3.1070 Notes and Queries: reading, PhD theses (194)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Fri, 16 Feb 90 22:50:51 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1070. Friday, 16 Feb 1990.

(1) Date: Fri, 16 Feb 90 13:58:48 EST (30 lines)
From: MTRILEY@CALSTATE (Mark Timothy Riley)
Subject: RE: 3.1052 Notes and Queries (88)

(2) Date: Friday, 16 February 1990 1126-EST (48 lines)
Subject: Dissertations

(3) Date: Fri, 16 Feb 90 14:27:30 EST (25 lines)
From: cbf@faulhaber.Berkeley.EDU (Charles Faulhaber)
Subject: Re: 3.1059 queries (108)

(4) Date: Fri, 16 Feb 90 15:18:24 EST (31 lines)
From: David Stampe <stampe@uhccux.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
Subject: Ph.D. theses; conference proceedings. How important? (108)

(5) Date: 16 Feb 90 17:02:16 EST (Fri) (26 lines)
From: Gunhild Viden <viden@hum.gu.se>
Subject: Re. Ph.D.-theses

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 90 13:58:48 EST
From: MTRILEY@CALSTATE (Mark Timothy Riley)
Subject: RE: 3.1052 Notes and Queries (88)

James O'Donnell <JODONNEL@PENNSAS> asks a good question (about
reading aloud). I can comment on one aspect, and I have a request.
I have always read my kids to sleep, and my youngest at age 9 is
still addicted to the habit--I hasten to say I haven't tried to stop it,
since I enjoy the reading too. Right now we are working thru'
Sherlock Holmes, at about 1/3 a story per night. (I made the
mistake of beginning with the Speckled Band; I had to read the
whole thing and the kid wouldn't go to sleep until 2 AM thinking
of the snake coming thru' the vent.)
I have found that books vary greatly in their suitability for
reading aloud. The Hobbit is great, but the Lord of the Rings is
terrible (too slow and discursive; Tolkien was being self-indulgent).
Beatrix Potter is good for younger kids; the many imitations (Racey
Helps is one writer) are bad. The Little House series by Laura
Wilder is OK, but generally the books written for children to read
themselves (Bobbsey Twins, Hardy Boys) are intolerably wordy for
reading aloud. (This is not a criticism of these series for their
intended purpose.) I wonder what the crucial differences are? Has
anyone looked into the "orality" in the everyday sense of novels
and short stories?
On a more practical note, I'd like some suggestions of books I can
read after we finish Sherlock. I have thought of Treasure Island.
Any suggestions of more recent books?
Mark "Hoarse" Riley
Sacramento, California MTRiley@CalState

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------51----
Date: Friday, 16 February 1990 1126-EST
Subject: Dissertations

I think that there may be somewhat different attitudes to
dissertations in different subdividions of the humanities.
In Religious Studies, we have an organization called the
Council for Graduate Studies in Religion that represents
most of the PhD granting programs and attempts to coordinate
information about dissertations in progress and completed.
Virtually all dissertations represented by the CGSR schools
are deposited with the University Microfilms in Michigan
and are thus "published" in that way. Frequently they are
listed and used by other researchers. Furthermore, both
the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American
Academy of Religion (AAR) have "Dissertation Series" that
are published through Scholarls Press. One of the aims of
the SBL Dissertation Series is to NOT require revision, but
to publish the dissertations in basically the same form as
they were accepted (maybe some adjustment with regard to
appendices, etc.). The point was to rescue new PhDs from
the task of (mostly minor) revision for publication, with
attendant delays, and to encourage the graduate programs
to exercise better quality control in accepting dissertations.
To a significant extent, this strategy has worked, and thus
many dissertations from SBL type people (perhaps the same is
true of AAR, regarding which I have less awareness) are indeed
soon published in the original form. For significantly revised
studies, there is an SBL Monograph Series as well. In sum,
I suspect that dissertations in biblical studies, and perhaps
in religious studies in general, are more widely listed and
used than your original inquiry would suggest.

Similarly with our conference related materials, the SBL and
AAR produce two separate publications for each annual meeting,
(1) a book of abstracts for presentations to be made at the
meeting and (2) a book or books of "seminar papers" that are
circulated prior to the meeting so that program segments
called "seminars" (and similar discussion based groups) can
assume that the members have read the papers and can launch
into discussion after minor review of the work. While the
Abstracts seem to be fairly ephemeral, relative to scholarly
use (listing, citing), the Seminar Papers are often quoted
or listed as publications. Sometimes, of course, a paper
that has appeared in the Seminar Papers will be redone and
published elsewhere as well. But many are not.

Bob Kraft (U. Penn.)
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------36----
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 90 14:27:30 EST
From: cbf@faulhaber.Berkeley.EDU (Charles Faulhaber)
Subject: Re: 3.1059 queries (108)

For Hispanic studies in North America I'm not sure
that I would agree with Willard. Certainly in linguistics
significant work is published in dissertations and is
cited constantly. In literature this is less true.
Nevertheless, if I were working in subject X, I would
in fact try to get hold of dissertations dealing with
it. Whether I would cite them in the bibliography depends
on whether I cite them in the study itself.

Conference proceedings are very uneven and generally not
worth citing. They're a good indication of what sorts of
topics people are working on, however.

In Spain, the situation for conference proceedings is
probably the same. Spanish dissertations are universally
ignored because they are impossible to obtain. There is
no clearing house, and they are rarely microfilmed.
Even Spanish scholars rarely cite dissertations done
at other institutions.

Charles Faulhaber
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------40----
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 90 15:18:24 EST
From: David Stampe <stampe@uhccux.uhcc.Hawaii.Edu>
Subject: Ph.D. theses; conference proceedings. How important? (108)

Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca> asks whether Ph.D. theses
and conference proceedings are "important" and "respectable" enough to
cite in bibliographies. Well, as they say, you can't judge a book by
its cover. You have to read it.

A thesis IS a published work. That's why classified research can't be
accepted as a thesis. Whether, beyond its being accepted as a thesis,
a work is also accepted by a "publisher" for printing or even reprinting
says only that it was expected to be profitable.

As for conference proceedings that merely xerox the authors' papers,
this speeds distribution, and it avoids the errors that editors and
typesetters invariably introduce even in proofs. As it becomes easier
to exchange papers in electronic form, authors will prefer conferences
and journals that don't meddle with content, and perhaps even with form.
And readers will prefer not to have editors and committees deciding for
them which papers are worth reading. If works become available in
electronic form, without restrictive copyrights, readers can decide for
themselves what they need, and in what form (selections, compilations,
translations, hypertext, big type, braille, synthetic speech, whatever).

There is nowadays no good reason for authors to let "publishers" limit
the dissemination of their work, or for readers to let others - editors,
bibliographers, or committees, censors, or the marketplace - limit what
they should read.

David Stampe <stampe@uhccux.uhcc.hawaii.edu>
(5) --------------------------------------------------------------37----
Date: 16 Feb 90 17:02:16 EST (Fri)
From: Gunhild Viden <viden@hum.gu.se>
Subject: Re. Ph.D.-theses

Swedish doctoral theses used to be A Great Achievement in the
so-called Good Old Days, with the result that people spent 20 years
and more working on that master-piece. Some 15-20 years ago the
authorities decided to change that: the thesis should not take more
than 2-3 years and be part of the education, not the masterpiece of a
lifetime. In the humanities my feeling is that we ended up somewhere
halfway between: 5-6 years seem to be minimum for the writing of a
thesis, 10-12 years, alas, not unusual (well, it has got something to
do with students having to work for their bread, too), and the result
is perhaps not as heavy-weight as in the Old Days, but not quite
light-weight either. Most theses are published before the disputation;
when they are not the author usually takes a year or so to work it
over before publishing. Yes, Swedish theses are definitely included in
bibliographies and reviewed in periodicals. The difference in quality
compared to the older theses comes out in the fact that earlier you
could obtain a higher academic title (docent) if your thesis was
really good; nowadays you have to have written something besides the
thesis (even if it is a good one) to get that title.

Gunhild Viden
University of Gothenburg, Sweden