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Finding Dissertations

In addition to books, journal articles, and web sites, dissertations can be a valuable resource to assist in your research. The culmination of years of work in a graduate or PhD level program, a dissertation gives a glimpse of the breadth and depth of a topic, in addition to providing original research. The University Libraries offers users a few ways to locate and obtain dissertations.

From the University Libraries main web page click on “Databases and Indexes.��? Browsing alphabetically by title, click on “D.��? About halfway down the list you’ll see the links for “Dissertation & Theses��? and “Dissertation and Theses @ SUNY Albany.��?

Dissertation and Theses @ SUNY Albany contains the full text of dissertations and theses that have been written by students attending our university from 1997 to the present. In addition, all dissertations created at SUNY Albany going back, to the creation of the college in 1861, are indexed. Most of these entries offer an abstract and twenty-four page preview.

If you find a listing only available as an abstract and/or preview, you still have a couple of options for obtaining the complete document. The libraries have the majority of dissertations from our University available on microfilm. Searching Minerva by author, title or any combination of the two, you should be able to locate a copy of the dissertation at the University Libraries. Print copies of University at Albany dissertations from 1914 to the present are available in the Special Collections department, but they must be used on-site. If the full copy of the dissertation is not available from any of these locations, a last resort is to order the dissertation directly from the database.

Dissertations & Theses provides bibliographic information for dissertations and theses from over 600 accredited universities. With such large returns possible, refining and narrowing the focus of your search is important with this database (we suggest limiting keywords to citation and abstract, and providing a date range, if possible). Again, you’ll find that each result offers access to the abstract, and some offer a 24-page preview. Unfortunately, we do not have access to the full-text of these dissertations from outside our own university. To obtain one of these dissertations, submit an Interlibrary Loan request and we will do our best to obtain a copy from another library (usually from the university where the dissertation was created). If a dissertation is not available through interlibrary loan, you again have the option of ordering the dissertation directly from the Dissertations and Theses database.

The Center for Research Libraries provides access to dissertations published in foreign universities. Although their local database is no longer being updated, they do provide daily updates of their dissertation holdings to their catalog and WorldCat.

If you need further assistance or have any questions about how to search for dissertations and theses, we are happy to help. Drop by the Reference Desk, call us at 442-3691, or send us an e-mail.

Blog post created by Michael Daly