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Cal Poly Research via University Archives

Researching Cal Poly

Senior Projects

Many senior projects were written about Cal Poly, and can be useful as a primary source or a secondary source, depending on how you use the source. Senior projects date back to 1942, which is when our collections start. You can search senior projects in the library's catalog and access them either in the library or online. It was optional for students to submit senior projects to the library, so specific senior projects may not be included in the library's collections.

Locating Senior Projects in the library

You can search all senior projects submitted to the library on the library catalog OneSearch

Senior projects submitted 1942-2008 are only available physically in the library. Senior projects submitted after 2009 are available online at DigitalCommons.

Accessing Senior Project in print

Senior projects are located on the second floor of the Kennedy Library, adjacent to the microfilm readers near the Research Help Desk. 

Senior Projects created before 2009 are only on Microfiche.

From the catalog record for the senior project you'll need the Number that looks like XX-XXXX to find the project.

Tips for searching for Senior Projects

Senior projects are all cataloged in the library's catalog. However, it is important to know what exactly the catalog is searching. 

Senior projects are ONLY searchable by author name, author's department, and title. There are no subject headings, keywords, abstracts, or full-text searching of pre-2009 senior projects.

How to limit your search to just senior projects

Use the Advanced Search

Change "Any Field" to "Local Collections" and type "senior project"

Using wildcards to expand your search

Because a search will only search the title of the senior project, wildcards are a useful way to search more broadly. 

If you use an astrisk (*) at the end of a word or part of a word, anything starting with those letters will be included in your results.

For example: Poly* will search Poly AND Polytechnic (and polymers, polyhedron....etc)

Finding the Pre-2009 Senior Projects

Find the senior project cabinets on the 2nd floor (northwest corner)

Locate the drawer that includes the senior project with the number you identified

Each senior project has 1-2 microfilm pages to pull.

Use the microfilm readers adjacent to the senior projects to read the microfilmed pages.