Answered By: Harry L. Whitlock II
Last Updated: Jun 30, 2017     Views: 50

Sometimes a graduate student will "embargo" their thesis or dissertation, meaning that it is unavailable to view. The decision to embargo their work is usually made to protect the student's research and intellectual property. Sometimes the length of the embargo is only a few months but it can be permanent. The author's rights under copyright law are well established and the library does not have the ability to obtain a copy of these embargoed works.

If access to the thesis or dissertation is required, the best approach is to research the current location of that person and contact him or her. A Google search is a good place to start. Look for a listing for that person at universities or research agencies, then contact that person. Searching the academic databases is also a useful approach. Search by author name or field of research.

Contacting the department where the student did their graduate work is also a possibility. The student may still be in touch with faculty or staff, thereby providing a means of contacting the person.

The research help desk at the UW Libraries may be able to help with these type of searches. Contact the Help Desk in Coe Library or email at

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