WorldCat & IMPs

In the “old days” once a thesis was submitted to the library it was bound and placed in the stacks. Most were able to circulate, i.e., loaned out for two weeks at a time to students and faculty. Occasionally, other academic institutions would request a thesis through inter-library loan. Hmm… you are probably wondering how they found out about a particular thesis. The answer is simple; either through:

  1. Bank Street Library’s online catalog (which can be accessed by anyone in the world with an internet connection). OR
  2. WorldCat, a union catalog that itemizes the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries (which can also be accessed by anyone in the world with an internet connection).

We have thesis records dating back to 1953 and to prove it, below is an example from our online catalog. It’s pretty basic: title, author, and call number T 1953 B193b.
The WorldCat record is also very bare bones. There’s a link to request the item through inter-library loan – Request item.
Up until mid-2012 things continued in the same way. Theses were submitted to the Library in print (a back-up copy in the locked area, and a circulating copy in the stacks). Below is a Bank Street Library online record for T 2012 B458m.
Here is the same item in WorldCat. The record looks fuller but you still have to locate the physical item to read it (or request it through inter-library loan).
Since mid-2012 records now include a link to the digital version of the thesis. The thesis is no longer a physical item but is a digital object (PDF) residing on a server. You can download the thesis to your preferred device, and read it anywhere in the world for free. All you have to do is “Click here to access online.”
Below is the same record in WorldCat. The link to read the full text item is below the record in a box called “Find a copy online.”
Once you click the link under “Links to this you are in! And, just to prove we really do have IMPs in print, below is a photo of T 1953 B193b and T 2012 B458m.


Reference librarian at Bank Street College Library.

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