Access to dissertation databases

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Access to dissertation databases

Messagepar eudaimonia » 07 Novembre 2012, 13:41

I’m an American PhD candidate preparing to travel through Switzerland in order to research The History of a Six Weeks’ Tour (by Percy Shelley), and to examine the influence of Switzerland on Mary Shelley’s development of Frankenstein.

I am hoping to find help reviewing existent dissertations on related materials (anything regarding Lord Byron and the Shelley’s time here) - as I am not fluent in French, searching through files of research conducted in French will be particularly difficult.

I am also interested in discussing how the climate of the Lake Geneva area has influenced and shaped the literature generated here.

So, concretely: are there dissertation databases for the universities in this area? Are they searchable by the public or do they require approved access? and any suggestions on methods to locate a research assistant who can help me with translation during the search?

Many thanks!
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Inscrit le : 07 Novembre 2012, 12:27

Re: Access to dissertation databases

Messagepar Aléa » 09 Novembre 2012, 21:16

Hi eudaimonia,

I can only answer you for the bibliographical part of your query.

ReRo (short for “Réseau Romand”) is the collective catalog of the +- 220 libraires linked to the different universities of the French part of Switzerland (which is named “Romandie”).

It offers some 5.5 million individual notices to localize physical documents. You can access it at the following URL:

There is an “inter library” loan system, which allows one to order volumes (unless rare / precious) form one library and have it delivered to another, but you’d need to be registered a library to be able to use the facility. So make sure to have an official letter from your Departement, which should facitilitate registration.

If you have ample time, and sufficient funds, and want to discover the region you can also travel as all is located in a radius of less than 150km.

Also interesting for you, at least potentially, is the online library which offer thesis and articles in their integrality. It is open to the wide public without registration. I think there is around 30 thousands entries, so not that much…but who knows. url =

There is still some presence of Byron in the “oral traditions” in Geneva, so I imagine there must be more original works developed at the University of Geneva than in the other ones (Fribourg, Lausanne, Neuchâtel), but it is only a speculative guess.

As far as the climate, as you shall witness if you are coming this winter, I can easily imagine it inspiring gothic narratives. Btw, there is actually still a Belvédère linked to Lord Byron on the left bank of the lake associated with romantism... it is a place where people sometimes take their dates to (or at least if was the case when I was living in Geneva).

I can’t help you in locating resource persons, but University websites might allow you a first skimming (Enlish litt. Dept, history dept. etc.)

Wishing you an excellent stay and best of luck for your research.
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Re: Access to dissertation databases

Messagepar elgé13 » 12 Novembre 2012, 11:04


You can probably consult the list of theses available in Sociology (
Maybe you can find similar lists in other fields although in this point, I am not aware of them.
Visit the CUSO website. And call on Verity Elston who speaks English very well and might be a resource for you.

Good luck.
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Re: Access to dissertation databases

Messagepar eudaimonia » 15 Novembre 2012, 20:10


Thank you for such a resource-rich response. ReRo looks promising for interlibrary loan, as they appear to have a large selection of texts in English.

Though the online library does not include theses on my area of interest, I had a nice time browsing as it offered me some insight into some of the research trends in the area.

I have a feeling this research is going to be best conducted the 'old fashioned' way. Some good walking shoes, a rail pass, and a very humble attempt to try, "Je suis tellement désolé. Mon français est très mauvais. Pouvez-vous m'aider?" on as many patient locals as possible.

As for 'oral traditions' - do you think it makes sense for me to hire a translator while visiting sites of interest? In any case, I'll get in touch with the literature department at the University of Geneva - I'm sure, if they have the time, they could be of great help.

Yes, the weather certainly creates an atmosphere. Perhaps it would make sense for me to seek out artist and writer collectives in Romandie (thanks for that!) to confer on contemporary impact of climate on creative process.

Oh, and i'll be sure to visit the Belvédère as soon as possible!

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Re: Access to dissertation databases

Messagepar eudaimonia » 15 Novembre 2012, 23:46


Thank you so much for this link to sociology theses. It feels almost like internet match making for discussion dates. Perfect, really - though I suspect reading through some of these abstracts will begin to derail me from my own research interests into the projects of others. I suppose it's the professional hazard of interdisciplinarity.

I noticed on the CUSO website that they have a (still yet to be filled with content) section on upcoming thesis defenses. Are these generally open to the public? Are they scheduled throughout the year or with concentration during a particular season? Am I able to sit in - and if so, with notice and permission, or unannounced?

Many thanks!
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Inscrit le : 07 Novembre 2012, 12:27

Re: Access to dissertation databases

Messagepar verity_cuso » 08 Mars 2013, 11:40

Hello eudaimonia

Reading through the Forum I came across your request as well as reference to CUSO (and me!). This may be a little late in response, but in case it's still of use, and with respect to your question on dissertation defenses.

CUSO is the university conference for the western Swiss universities (the French-speaking ones). As such, the CUSO Sociology programme regroups doctoral candidates from those universities - but does not confer the doctoral degree in itself (its purpose is rather to provide a network and activities of interest to everyone). In short, if there is a defense you would like to attend, you should find out the situation in that person's particular university (see the membership list).

Let me know if you need any further help.

Best regards
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Inscrit le : 08 Mars 2013, 09:49

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