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UK Student Wins Award for
Electronic Master’s Thesis

By Ralph Derickson

 

Cantara was one of the first UK graduate students to produce an electronic thesis as part of UK’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) project. The former program coordinator for Research in Computing for Humanities (RCH) in the WilliamT. Young Library, Cantara is now a metadata librarian at Indiana University in Bloomington. She has three degrees – a bachelor of arts in English, a master of science in library science, and a master of arts in English.

 

Jan. 17, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- University of Kentucky graduate Linda Cantara has been chosen to receive the 2003 Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) Master Thesis Award for the Humanities and Arts Division. The award includes a $500 prize and travel expenses for Cantara to attend the CSGS annual meeting in Tampa, Fla.,
Feb. 23 to receive the award.

Cantara was one of the first UK graduate students to produce an electronic thesis as part of UK’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) project. The former program coordinator for Research in Computing for Humanities (RCH) in the WilliamT. Young Library, Cantara is now a metadata librarian at Indiana University in Bloomington. She has three degrees – a bachelor of arts in English, a master of science in library science, and a master of arts in English.

Cantara’s thesis is an analysis of Old English text that survives in an eleventh-century manuscript that was severely damaged by fire in 1731. Kevin Kiernan, a UK English professor who has pioneered work in the digital imaging of ancient Old English documents, including “Beowulf,” and who directed Cantara’s project, said her thesis “constitutes a pioneering electronic thesis, one of the first and most innovative at UK.”

Kiernan said Cantara used digital images he acquired using ultraviolet of a badly damaged manuscript. This process, he said, reveals readings that were formerly illegible. “She meticulously transcribed these formerly illegible readings and compared them with the text from another well preserved manuscript and discovered any differences, which she presents and perceptively discusses in her thesis,” Kiernan added.

Jim O’Reilly, a chemistry professor on the staff of the Graduate School is chair of UK’s committee on ETDs. He called Cantara’s thesis “an extremely high quality and well written scholarly work.”

Cantara said submitting an electronic thesis was a “natural complement” to earning a graduate certificate in humanities informatics and her work in RCH.

She described the subject of her text, Mary of Egypt, as a fourth century prostitute who repented of her sinful occupation at the age of 29 and served penance the last 47 years of her life as a desert ascetic.

Cantara said, “I am delighted to be the recipient of this award, and am very pleased that the English department at UK will be honored because of it.”

A Web version of Cantara’s thesis is accessible by clicking here. Or view the PDF version by clicking here.


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