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This article expired 12-Mar-2014 -- it may contain outdated or superceded information
12-Mar-2014 Newsletter article

Open Access Dissertations and Theses Sites

Dissertations & Theses database is the world's most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses. Nearly three million searchable citations from1743 to the present with more than one million full-text dissertations are available for download in PDF format. The database offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full-text coverage for older graduate works.

In addition to access to Dissertations & Theses, the ISU Library offers access to Dissertations & Theses @ ISU, a subset that contains citation information for all ISU dissertations and masters’ theses. Full text is available for all doctoral dissertations, and for masters' theses published since fall 2006.

Access is available from the Article Indexes & Database link on the eLibrary.

Many ISU dissertations and theses are freely-accessible to researchers worldwide through the Digital Repository @ Iowa State University.

ProQuest, the vendor that produces Dissertations & Theses, offers PQDT Open, with access to the full text of select dissertations by authors who have opted to publish as Open Access. Open Access is a publishing platform that provides unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly research notably journal articles, but has become an option for book chapters, dissertations and theses, scholarly monographs, and other publications.

PQDT Open is one of several services that provides Open Access to dissertations and theses, most notably:

  • EThOS: National Dissertation and Theses Service of the United Kingdom

    EThOS is a national aggregated database of doctoral theses institutions maintained by the British Library.

    The EThOS database includes approximately 300,000 records of dissertations and theses awarded by more 120 institutions, primarily from the UK. Nearly100, 000 of these records provide the full-text access, either as a PDF download from the EThOS database, or via links to an institution’s repository. Scans can be requested for a majority of the remaining records through the EThOS digitization-on-demand facility.

    In addition to a basic keyword option, EThOS offers an ‘Advanced’ selection to search individually by ‘Author’, ‘Abstract’, ‘Institution Name’, ‘LCSH’ ‘Subject Keyword’ ‘Title’, among others, or a combination of fields.

  • DEEP: DART-Europe E-Theses Portal

    DART-Europe is a partnership of research libraries and library consortia working to improve global access to European research theses. The DEEP site provides access to more than 45,000 open access research theses from 551 Universities in 28 European countries.

    The database can be searched by keyword or browsed by ‘University’, ‘Collection’, ‘Country’ or ‘Year’.

  • OATD

    OATD “aims to be the best possible resource for finding open access graduate theses and dissertations published around the world. Metadata (information about the theses) comes from over 800 colleges, universities, and research institutions.” OATD currently indexes nearly 2 million items (02-23-14).

    Created and maintained by Thomas Dowling, Director of Technologies, Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Wake Forest University

  • Upload and Search Theses & Dissertations

    OpenThesis is a “free repository of theses, dissertations, and other academic documents, coupled with powerful search, organization, and collaboration tools.”

    OpenThesis contains the bibliographical information, notably author, school, title, abstract, date of publication, and more. Links to the full text is generally not included unless permission is received from the school or author.

    In addition to a basic search, users can a search only one specific field, namely ‘Abstract’.  ‘Advisor’, ‘Author’, ‘Document Type’, ‘Full Text’, ‘Keywords’, ‘Language’, ‘Title’, ‘Publication Date’, or ‘School’, or a combination of any or all these fields.

    Open Access dissertations and theses are also available via Google Scholar and WorldCat. A resource page is available of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), an international organization dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination, and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations.

SPIE Digital Library

The ISU Library now offers online access to the SPIE Digital Library. This resource, produced by The International Society for Optical Engineering, provides full-text access to all of its publications, namely e-books, journal articles, and SPIE Proceedings from 1962 to date. This collection will be of interest to a variety of users in fields that have any reliance on optics or photonics - from Astronomy to Biomedical Imaging to Semiconductor Manufacturing. It can be accessed through the Article Indexes & Databases page of the e-Library and the e-books can be found by using Quick Search as well.

Within the SPIE Digital Library, users can use a simple or advanced search to find items, or browse through the material based on type (article, book, etc.) or by one of several Topic Collections to explore all material available for a particular discipline (including subdivisions of broad categories). All materials can be downloaded as PDF files. E-books are available as individual chapters as separate files, rather than as a single file.

As of February 2014, the SPIE Digital Library contained

  • 375,000+ proceedings papers published from 1962 to date
  • 18,000 new articles added annually
  • 7,000 volumes of  SPIE Conference Proceedings
  • SPIE eBooks from SPIE Press 
  • Current SPIE Journals: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing
  1. Journal of Biomedical Optics 
  2. Journal of Electronic Imaging 
  3. Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS 
  4. Journal of Nanophotonics 
  5. Journal of Photonics for Energy 
  6. Optical Engineering 

Three additional journals are scheduled for publication this year:

Questions or requests for assistance using the SPIE Digital Library can be directed to Jesse Garrison.


SciFinder© provides researchers with unlimited access to the world’s largest and most reliable collection of chemistry and related science information.

It offers several on-demand training resources, notably:   

Overview Materials

  • SciFinder Overview Presentation (PDF)
  • Introductory Tutorial

Substance Searching

  • Introduction to Substance Searching (tutorial)
  • Introduction to the SciFinder Drawing Editor - Use templates and shortcuts. Enter structures with CAS Registry Numbers®. (tutorial)
  • Use SciFinder to Check for Substance Novelty and Properties

Reaction Searching 

  • Introduction to Reaction Searching (tutorial)
  • How to Create a Reaction Answer Set - Draw and search reactions. Get Reactions tool. (PDF)
  • Find Experimental Procedures to Synthesize Substances

Reference Searching

  • Introduction to Reference Searching (tutorial)
  • How to Create a Reference Answer Set - Search by Research Topic, Author Name, Company Name, and Document Identifier. (PDF)       
  • How to Work with a Reference Answer Set - Analyze, Refine, and Categorize search results. (PDF)

General Topics

  • Add a Keep Me Posted (KMP) Alert - Create alerts, set frequency and duration, and request email notification. (tutorial)
  • How to Create a Keep Me Posted (KMP) Alert - Create alerts and set preferences. (PDF)
  • How to Print, Save, and Export (PDF)

Special Topics


  • Get Started Searching for Polymers and Oligomers
  • Search for Polymer Substances
  • Search for Polymer Reactions 

Patents (recorded WebEx presentations)

  • Patent Coverage and Patent Information in SciFinder
  • Patent Family Information and How It Can Aid Your Research
  • Finding Competitive Intelligence Information in SciFinder

These and other training resources are available at

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