Getting to grips with theses…

ThesisBlogTagxedoIn Special Collections, we get a number of enquiries from students looking for more information on theses, as we hold a theses collection. While we can help with accessing theses and using the searches, there are times when other departments may be better able to assist.

So for those who need it,  here is a one-stop shop for library thesis queries…

What theses are held in the library?

We hold University of Glasgow PhD and Masters by research theses: if you are looking for an undergraduate or masters by teaching thesis, then checking with the relevant school should be your first port of call. We do have theses going back to the 19th century – however, there are some gaps and we may not hold everything…

Theses are held in Special Collections, the Library Research Annexe and some branch libraries: it pays to check the location on the catalogue record!

We do not generally hold theses from other institutions, although there is a thesis collection within the Whistler Archive, which has theses written on Whistler-related subjects and is held at Sp Coll Whistler TH.

How do I find a thesis?

The library has put together a useful guide to searching for theses.

I want to check all the theses from my College/School in the past year. How can I do that?

A good way to start would be to use the Browse by College/School option on the Library Theses Service. It isn’t possible to search by school in the library catalogue, but you could use a number of keyword searches and restrict the dates on the theses search.

Can I borrow a thesis from Special Collections?

No. Theses are consultation only and while you are welcome to come to Special Collections and consult theses, they are not suitable to borrow or consult in other parts of the library. This also applies to any thesis held in the Library Research Annexe. However, there are a small number of theses held in the  Adam Smith Library, which are borrowable.

Can I get hold of a copy of a thesis?

This is often possible.  Theses completed post-2007 will have an electronic version and, embargo permitting, will be available online immediately or after up to 3 years, if an embargo is granted. As well as being listed on the library catalogue (use the Thesis search), you can also search the Library Theses Service.

If the thesis is a pre-2007 PhD, then it may be eligible to be digitised via the EThOS service, which is a British Library web resource, offering digital access to PhD theses from most UK institutions. If the thesis you want isn’t yet available, you can request it be scanned and you will receive a link to the scanned version. This service  is currently free to users.

Unfortunately, we are unable to send masters theses or theses with additional material for scanning. In these cases however, you may be able to request a paper copy from the Document Delivery Service (DDS). There is a charge for this service. DDS may also be able to advise if you just need copies from part of a thesis.

The thesis I want to see is restricted. What does this mean?

A thesis restriction is when the author has requested an embargo on their thesis. This can mean that the text is being prepared for publication or that it contains sensitive material. Embargoes can be granted for up to three years. If you wish to see a restricted thesis, then you will need a signed letter from the author allowing you access. If you don’t know the author, then the relevant School may be able to help you.

The electronic copy is restricted due to third party copyright. What does that mean?

While it is possible to use non-cleared third-party copyright images in a paper thesis, it is not possible to put the copyright images online. It is still possible to consult the physical thesis in Special Collections and it may be possible to access an electronic copy via the Library Theses Service, subject to terms and conditions.

I need assistance with referencing, can you help?

While we can assist with access to theses and using the searches, we would advise speaking to your supervisor or college librarian regarding this, as they will have specific knowledge for the requirements of your School. There are also useful guides on the library website.

Hopefully this post answers your thesis query, but, if not, please add a comment or get in touch!

Contact us:

Special Collections

Library Theses

Document Delivery Service


UPDATE: Have created a print-friendly pdf version of this post.

Categories: Special Collections

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