Moving Image Archiving and Preservation

preservation audiovisual film motion picture training education masters degree digital copyright conservation


2009–2010 MIAP Thesis Guidelines


The MIAP thesis is a capstone project in the form of an academic paper, a preservation project, or a professional portfolio:

  • An academic paper must demonstrate substantial research and analysis addressing an aspect of the history, theory, or practice of moving image archiving and preservation. The paper should contribute to the field and have the potential to be published.
  • A preservation project is based in a partnership with an organization where the student performs tasks such as collection assessment, description, re-housing, preservation planning, and/or management, development of forms of access, and/or fundraising. The project's written component typically contains two parts: a report or document(s) deliverable to the manager of the collection, and an analysis of the project’s significance for moving image archiving or preservation.
  • A professional portfolio includes an essay synthesizing topics studied during the MIAP program, as well as the best examples of papers and projects that the student has completed during course work. The portfolio involves both re-writing of previously completed work, as well as the new synthesis essay. The portfolio should serve as an example of what the student might present a potential employer. It must therefore be "packaged" appropriately and include a vita and list of references.

Students should begin thinking about a thesis topic and form during the second semester of the first year, and come back after summer internship with particular ideas. Seek advice from advisors and other faculty at any time.

Second-year MIAP students must follow this 2009–10 thesis schedule:

  • Late August – September — Meet with your advisor, and other faculty as needed, to discuss your thesis/project ideas.
  • September 25 — Deadline to declare the form of your thesis (academic paper, preservation project or portfolio); your topic/focus; and your potential partner, if you are doing a preservation project. E-mail this to Howard Besser, Mona Jimenez, and Dan Streible in the form of a paragraph, or more if needed. Your Academic Advisor will provide primary feedback on your ideas and other faculty will proivde feedback as needed.
  • October 28 — Deadline for submission of a proposal. The proposal (at least 1–2 pages) should include a working title, a developed focus, a proposed methodology, and your final partner, if applicable. For a paper: propose a thesis statement (or a question to be answered), then discuss your topic, approach, and intended research; include a preliminary, annotated bibliography of at least 5 relevant resources. For a preservation project, briefly describe the collection, outline major tasks and "deliverables", and identify the archiving/preservation issue(s) you expect to address. For a portfolio, outline the themes of your synthesis essay and identify the papers and projects you will include. E-mail proposals to Besser, Jimenez and Dan Streible, and CC Alicia Kubes. The proposals may be circulated to other relevant MIAP and Cinema Studies faculty who could serve as Thesis Advisors.
  • October – mid–November — Students will receive feedback on their proposals from their Academic Advisors, and other MIAP faculty as needed. Thesis Advisor names will be circualted to the students so that they may express their first and second choices for Advisors. MIAP Director and Associate Directors will meet to assign Thesis Advisors. Proposals may need to be re–written at this stage. In any case, students will commence work.
  • November 5 — Deadline for approval of proposal and assignment of Thesis Advisor.
  • By November 20th (Dec. 4th at the latest) — Student will initiate a first meeting with their Thesis Advisors and develop a schedule for meetings and other expectations. Meetings should be held biweekly during the semesters.
  • Winter Break — Students spend time on research, project work, and writing.
  • In the second week of "Advanced Topics" an outline of weekly tasks through May 3rd will be submitted to the instructor and to the student's Thesis Advisor. The Thesis Advisor must sign off on the outline before it is submitted in class. Students are expected to begin writing a draft at this time.
  • week of March 29th — Draft is submitted to Besser, Streible, Jimenez, and the Thesis Advisor. Thesis Advisor and Advanced Topics Instructor provide feedback and other faculty will provide feedback as needed. .
  • Week of April 12, 2010 — Students must present their theses in a public lecture. All students are required to attend the thesis presentations of their classmates. For projects, the student's organizational partners will be invited. For portfolios, the MIAP Program will invite at least one professional working in a relevant field, who will give feedback to the student and help evaluate the work.
  • May 3, 2010 — Deadline for submission of completed thesis. Students will submit electronic copies to MIAP Director, Associate Directors and their Thesis Advisor and may be asked to submit print copies to some faculty. Faculty and advisors, in consultation with MAIP Director, may ask that substantial revisions be mad before the deadline for grades (in the case of inadequate work). In all cases, the Thesis Advisor will provide final feedback on the thesis by the grade deadline, and the student will make these minor revisions for the final deposit: an electronic and a bound copy to Zack Lischer-Katz. All theses will be submitted to Zack by May 30th, and will be deposited in the study center (in hard copy) and the online digital archive, where they will be publicly available (please contact MIAP faculty or staff if you have questions about this process). If a student does not send a revised copy by May 30th, MIAP will consider the last version submitted by the student as the final deposit copy.

The MIAP Director, Associate Directors, and Thesis Advisors will decide together whether the student has successfully completed the thesis, and will assign a final grade. The grade for Advanced Topics class will be largely based on the thesis grade.