Retrieval und copyright


Why and How

Search for Phd-Thesis worldwide
Map of online Phd-Thesis in Europe

List of German University libraries
My Meta Maker for Thesis MMMfT:

Legal aspects

Urheberrecht and copyright
Graduation orders online

Results of Subgroup 'Retrieval and Copyright'


In Germany there are about 22,000 theses per year and about 1,500 in physics. The documentation by the libraries using paper is delayed and their worldwide retrieval cumbersome.
Theses contain prime research results and are thus extremely interesting to other groups working in the same field abroad.
Printed theses are very restricted in the use of multimedia (color, simulation, large amounts of raw data). They lack the ability to use multimedia, full text retrieval, and immediate online delivery.


'European Network for thesis in physics' URL is a collection of available online information and full texts if offered by the author of theses and comes with a search engine for all over Europe online retrieval. It contains entries of 17 countries. At present the covering is rather uneven for different countries see map. Now (January 2001) more than 2,200 theses are connected by 112 servers with 306 links. The Gathering across these servers takes about 2h and 40 minutes to collect the data. The gatherer runs every Sunday night.
In Germany you can find theses from 54 out of 65 physics departments in the list.
The accessed archives differ widely regarding the information offered online. Some offer - only a short entry per thesis like author, title, date - short entry with additional abstract - the online full-text but no metadata - the correct metadata set and the full-text


The distributed search engine Harvest, which we use, consists of 2 parts: Gatherers and Brokers. The Software is 'public domain', a free available, open source code and can be configured to different systems and platforms. An international community fits the software to the latest developments like RDF.
Dissertation Search-Net searches worldwide national libraries / projects / databases. It is devided by subject and linked through Europe: all departments, institutions, computer centers, and digital libraries.


According to German law theses have to be published. This can be done by either microfiche, printed copies given to the university and from there to the national library, or an article in a professional journal, or a book by a publisher. In addition, the online distribution is accepted as a publication channel. So the University libraries or the department can act in putting the full text on their web server.
The author owns the copyright, independent of who distributes it. Thus he can decide on the channel to be used.
A Discussion in DC.Rights concerning the Copyright of the source / document and its metadata is going on.
The aim is a copyright note for all datadases in the way of (un-)restricted access / use and then quote the national law if necessary.
For more information see
update 2001/03/03

© E.Hilf, K.Zimmermann