My college keeps an archive of all senior projects. Prior to turning in their projects, the student authors submit a release, detailing what level of access to the project the college is allowed to provide. Here's my dilemma: my senior project is a novel and I am about to start submitting it to agents. I am concerned that allowing my college to provide somewhat public access to a draft of the novel could be problematic if I do find an agent and a publisher.
The release form includes four options (directly quoted from the form):
A. (college) may provide access* to my (project) to third parties, including but not limited to students, employees, and members of the general public.
B. Access to my (project) is restricted until (date), after which time copies may be provided by the College to third parties, including but not limited to students, employees, and members of the general public.
C. (college) may provide access* to my (project) only to students and employees of the College.
D. Access to my (project) is restricted until (date), after which time copies may be provided by the College only to students and employees of the College.
*“Provide access” means that the Library will hold the (project) in its collection and make it available to users as defined in each level of access. Access may be provided in any format or medium, including via the internet, and may be provided for a period of time determined by the College.
I can also stipulate that my adviser is allowed to change the level of access after I graduate.
Please let me know if you have any advice about how best to protect myself and my novel's future.
You don't need to worry this will hinder you in the search for an agent or in the publication process. Lots of people have early work in their college libraries. Having the work held in a library's collection is not the same thing as having it published.
If you were a client of mine, I'd choose option B which restricts access for the present but will allow people to see the work at a future date. When you become a famous novelist and biographers are writing about you, you'll want to make sure they can see your early work.
It's interesting that there's no way to opt out of the work being in the library at all.