Tom Schmiedel
Public Services Librarian
Librarian for Chemistry, Education & Educational Psychology, Health Promotion & Exercise, and Nursing