Archives for the Month of October 2009 on Carl's ILLiad Blog

Theses & Dissertations -- Availability through Interlibrary Loan

A few words about borrowing theses or dissertations for your scholarly research needs...

First of all, if you need to access any titles that have been done at any of the colleges of Case Western Reserve University (or any of its predecessor institutions), you should ordinarily not have to request them through interlibrary loan. Be sure you have searched them in the CASE Online Catalog for current availability. The most recent 5 years of masters' theses (and the newest Ph.D. dissertations) from the College of Arts and Sciences, Case School of Engineering, and the Weatherhead School of Management should be available in the Kelvin Smith Library. Any titles done at the School of Medicine, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, or the School of Law should be held at their respective library locations. All others should be available for request by using the Iron Mountain form.

Theses originally submitted in electronic format will often have a link displayed in their online catalog entries, for immediate download. You may also search the availability of many electronic CASE thesis titles that have been digitized at either Digital Case Electronic Theses or OhioLINK Electronic Theses.

If you cannot find a CASE thesis title in our catalog, or if one that you do find is not currently available (e.g., checked out, in processing, or at bindery), we suggest you contact the University Archives for further assistance. The phone number for their reference desk is 216-368-3320, and they may also be contacted at Archives@case.edu.

If you need to borrow a thesis or dissertation that was done at any of the OhioLINK Member Universities, you should first search for it in the OhioLINK Catalog, where you can submit your request directly. Digitized OhioLINK theses are also available for download through the OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center.

In all other cases, you should use ILLiad to request the thesis titles you require. Remember to use the 'Thesis' form under the 'New Request' section of the Main Menu, when you log into your account. The data fields provided in this page are appropriate to this particular loan type. You should use this form for titles done at Ohio universities not part of OhioLINK, U.S. universities outside Ohio, and any universities outside the United States.

Keep in mind that the loans of theses or dissertations borrowed through ILLiad will be subject to different loan rules than any that you borrow directly from the CASE or OhioLINK collections. As each lending institution operates along its own set of policies, it is possible that various restrictions may be imposed. For example, loan periods may vary (in contrast to the uniform due dates of direct check-outs), renewals may or may not be allowed, and in some cases a 'library-use-only' restriction may be required. When you receive a notification of receipt, the message text will indicate if any of these apply.

Some additional issues and caveats to remember about borrowing theses through ILLiad...

Most often a thesis or dissertation is held only at the library of the institution where it was done. Sometimes there are copies available held at more than one library location, with the possibility of two or more libraries at the same university. Occasionally some theses are widely held through several locations besides the originating institution, as a reflection of how influential the author's research has proven to be. Usually, however, you can expect only a single copy to be all that will be available for borrowing through interlibrary loan.

Occasionally a thesis is on loan at the institution's library at the time you place a request for it, and they will often reply by informing us to try again at a future date. Under these circumstances, we will send you a cancellation notice and suggest that you re-submit your request at a time when it may again be available for loan.

If you have already requested a particular thesis title that we have been able to borrow for you and have recently returned it, you should expect not to be able to borrow it again immediately. Please put off re-requesting it for at least two to three weeks (or longer if a foreign thesis) if you need it again, to allow for return shipping, check-in and re-shelving for future availability at the lender library.

Some theses will only be available for circulation in microfilm (reel or fiche) formats from the lender libraries. We usually try to request hard copies of theses when we can, but sometimes only microfilms are loaned to us by the lender libraries even when we do not expect them. Many Canadian theses, for example, can only be borrowed from the National Library of Canada, which loans them almost exclusively in microfiche format. Please remember that the Kelvin Smith Library does offer the appropriate equipment and reference assistance for viewing microfilm format, as well as for reproducing into the print or electronic forms which you may find more useful. Consider this before returning any unused theses borrowed for you on microfilm through ILL.

Some lenders will actually provide us with a complete reproduction of a thesis or dissertation. When this is in electronic format, we usually can provide it to you through electronic delivery (after converting your ILLiad transaction into an article-type request format). Due to copyright restrictions, you will be expected to save or print only a single copy of the thesis, which you may retain for personal research use but not freely disseminate. Keep in mind that it will usually be a fairly large file, so please allow adequate time for it to download. When we actually receive a print reproduction, we will provide it to you as a loan, with indefinite renewals if needed. As this material is library property, we will expect you to return it when you are finished so we may submit it to our Acquisitions Department to be considered for binding and addition to the Kelvin Smith Library collections, for future availability.

Expect that some theses will take us longer to obtain than the usual loans you may request. Those done at Canadian, British, European, Japanese and other foreign universities will often require more time for us to borrow, and in some cases we will only be able to obtain them by purchasing a reproduction directly from the holding library, which often becomes a time-consuming process (more about that below). You can also expect many European and other non-English universities' theses to be available only in the original language, and not in English translation. Some of these may be referenced (i.e., title & abstract only) in translation, but not be available in full-text translation. Occasionally, though, some actually are written originally in English by their authors.

Once in a while, a holding library will not allow a thesis title to circulate at all. We can sometimes purchase a reproduction from them, but unfortunately this is not always the case. Some libraries will require us to obtain permission directly from the author before proceeding with processing a reproduction. Some lenders will instead refer us to University Microfilms International to purchase a copy ourselves, while others will simply not offer any option at all. In many such cases, we will have to cancel your ILLiad request and inform you of the specific circumstances. When a title is available from University Microfilms International, we will also suggest that you may wish to purchase a personal copy, or advise you to contact our Acquisitions Department using the Suggest a Purchase form to have a copy added to our own collections.

Hopefully this has shed some light regarding theses and dissertations, and how best to use interlibrary loan services and other available resources in accessing them.

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