London Book Fair is concluded for another year. We were fortunate enough to have been asked to contribute to a panel, speaking on dissertations and theses, an area of great importance to ProQuest and one that we have been involved in for some 75 years.
The panel consisted of three speakers, including Niels Dam, senior vice president for product development at ProQuest; Fiona Greig, head of e-strategy and resources at the University of Surrey; and Sara Gould, manager of thesis digitization at the British Library. The key aim of the discussion was to highlight the evolving elements of digitising dissertations and theses and developments in this area, including the advancement of technology, open access, and the subject of copyright.
Fiona Greig spoke of the benefits of theses digitization, which included widening access to previously inaccessible content; however, she highlighted that changes in copyright laws meant there were many challenges which needed to be addressed within the library itself.
Sara Gould described the project she manages at the British Library, called EThOS, which is the national database of UK doctoral theses. The British Library works with institutions around the country to digitize theses. Sara discussed the processes and costs involved with this project both for those individuals wanting access to key papers and the library itself.
Niels Dam wrapped up the session by describing how ProQuest works with institutions and third-party companies, such as the British Library, to help with what has been described as a somewhat complex area. He discussed the many considerations that need to be looked at when engaging in the digitization and dissemination of dissertations and theses.
ProQuest has played a key role in developing the technology and processes which have enabled global access to scholarly works, supporting universities and researchers in their endeavors to showcase their research and enhance their academic profile.
This article first appeared in the UK PA's (Publishers Association) APD Briefings and is reproduced in abridged form here by kind permission of the PA.