Obtaining full text – how we can (and can’t) help

Index to Theses features thesis abstracts only. We neither publish nor supply full-text.

However, tens of thousand of of entries now feature links to downloadable theses and in the case of all entries there is advice on obtaining full text.

Links to downloadable theses

Wherever possible, we now alert you to availability of the full text of the thesis for free download from one or more of these sources:-

In rare cases, the same thesis may be available in full via all three routes.

University digital repositories are searchable databases running under specialist software such as Dspace and GNU E-prints. They have an official university imprint. The URLs (web addresses) of each repository record can be expected to persist. (In many cases they take the form of persistent ‘handles’). Therefore we confidently link you to the item record, which in turn links to the full-text where that is publicly available.

EThOS (Electronic Theses Online System) is a source of downloadable full text from over a hundred different universities, albeit at this stage only limited quantities from each. Index to Theses is regularly updated on which items EThOS has added to its full text collection. We then provide an appropriate link from our record.

Departmental pointer pages are compiled on the initiative of a specific university department, or even individual researcher. The actual full-text may be hosted on a server at the university, but may be somewhere else, including the website of the author. Since such addresses are highly liable to change, we link you to the Departmental pointer page and no further, leaving you to negotiate and to decide for yourself what you think of the onwards link.

Advice on obtaining full text

All Index to Theses records display the name of the awarding university. Click on it to view a page about how to obtain theses from that particular institutions.

First the page tells you about any sources of ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) for this university. In many cases there is an institutional repository in which theses are starting to be deposited. The university may also participate in EThOS (Electronic Theses Online System) the post-2008 successor to the British Library Thesis Service.

Also stated is the web address of the university’s Library Catalogue.

How authentic and ‘safe’ are these ETDs?

We anticipate that all the downloadable theses to which we refer are authentic, but a distinction needs to be made between those from the official university repositories or EThOS and those referenced by the departmental pointer pages. In the latter case, we always prominently remind you that “the documents linked from the above page have NOT been endorsed as authentic or copyright cleared by the University Library or Academic Registry.” We shall never reference an ETD of that kind unless a thesis by this author and with this title (or a sufficiently close variant thereof) either:-

About ‘Advisory Records’

We publish such records when a research thesis that matches a University Library Catalogue record is not ready to generate a full Index to Theses entry.

In the mean time we publish an interim unedited version, see example.

In most cases an Advisory Record of this kind will be replaced by a full-scale entry once formal notification arrives from the university authorities. The length of time this takes varies considerably between universities.

In other case the Advisory Record instead relates to a legacy item that was not advised at the time to ‘Index to Theses’ or for some other reason failed to be recorded. There may, for example, have been an initial embargo on publication, the subsequent lifting of which was missed.