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Comment Why getting copies is difficult (Score 1) 211

The OP mentioned that getting copies of dissertations is difficult. Let me provide some more background on the problem.

First, the copyright is not the issue so much as the language concerning copying and distribution of the dissertation.University libraries almost always have copies of dissertations (theses are different), but the lack of clear language or law regarding copies makes them extremely reluctant to copy them.

Even if they will make arrangements for duplication there are often other hurdles. Most universities use ProQuest (UMI) who microfilms and sells copies for ~$50. Unfortunately, these are extremely low quality black and white reproductions that are often unsuitable for research. Often I end up having to order a copy from ProQuest, then go back to the university and ask them to make better copies of all the images and plates.

Universities that do not use ProQuest have a large range of policies. Some will simply not make copies (Stanford). Others will make copies only after getting permission in writing from the author (University of Michigan). Still others will make copies, but only at a high cost (~$1100 in one case from a certain public university in Colorado).

Finally, there are some cases where the university will neither copy or lend a dissertation, so your only option is to travel there to read it.

Feel free to reply if you have any questions about the process as I have learned far more about it than I ever wanted to.

Comment Anything is an improvement (Score 1) 86

Five years ago I had the opportunity to experience the military hospital system when I broke several bones. The entirety of the treatment program (about a dozen doctor visits plus about thirty physical therapy visits) resulted in only a dozen pages of scribbles (~10 words to each page) from the doctor visits plus the intake paperwork (~4 pages). There were no records of the physical therapy sessions (PS: The VA has refused to cover the injury citing a lack of documentation!)

Compare this to the civilian care I received a few months later for the same injury which had complete descriptions and detailed records of every visit.

So unless there have been radical changes in staff and their practices, all you will end up with is junk in electronic form instead of on paper.


Submission + - Science and Journalism (

GG sato writes: ""There has to be a way for news items to link to some kind of collection of background information — an 'explainer'. Such an explainer would be a collection of verifiable facts about the topic. A collection of verifiable facts about the way the world works is....scientific information!"

I am a big fan of Slashdot, but often wonder if other people can understand various deep topics discussed here. Especially about science. I need to go here and there, looking for underlying basic information. I can understand some, but not others. And such problems is happening more in our daily life, as in a hospital, in a news about nuclear disaster, in debatable global issues like climate change and food crisis. Any ideas to leverage geek's methods finding decent expertise efficiently for ordinary people like me?"

Comment Re:But is anyone reading their output? (Score 1) 302

A major part of my job is tracking down research that has been done on various topics and passing it along to a user. Every time I do a search for one of my users I use about 30 different databases (ScienceDirect, Worldcat, Google Scholar, etc.). What can I use for Chinese journals? Yes, there are a few databases (whose names I can't recall off the top of my head), but they are extremely limited. I don't have the sorting and filtering abilities I do with other databases. Oftentimes the title and abstract are translated to English but the abstract is no more than three sentences. For comparison, most of the journals in my field from say Germany are also fully translated (often side-by-side) into English.

In short, if I can't find it I can't pass it along to my users for their evaluation. For those that do make it to my users, most will be dismissed as useless.


Submission + - CompUSA to Close All Stores 1

An anonymous reader writes: Mexican telephone and retail magnate Carlos Slim, in a rare defeat, will exit the U.S. consumer electronics market, shutting the last 100 CompUSA Inc. stores after sinking about $2 billion into the business. Gordon Brothers Group, a Boston-based retail store liquidator, will oversee a piecemeal sale of the Dallas-based business, the company said in a statement. Financial terms were not disclosed. Stores will remain open through year-end under the supervision of Gordon Brothers, which will also negotiate the sale of real estate and other assets. Two law firms were hired to represent creditors, CompUSA said.

Submission + - Acer: Vista disappointed 'entire industry'

Knuckles writes: "Financial Times Germany quotes (German) Acer president Gianfranco Lanci as saying, 'the entire industry is disappointed by Windows Vista.' Here is an English report about the FTD article by Lanci said that despite the year-long wait that Microsoft imposed on the industry, Vista was not ready on launch. Lanci: 'Stability is certainly a problem.'"

Submission + - Ethics of proxy servers

Mav writes: "I was recently asked to host a website for free in return for a lot of advertising. After querying them about how they knew the site would produce traffic they stated the site was going to be running PHPProxy (an open source web proxy). The traffic was a result of him and his contacts (nearly one thousand of them) using the site to bypass his school's firewall in order to view their MySpace pages and get access to their MSN messengers. Given all the attention social networking sites have recently received and the various laws attempting to block or control access to them I feel guilty and unsure making this available. Are there legal implications that I need to worry about? Could I be held liable if one of the students got in trouble? Most importantly, what's the moral thing to do?"

Submission + - Terror and Stock Market

sas-dot writes: Terrorist attacks on vital institutions and installations often send stock indexes tumbling in the past. But the scenario is changing fast. Jihadi groups are now floating fictitious companies to manipulate stock markets to generate funds for their operations. India's National Security Advisor (NSA), M K Narayanan warned of similar developments in India citing isolated reports of companies that had come in from the Mumbai and Chennai stock exchanges , some of which were traced to terrorist outfits. IT companies / BPO's could be target and is not far fetching, considering what happen recently a BPO was supporting call services to drug laundering.
The Internet

Submission + - Baidu is the Google of China and booming

thefickler writes: Most news services concentrate, when it comes to search engines, on Google. But in China, soon to be the largest Internet market in the world, Google does not really rate. The company to watch is Baidu which is booming.

Chinese Web search leader Baidu says its fourth-quarter net profits quintupled, but cautioned that revenue growth was likely to decelerate sharply in the first quarter of 2007. To look at a statement like that you can easily pass over that word 'quintupled'. As in it became five times bigger. Not even Google in its best quarter came near that.
User Journal

Journal Journal: /. Editors rejecting my stories

I recently submitted a story about Ford using a micro$oft OS in a car and it was rejected...only to find slashdot posting it as coming from cmdrtaco. I don't get this...
Story as seen on /.'s homepage

Submission + - No electric bill in a year!

budgenator writes: Researchers at UNLV's Center for Energy Research Have a low/zero energy house built in the Los Vegas Area that not only doesn't have a bill for electricity used for the year, it has four months worth of credit!
Right now, Nevada Power technically owes UNLV for power it generated for the year, but while the utility acknowledges the credit, Boehm said there will be no refund check in the mail. "But they will bring it (the power bill) down to zero, except for the $6 a month access fee" for using the utility's grid
The house is a test bed for energy conservation and is highly monitored and compared to a near identical but conventional house. Researchers hope to identify the most cost-effective techniques and be able to build low/zero energy home for only 10% more than convention structures. The experiment has finished phase one with limited occupancy and is planned to be treated more like a real home in phase 2. The home used 58% less energy than the baseline home which had $200.00 a month electric bills.

Submission + - Military Tech for Daily Life

PreacherTom writes: It is nothing new to see technology from military and governmental endeavors change daily life profoundly. One only has to look at the fruits of the space program (from computers to microwave ovens to Tang). New military gear is on the horizon that promises to do the same, including biosensors, bandages that clot blood using soundwaves, and the ubiquitous Swiss Army Pen.

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