Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


These questions relate to use of the system. Please see the EThOS Toolkit for further information and FAQs on wider topics. There is a link to the toolkit on the Home page.



Electronic Delivery and Immediate Download questions

Do I need special software for electronic delivery or immediate downloads?
No, you can just download files direct to your desktop. However, you will need whatever software is required to view the thesis. In the majority of cases this will be Adobe Acrobat, which is used to view pdfs (the format into which we will digitise theses). However, as time goes by more and more theses will be supplied in their original form and we do not have control over these formats, though we expect most theses to use common software.

You may also need some unzipping software (Winzip, etc) as theses are sent to you in a zip file. Recent versions of Windows should allow you to open these but if you have an older version you may need specific software.

Please also note the issue with Internet Explorer 6 and the opening of zipped files later in these FAQs.

Please do note the terms and conditions of supply which specify how you may use the downloaded thesis.

How do I receive my electronic thesis?
If you have asked for an immediate download, you will find a link to your document in your list of Confirmed Orders, which you find by clicking on Orders anywhere in EThOS after logging in. Follow this link and your document will download to your computer

Your thesis will be delivered to you in a zip file. This method is used as it reduces the size of the package and, when a thesis consists of more than 1 file, the whole set is bundled into one package.

How long will it take for my thesis to download?

Theses can be large documents. They typically have around 350 pages and, on average, they are around 20Mb to 30Mb when scanned depending on the number of colour pages. Those produced electronically can be larger if they hold sound or visual files. You should consider file size before downloading the thesis. Unfortunately, we cannot tell you how big the file is before download.

Can I print or make further copies of my electronic thesis?
You may print the thesis but please read the terms and conditions of supply to understand how you may use the thesis.

How long can I keep my electronic document?
There is no limit on how long you may store the thesis.

There was a problem during my download or printout, what should I do?
If, for any reason, you cannot download or print out your document, contact the EThOS Helpdesk for advice.

Email: ethos-help@bl.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1937 546060

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EThOS Database

How big is the EThOS database and how do you decide what goes into it?
The database contains 300,000+ records. It allows download of an increasing number of electronic and digitised theses direct to the desktop. The final versions of doctoral theses from UK Higher Education Institutions are eligible for inclusion.

Primarily, theses from participating institutions are loaded to the system. The system may include records for theses from a non-participating institution (and occasionally a thesis from a non-participating institution may be included), but we cannot claim full coverage of non-participating institutions.

How far back does the database go and how often is it updated?
The database covers ALL UK theses so, in theory, could go back to the 1600s! The database is updated at least weekly with new records from UK Higher Education Institutions and theses harvested from UK HEI Repositories. Theses are also digitised when ordered by users and these are loaded on a daily basis.

Why do you not have abstracts available for every thesis?
Where available, we have loaded abstracts but at present we hold these only for a minority of theses.

Why can I download some theses immediately and not others?
You may download theses which have been supplied to us in digital form or which have been digitised in response to an earlier order. Once digitised, a thesis is available for immediate download to all users. The number of theses available for immediate download is increasing steadily.

You can order a thesis from any participating institution for digitisation and subsequent download. The system will let you know at the time of ordering whether you can order the thesis or whether you will need to approach the institution directly.

We can only harvest and digitise theses from participating institutions. A list of participating institutions is available on the Home page.

I've searched EThOS and can't find the thesis I want. What do I do?
Check your sources and ensure that you haven't mis-keyed search terms.

Check that the institution participates in EThOS by clicking the link here. Note: if you are looking for your own thesis and your institution does not take part in EThOS, please contact their Library to get information on why not.

If there is no error and the institution takes part, it is possible that the thesis record is not on the system. Click on the link here. And fill in the details of the thesis and a member of the EThOS Admin team will get in touch with you to inform you whether you can order the thesis.

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The Registration and Login process

Do I have to register to use EThOS?
No. You can search the EThOS database without having to register. You do, however, need to register and log in if you want to download a thesis from EThOS or to order digitisation of a thesis. In some cases, you may find an additional link to the thesis on an institution's Institutional Repository from which you can download the thesis without going via EThOS. EThOS aims to provide access to e-theses via all available routes.

What do I do if I forget my password?
If you forget your password, please email the EThOS Helpdesk and tell us the email address you registered with. We will then send a message to the registered email address with a reminder of the password.

How big is the EThOS database and how do you decide what goes into it?
The database contains 300,000+ records. It allows download of an increasing number of electronic and digitised theses direct to the desktop. The final versions of doctoral theses from UK Higher Education Institutions are eligible for inclusion.

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What to do if there are delivery or processing problems

General Helpdesk contact details
Please contact the EThOS Helpdesk if you have problems with your order or delivery.

ethos-help@bl.uk

What do I do if I receive the wrong item or an incomplete copy?
Please contact the EThOS Helpdesk if you have problems with your order or delivery.

ethos-help@bl.uk

Can I cancel orders sent through EThOS?
No. Once you have been through Checkout and confirmed your order, you cannot cancel your request, so be sure to check your list thoroughly before going to the Checkout.

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How secure is the payment process?

Are my credit card details safe?
Yes. All credit card authorisation is carried out by NetBanx, a leading secure on-line payment solution for credit, debit and charge cards, so you can have complete confidence in the security of the transaction. The British Library does not receive your credit card details when you order through EThOS.

What do I do if I have a question about my bill?
Please contact the EThOS Helpdesk if you have problems with charges or payment.

ethos-help@bl.uk

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What is the British Library's privacy policy?

You can read the British Library's privacy policy here.

If you tick the box at the top of the Additional Information section of the registration form, the British Library may use your registration details to assess what British Library products and services may be of interest to you and to personalise our service and marketing. We will never pass your registration details to any third parties.

You have the right to ask us at any time not to contact you by way of direct marketing.

marketing@bl.uk

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Why am I sometimes asked to pay for digitisation of a thesis?

Digitisation of a thesis is a costly process involving significant manual effort. The majority of institutions participating in EThOS have agreed to pay for digitisation of their theses in support of the Open Access initiative i.e. information should be free at the point of use. However, some institutions may not have the budget to fund the digitisation. You will be asked to fund digitisation of theses from these institutions. Once a thesis is digitised it is available for free download thereafter.

 

EThOS is operated by The British Library on a not-for-profit basis and charges are set to cover costs only.

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Why do I have to pay for Added Value Services?

Added Value Services include printing and binding and supply of a thesis on CD or DVD. These services supply the thesis in alternative formats requested by the user and save the user time, effort and cost. It is therefore felt reasonable that the user covers the cost of production. The thesis can be downloaded with no Added Value charge.

 

EThOS is operated by The British Library on a not-for-profit basis and charges are set to cover costs only

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I have a password for another British Library service, can I use it for EThOS?

No, you need to register specifically for EThOS to order theses.

Customers with billing or deposit accounts with the British Library Document Supply service, for example, are free to use EThOS to search the database for relevant theses. However, you cannot use these accounts to pay for orders placed through EThOS. The only way to pay for digitisation of a thesis (where needed) or for Added Value Services is with a Credit Card.

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I am a librarian and I wish to pay for digitisation of a thesis for one of my users. How do I do it?

The majority of institutions participating in EThOS will cover the cost of digitisation of their own theses, so the occasions where you will have to pay for digitisation will be rare. If, however, you come across this situation, follow this process:

 

1)     Log on to the system.

2)     Order the thesis under your own login.

3)     You will be informed some days later when the thesis is available for download from the system. Unless you want a copy for your own purposes, DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE THESIS!

4)     Inform your user that the thesis is available on EThOS. The email you receive will include useful information to help your user identify the thesis on the system.

5)     The user can log on to the system and download the thesis for him/herself.

 

By following this procedure, you pay for digitisation of the thesis and your user agrees to the terms and conditions of supply of the thesis, so all legal requirements are met.

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I am a librarian, can I make a thesis supplied by EThOS available from my library?

No, you may not.

 

In order to ensure that author rights are protected, all users downloading theses from EThOS must agree to the terms and conditions displayed. These specify only non-commercial, personal use. If you download a thesis and supply it to someone else, you break the terms and conditions of supply you agreed to on ordering the thesis.

 

EThOS is available from any desktop, is very easy to use and gives full information at each stage, so please show your users the system and instruct them how to get the thesis they need. There is no limit on the number of individual readers who can use the online copy.

 

The terms of supply also apply to printed copies. If, in spite of easy online availability, you particularly want to add a printed copy to your library stock, you would need to seek the permission of the copyright holder (usually the author) to hold and lend a copy.

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