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Delivering Warwick PhD theses online

Until recently, researchers seeking access to Warwick theses have had to come to the University to read the Library’s print copy or request a microfilm version from the British Library. Now they have the opportunity to read them online through a new national service hosted by the British Library.

The Electronic Theses Online Service (EThOS) launched earlier this year. EThOS is digitising the full text of some of the many thousands of theses held in the British Library together with new theses sent by participating institutions. From now on, if it’s already in EThOS then it’s immediately available for download to your desktop; if not, digitisation can be arranged though there may be a cost.

The University is one of over 100 EThOS member institutions so far. Theses that have been in most demand at the British Library over time are given priority for conversion by EThOS and, reflecting the high quality of and demand for Warwick research, over 900 of ours have already been digitised - the earliest is from 1967 - including 117 in August 2009 alone. These cover subjects such as motorcycle culture, use of computers in fatigue analysis, football apprenticeship, industrial supply chains and the Conservative Party in Europe.

Statistics have shown that the use of theses increases significantly when they are made openly available in electronic format, and that use comes from a much wider range of countries and types of user than would otherwise have been the case.

Since the 2008-2009 academic session it has been a requirement that all Warwick PhD theses are submitted in electronic as well as print format so they can be added to the University’s research outputs repository WRAP. The Library enables EThOS to harvest e-theses in WRAP automatically, and the University will receive a copy of each thesis digitised by EThOS*.

WRAP has been ‘live’ for less than 18 months but typically receives over 400 hits a day, with visitors from 84 countries or territories so far; EThOS has been overwhelmed by the number of requests for its content. These services are a real opportunity to showcase Warwick research and Warwick researchers, increasing their visibility and the University’s global profile, together with bringing benefits for the wider UK Higher Education sector in what is an increasingly competitive global education environment.

If you wish to find out more or talk about EThOS or WRAP please visit their Web sites and contact Jenny Delasalle, Repositories Manager or Robin Green, Deputy Librarian.

* NB. Please note that where a restriction or embargo has been placed on a thesis by the University at the request of its author the full text of that thesis will not appear in WRAP or EThOS until after the end of the embargo period (or indefinitely if there is no expiry date on the embargo