Monday, November 19, 2018

5 Positive Possibilities of using ProQuest Dissertation database

If you've been following along on my blog, you've noticed I've had a lot to say about the ProQuest Dissertation databases. I've been using the blog to record some of my observations. I've noted pain points or drawbacks, but by and large I've been moved, almost overwhelmed by the positive possibilities. Here are my top 5 for now.

1. The size of the database -- Listen: "abstracts and indexing for approximately 4 million dissertations and theses, with full text (PDFs) for more than 2 million of those works." What else is there to say? It's really been something looking back over dissertations on African American literature produced during the 1940s, the 1960s and up through 2018. I've been studying African American literature for two decades now, and using this database has put me in touch with the thinking and writing of scholars in the field in new, powerful ways.

2. Discoveries on African American literary studies -- This point is related to #1, but the size of the database has made it possibilities for me to make all kinds of discoveries on the development of African American literary studies and chart the mentions and focus on large numbers of writers and historical figures.

3. The search options -- Having the abilities to search "anywhere," by title, by author, by advisor, by institution, and so forth as well as the chance to designate years and manuscript type are somewhat standard for databases, but it means so much when looking through such an expansive collection of dissertations.

4. Export capabilities -- The functions available for managing and exporting recent searches has been invaluable as I've worked to look for more than 100 writers on a single project.

5. The citation options -- It almost goes without saying how much time is saved by the option of simply clicking "cite" to have the citations produced in the format of your choosing.

A Notebook on ProQuest Dissertations and Theses

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