It is produced by Pro Quest and was formerly known as Pro Quest Digital Dissertations.
The bibliographic database (without full-text dissertations) is known as Dissertations Abstracts or Dissertations Abstracts International.
Pro Quest began digitizing dissertations in 1997 from a microform archive.
The Library holds a paper copy of most University of Chicago doctoral dissertations deposited before Summer 2009, as well as many early masters' theses, and those with current University of Chicago Library borrowing privileges may borrow them.
The requirement for students to upload their doctoral theses to Pro Quest is “bordering on universal” at U. institutions, said Rick Anderson, associate dean for collections and scholarly communications at the Marriott Library at the University of Utah.
“This practice amounts to outsourcing the digital archiving of locally produced theses and dissertations,” Anderson said in an email.If you have current borrowing privileges at the University of Chicago Library, you may place an interlibrary loan request to borrow dissertations that are not available through the Library.If you are not affiliated with the University of Chicago, check with your local library to determine what databases and borrowing options are available to you. “My legal -- and moral -- concerns about this practice stem from the issues it raises with privacy and intellectual property rights, as well as contract law,” he said.Aside from privacy concerns, Schlesinger believes that as the author of his dissertation, he should have the right to decide how his work is published and distributed.Pro Quest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT) is an online database that indexes, abstracts, and provides full-text access to dissertations and theses.The database includes over 2.4 million records and covers 1637 to the present.A lawyer who worked in higher education administration for more than 25 years, he decided to take time off from his day job two years ago to pursue a doctorate degree in education at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N. Schlesinger was even more surprised by the reaction he received from faculty members, administrators and fellow students when he voiced his objection to this policy. He said his experience at the college has been mostly positive, but it recently took an unexpected turn.Harris expects that most universities would be willing to accommodate serious concerns about publishing students' work online because it is the right thing to do, and because of the liability risk institutions face if harm results from a publication.“If the university insists on publication in exceptional circumstances where publication is objectively inappropriate, then I believe courts should deal with that situation under traditional contract doctrines,” he said.