Answered By: Janelle Wertzberger
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2015     Views: 30

Student interlibrary loan requests for dissertations are automatically denied by our ILL software.  There are a quite a few reasons for this, including:

·         Many of our article databases include dissertation abstracts in them, but many students requesting loans don’t realize that these are not in fact journal articles but something else altogether.

·         Dissertations are almost impossible to borrow from other libraries.  Often there is only one library that owns a copy (the one where the writer earned the PhD), and that library does not lend out their copy.  So even when Musselman Library tries to borrow dissertations from other libraries, we are usually denied.

·         Many times, dissertations aren’t very useful sources for undergraduate projects.  They tend to be incredibly specific and assume their reader already has a substantial background in the subject area. 


That said, here are some strategies for finding the dissertation itself or related sources:

·         Look for other items written by the author of the dissertation.  If those authors go on to work in academia, they usually publish journal articles or book chapters on aspects of the dissertation, or even an entire book on the topic (this is more common in the humanities disciplines).  Search by author name in relevant subject databases (for articles and book chapters) and in WorldCat (for books).

·         Google the dissertation title (use quotation marks around it).  Sometimes the fulltext dissertation is freely available via an institutional repository housed at the university that granted the PhD.  This is especially likely for dissertations published in the last five years or so. 


If you ultimately feel that this dissertation is a critical source for your research, we can purchase a pdf copy from ProQuest UMI.  We ask that you meet with a reference librarian or the liaison librarian for your subject area.  You will need librarian approval before a dissertation is purchased on your behalf.