University Libraries Prove There Is New Research Life on MARS

Posted: June 20, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Research and scholarly work goes on each day at Mason – through conferences, published and unpublished papers, presentations and other formats. With all the groundbreaking work being done, it can be hard to pin it down and make it available to a wide audience. That is, until MARS.

MARS, the Mason Archival Repository Service, is the University Libraries’ institutional repository, which provides a stable, well-managed permanent archive for digital scholarly and research materials of enduring value produced by Mason faculty, staff and students.

Dorothea Salo, who was hired as the libraries’ digital repository services librarian, is making it her mission to have MARS blaze a trail for great research showcasing at Mason.

“I want people to know what kinds of wonderful materials people at Mason are working on. Universities and university libraries are reaching toward other ways to disseminate and preserve scholarship, and institutional repositories such as MARS are one way,” says Salo.

Though the repository is still building, there are already some very interesting materials available. Several MARS Pathfinders – including professors Carlos Sluzki and Susan Palsbo of the College of Health and Human Services and Joseph Gagnon of the College of Education and Human Development – have submitted research papers, projects and other materials for the collection.

Special collections belonging to University Libraries that have been digitized are also available through MARS, including photography of Richard Nixon’s 1972 presidential campaign, George Mason’s 40th anniversary exhibit and materials from the Planned Community Archive.

“One of the perks of my job is that I get to read some of what I place online. The quality and the variety of the work blows me away,” says Salo.

Mason student Joe Hall recorded poetry readings from Fall for the Book festivals and other readings on campus and had them placed in MARS for anyone to access. Audio files of readings by such poets as Mary Jo Bang, Eric Pankey, Alan Shapiro and Kim Addonizio are just a mouse click away.

The libraries are also working to prepare a collection of the NCAA tournament run of the men’s basketball team earlier this year. “Special Collections is working on that behind the scenes – expect an unveiling in late summer or fall,” says Salo.

Salo welcomes any faculty member, staff member or graduate student to contact her by e-mail at dsalo@gmu.edu or by phone at 703-993-3742 if interested in submitting their work to MARS.

“I think this repository shows that Mason is serious about the changes currently afoot in the scholarly publishing system,” she says.

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