Stanford dissertations no longer going into Dissertation Abstracts

Stanford is finally going to move to digital submission of dissertations and theses.  I know most of your institutions made the switch a long time ago.  We were waiting for our registrar to retire to get this moving.

What is probably different for Stanford Univeristy is we are not planning to submit them to ProQuest for deposit.  We are going handle their distribution ourselves.  On the one hand I think this is great.  It probably means you won’t have to pay to have access to Stanford dissertations and theses.  My main concern is that it appears that the citations and abstracts will not be in Dissertation Abstracts unless the student is willing to pay to have this done.  In the past I believe University Microfilms added this information for free, and only charged to make the microfilm copy for distribution.  Back when I got my degree, University of Southern California (along with Harvard) did not deposit their dissertations with University Microfilms.  I could have had mine added, but I would have had to pay as USC was not paying for this.  I declined, but it is now in the Aquatic Commons along with several other USC dissertations we have scanned.  I checked Dissertation Abstracts and it appears Harvard and USC are now both depositing their dissertations with ProQuest.

I have always used dissertation abstract to confirm if/when someone got their Ph.D., but if Stanford (and others?) are not even submitting the citation and abstract for its graduates, this means you can no longer rely on Dissertation Abstracts for this purpose.  Maybe our ProQuest colleagues (Craig & Vicki) can verify whether or not ProQuest charges even to submit just a citation and abstract.

If you want to read about how Stanford plans to handle dissertations, there is a URL to the news story below.  You will find embedded links to download the PowerPoint slides used by the University Librarian when he presented this plan to the Faculty Senate.  You can also download the full Faculty Senate minutes with all the details including the faculty questions and discussion that followed the presentation.

Joe Wible
Hopkins Marine Station

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