Library service appeal

March 3, 1995

Librarians from a group of British universities, which together produce a significant proportion of the total national output of research theses/dissertations, would like to invite comment on possible ways of improving access both to information about theses and for the supply of copies.

Users of theses face two major challenges: to discover what has been written in their field of research; and to obtain access to, or a copy of the relevant thesis or theses. Together with the British Library Document Supply Centre we have been discussing ways in which the new technologies could be used to improve the service.

We propose to investigate questions of access to theses in electronic form. With the arrival of SuperJANET, the transmission of theses in digital form begins to become a more practical proposition, although there are still a number of obstacles to be overcome. Difficulties include: technical problems, obtaining copyright clearance from university authorities and the potential of bringing about a greater risk of abuse of intellectual property rights than access to theses on paper or in microform. We should welcome responses, particularly from the academic community.

EMMA ROBINSON

Librarian

University of London Library

On behalf of: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds University Libraries, University College London Library and Cranfield Institute of Technology

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