IASSIST 2008 Conference Session: Data Discovery and Dissemination: Linking Librarians, Vendors and Archives

Terrence Bennett, The College of New Jersey
Austin McLean, ProQuest
Myron Gutmann, ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research)

This session centred on data in dissertations.

ProQuest UMI has a commitment to enter and maintain the dissertation or thesis in the scholarly records and make copies available according to the author’s choice for access and dissemination.

[My question: what mechanisms have you implemented to ensure that you are providing the level of access and reuse rights chosen by the author – do you use licensing mechanisms such as Creative Commons licences?

Their response: are looking into working with CC and Science Commons – we think its a great idea.]

Students engaging in the research process are seeking ways to enhance knowledge; they explore the possibility of using existing data and/or whether new data must be collected to best answer their research question.

In December, ProQuest began to facilitate the access of supplemental files – the form of these supplemental files is up to the institution and what they will accept (ProQuest will accept anything submitted by researcher).

ProQuest’s policy concerns for dissertations include:

  • Will the “published version” differ from the “preprint” version?
  • What permissions will need to accompany the dissertations?
  • Are institutions doing the robust check of permissions or are they expecting ProQuest to do this? ProQuest makes clear what they look at – not the content of the submission but only the forms completed by the student, and the title, the abstract and the table of contents of the dissertation.
  • What are the preservation expectations of the universities that submit dissertations to ProQuest?
  • What file types to university publishing partners expect ProQuest to commit to migrate?

Bibliographic citations enhance the value of data collections. So why not add a direct link to the data in the ProQuest online catalog?

Challenges: need for ProQuest to modify web page & get author permissions – would authors agree to provide a direct link to their data?


  • How do we protect student’s IP to ensure that they can publish and build their careers?
  • Who owns the data? – what if it is not the student, and it is a faculty member or another party?