[Edlib] Overseas theses on Australian education - your opinions sought

Hughes, Stuart Hughes at acer.edu.au
Tue Oct 31 13:13:13 EST 2006

Dear EdLib Subscribers

ACER is considering revising the selection criteria for ERT to include
theses presented overseas that relate to Australian education. We are
interested in your comments and opinion on this matter.

In 2005 we conducted a survey on the Education Research Theses database.
One of the survey respondents commented that our Australian coverage was
very good, but queried the existence of a handful of very old
non-Australian theses in the database - one example being former ACER
director W C Radford's 1953 University of London PhD thesis, which ACER
holds a copy of.

These exceptions highlight the fact that ERT (and hence the Australian
Education Index) has never added details of overseas theses on
specifically Australian educational topics. This is largely for
historical reasons, due to the original scope and funding of the
"Bibliography of Education Theses in Australia" (BETA). Also, at the
time BETA started it would have been much harder and costly to identify
and access such documents for indexing (no library catalogues on the
web, no electronic theses, no Google).

We are considering revising this policy in order to include overseas
theses on Australian education. This would bring ERT into line with
existing selection criteria for inclusion into the Australian Education
Index (AEI). Although its first priority is to cover material published
in Australia, the AEI also indexes books, reports and journal articles
published overseas that relate to Australian education. To date,
overseas theses have been the only exception to this policy.

Hence, we would begin selectively noting overseas theses on specifically
Australian educational topics. Some recent examples:

- a PhD on "Everyday life in distance education: Case studies with three
families in Queensland, Australia" presented at the University of
Alberta in 2006.

- a PhD on "The nature and operation of the gender system in an
Australian outdoor education program for adolescents" from the
University of Minnesota in 2005.

- a PhD on "Older adulthood, education and social change (Australia, New
Zealand)", from the University of Auckland in 2006.

We imagine that the inclusion of such documents will only be an
enhancement to the AEI and ERT. Our aim would not to be exhaustive on
overseas theses on Australian education, which would be impossible
(we'll save attempts at being exhaustive for Australian theses), but to
be inclusive of such documents where we come across them, they are
easily located or they are brought to our attention.

Given that the overseas theses we come across are likely to be easily
accessible (electronic theses, available from ProQuest Digital
Dissertations, etc) they are likely to be just as accessible for your
users. We would add a new document type (Theses-overseas) and add
appropriate mechanisms to the ERT database so that users can browse, and
include or exclude such documents from their search results.

We are interested in hearing your thoughts. Please let us know if you
would like to see this enhancement ("Yes") or not ("No") by return email
or to ert at acer.edu.au before November 15th, and add any comments or
concerns you might have. If this is seen as a worthwhile enhancement we
would look to start including overseas theses in ERT from January 2007


Stuart and Sophie

Stuart Hughes
Cunningham Library
Australian Council for Educational Research
Private Bag 55
Camberwell VIC 3124

t: 03 9277 5546
f: 03 9277 5500
e: hughes at acer.edu.au

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