Bennington College


Bennington College: Crossett Library Digital Repository

Bennington is a small undergraduate liberal arts college with approximately 650 students on campus. In this personalized environment students plan their education with faculty advisors learning how to develop a program that works for them while also articulating and advocating for their choices.

The Crossett Library has had a role to play in supporting both faculty and students in innovative, participatory education and engaging in the life of a small, rural community. To support the always evolving curriculum the library collaborates with faculty and students to build collections and participate in the conversation about what types of resources to make available through the Library.

"For us, a small liberal arts college, DSpaceDirect offered a triple opportunity: a solution for establishing a digital repository and an archive delivered in a true turnkey, all tech support provided package with extremely competitive pricing as a bonus. We were up and running right away. It has been a really great experience." -- Oceana Wilson, Director of Library and Information Services Crossett Library, Bennington College

Repository Overview

Bennington College needed an economical solution with technical support for storing and making student's electronic theses and dissertations accessible. Additionally, the college has a collection of scanned high quality images and film that they wish to preserve in their IR.

DSpaceDirect is a good solution on several fronts. Wilson says, "We have a small staff and don't have an archivist. Keeping up with archival records is an ongoing challenge. There is an interest within the campus community to access the archive as as well as external audiences, such as scholars of modern dance history.  By making our archive accessible we will boost archival access for researchers on and off campus. Our records can be found on the Web with DSpace."

"We tried in a makeshift way to have the library catalog system store theses without success. There was no keyword searching capability. DSpace is a terrific solution for storing and making accessible student theses. All current theses will go directly into DSpace now and we are also reaching out to any alumni interested in adding their student work to repository." She explained.

Having the repository online so quickly facilitated preservation and archiving discussions–the live example is a good planning tool. Many valuable documents are fragile and getting digital facsimiles into the repository as digital back-ups is a significant advantage for Bennington. Currently houses about two thousand items after two months of operation.


The Crossett Library has started discussions about other uses for their new DSpace repository. Interactive learning opportunities such as using examples of students work as illustrations for how to participate in collaborative education will embed the DSpace repository as a valuable teaching tool.

The Open Access deposit of scholarly works by faculty members is still in the early stages. It may be facilitated by soliciting selected faculty members to participate as exemplars.

It was truly a turn-key installation experience and the training was top notch. Customization questions are starting to pop-up. We are at a point where some additional customization and learning more about how to do that ourselves will be helpful. On a daily basis the ticketing system works very well and our questions are answered in a timely way.