Electronic GSDM Theses
Search Strategies for Electronic GSDM Theses
This page is a reference tool for locating electronic GSDM theses and dissertation in OpenBU and the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Theses were submitted in print through 2015. From 2016 on, GSDM theses have been submitted electronically.
At this time, electronic theses are NOT reliably searchable within the BU Library catalog: they are listed there, but searches can only be limited to theses/dissertations in general, not specifically to GSDM theses. (Search for a title or keyword, then limit to “Dissertations” on the left hand side of the screen: this will filter results to all theses or dissertations in the catalog, from any BU school or department as well as other institutions.)
GSDM theses can be specifically located either in BU’s digital repository, OpenBU, or in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Following are instructions for locating electronic GSDM theses. To locate theses older than 2016, which are held in print, please view the Search Strategy for Print GSDM Theses page. (These print works are being digitized, and when digitized are available in OpenBU, but this project is still ongoing and not all historical theses and dissertations are available.)
Please follow the steps below to search electronic theses and dissertations (after 2015) by former GSDM students. If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Library by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (617) 358-4810. You can also stop by the Reference Desk between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.
Unfortunately, there is currently no single, simple way to locate all online GSDM theses and dissertations within the two locations where they are stored. Theses and dissertations should be available in both places, but if you are looking for a specific work and cannot find it in one database, try the other.
Searching in OpenBU
Step 1: Getting to OpenBU
Use this OpenBU link, or type open.bu.edu into your web browser.
Step 2: Locating GSDM theses and dissertations
Searching in OpenBU is currently not very sophisticated, and unless you are looking for a specific author or title, there are few advanced search options. The most effective (though imperfect) way to retrieve GSDM theses appears to be to scroll down the list of “Communities in OpenBU” that appears on the OpenBU home page to find “Theses & Dissertations”, then select the first line for “Boston University Theses & Dissertations.” On this page, a fairly effective search strategy is to enter this text into the search bar, with quotes: “school of dental medicine”
This will retrieve GSDM theses and dissertations, arranged in no clear order. Results can be sorted by clicking the gear above the top result. Click on a title to read the abstract, and scroll down to view or download the full text. Note that some works may be embargoed, and unavailable until a specified date.
Step 3: Searching for a GSDM thesis on a specific topic
OpenBU uses subject terms, but these are not consistent at this time and therefore not very useful for searching. You can focus your results on a specific topic by adding a subject term or phrase to the search bar at the end of your existing search. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR) to specify what you want to include. By default, OpenBU assumes you want results with any matching terms (i.e., combining terms with OR), so use AND to specify that you want results with all matching terms.
If searching for multiple variations (i.e. bone or joint) use brackets to define the parts of the search.
OpenBU searches full text of documents, and should retrieve any mentions of your keywords. Keep in mind that you may need to try various terms to ensure a thorough search. Feel free to consult the reference librarians for advice on searching!
Searching in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database
Step 1: Getting to the thesis database
Step 2: Locating GSDM theses
The database will open on the Advanced Search screen. Unfortunately, indexing in the ProQuest database is spotty, meaning that there is no perfect way to search for all GSDM theses. The simplest strategy is to enter the phrase “school of dental medicine” (in quotes) in the first search bar, leaving the dropdown menu as “Anywhere”, then scroll down to “look for universities/institutions.” Click to select Boston University or enter this text on the line:
Click ‘search’ to retrieve links to full text of past GSDM theses. The citations will be listed in chronological order, with more recently added documents first, but you can re-sort them to “oldest first” or by “relevance” (“relevance” is more useful with a keyword search: see Step 3 below). To find theses from specific years, click “Enter a specific date range” on the left side of the screen, or click one of the columns representing years.
Step 3: Searching for a thesis or dissertation on a specific topic
There are two main ways to locate works on a specific topic.
You can scroll down to “Subject” on the left hand column (under the “specific date” filter), to see subject terms assigned by the database to the theses and dissertations in your results set. Click on a term to see the works tagged with this subject.
You can also add keywords to the initial search and the database will retrieve works in which your term(s) appear anywhere in the text. This is the broadest way to search for a specific topic.
If you want a specific phrase, you should use quotes around it: for example, vitamins works fine, but “vitamin c” is a two-word phrase and should have quotes, or else you will retrieve all results with the word ‘vitamin’ and the letter ‘c’ in addition to results that actually use ‘vitamin c’ as a phrase.
Keep in mind that you may need to try multiple combinations of keywords to ensure a thorough search.