Digital scholarship blog

27 January 2014

Forthcoming EThOS webinar

[In this guest post, Sara Gould describes EThOS and the forthcoming webinar “Using doctoral theses in your research: a guide to EThOS”]

The British Library will be holding a webinar in a few weeks to tell researchers about EThOS – the UK’s E-Theses Online Service. In a nutshell EThOS is simply a database that offers a single point of access to the PhD theses that have been awarded by the UK’s universities: 330,000 records leading to 120,000 full-text downloadable theses, free from anywhere in the world. And the other 200,000-odd titles can mostly be ordered for scanning on demand.

That’s an enormous bucket of virtually unique research content that holds incredibly valuable information not accessible through any other route. For example, in describing the 1 million images we’ve just released on Flickr we included an image from an 1837 book on Ancient Egyptian manners. A cursory search In EThOS reveals several theses on related topics, such as this one awarded by the University of Nottingham which examines customs and approaches to healing in Ancient Egypt.

There’s a huge amount of value for researchers buried in PhD theses. As well as the obvious reporting of research findings, doctoral theses often describe negative research outcomes as well as the positives – and that’s the type of thing that’s not always reported in peer-reviewed journal publications. A recent survey also showed that it’s not always the core research content that people find useful. Postgraduate researchers also use EThOS to find examples of well structure theses, see other PhDs their supervisor has supervised, find the best universities for particular research topics and make contact with other authors in their field. So it’s a useful source of information for people doing research but also for existing authors to make connections.

The EThOS webinar - “Using doctoral theses in your research: a guide to EThOS” - will take place on Thursday 13 February at 15:00 – 16:00 GMT. You can register for the webinar by completing this registration form.

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