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University Archives: Researching Cal Poly

Researching Cal Poly in the University Archives and beyond

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.

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

Note: 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.

Finding Senior Projects

Senior Projects prior to  Fall 2009 are on microfiche (miniaturized cards) and are available to view in Crandall (Bldg 60) during open hours.  You can identify these older Senior Projects by using OneSearch.  You will be able to retrieve them and view them on the nearby microfilm readers, and you can also scan to a flashdrive or take pictures with a smartphone.

Senior Projects AFTER Fall 2009 are available digitally at the DigitalCommons@CalPoly.  You can search by title author or keyword on DigitalCommons or on OneSearch..

How do I Find both older and newer Senior Projects in OneSearch ? Use ADVANCED search: set lefthand pull down to LOCAL COLLECTIONS and type in Senior Projects. Then type in author and/or title information as relevant in another box. 

Finding Cal Poly Masters Theses

MA Theses 1968-2009 can be searched and viewed online in the Proquest's Dissertations and Theses California Polytechnic State University.

MA These 2009 to the present can be searched and viewed online in the DigitalCommons at CalPoly.  You can search by title author or keyword on DigitalCommons or on OneSearch.

NOTE: Print copies of theses that are listed in OneSearch are NOT available during the renovation relocation.

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)

Accessing pre-2009 Senior Projects on microfilm

Senior Projects before 2009 are only available on microfiche. 

Senior projects are accessed in Crandall, adjacent to the microfilm readers. 

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

Photo of the microfilm storage cabinets

Locate the senior project microfilm cabinets in Crandall. Make sure to have the Senior Project number in order to locate and pull the microfiche.

Inside view of a cabinet drawer of senior project microfiche

What the microfiche look like in the drawer. They are organized numerically by senior project number.

Close-up view of a senior project on microfilm

Close-up view of a senior project on microfilm.

researcher seated at microfilm reader looking at senior project

Bring the senior project microfiche to the readers to view. There are instructions for how to use the readers at the tables. If the research help desk is open, you can check to see if they can help troubleshoot issues.