Skip to main content

Education Doctoral Students: Books and Dissertations

Finding full text copies of dissertations

Options for finding full text copies of specific non-SPU dissertations that is not available in Dissertation Abstracts:

This is a very common question. Most dissertations are not available through InterLibrary Loan because there is only one copy and institutions don’t want to lose the only copy they have. Listed below are several ways to try to get your hands on a copy of a dissertation.

1. Search Open Dissertations is an EBSCOHost database. (thanks to Kirsten Koetje, for pointing this resource out to me)

2. Go to the University of Washington. Access their ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database and see if there is a full text copy of the dissertation available. Suzzallo usually has a few open computers which allow one to search for items. Make sure you save the PDF of the dissertation to a flash drive. Do not email the record to yourself.
3. Identify the author of a dissertation and look for contact information for them using Google.  Send them an email letting them know your interest in their tome. I have done this many times and, typically, an author is more than willing to send you a soft copy.
4. You can purchase a soft copy for about $38. Here is the link to use for purchasing.
5. Every once in a while, searching in Google, using the title of the dissertation, will reveal a copy that is available.

Text Instruction on How to Find Books in Primo

Click on the Login (for full search results) link and use your Banner credentials.   

Seach box

Click on the ADVANCED SEARCH link. Type a few unique keywords from your list into the search boxes. For example, try Vygotsky and hit enter

Advanced search link


On the results page, use the drop down menu next to the SPU Library+Summit verbiage to look for items just in the SPU library.

  • Refine your results
  • On the right, under Refine my results, you can modify the search options.
  • Click on any title that has the green text Available at to find more information about the item. Make sure you write down the call number.
  • If an item is available online, there will be green verbiage (Online access) that indicates this. Click on the title to find the online link to the eBook.

‚ÄčTo request a book from a Summit school, indicated by orange verbiage that says, Check holdings below the title of the book, click on the hyperlinked title.


Click on the Place Summit request (about 5 days) link.

Click on the Request link.

You will receive an email from when you items arrives in the SPU library. You can pick the item up at the Front Desk.

VIDEO Finding Books Using Primo, the Library's Search Engine @ 6 minutes

Learning Outcomes: by the end of this screencast, you will know how to:

  • use Primo, the library's search engine, to find books
  • how to refine your results in Primo
  • request books from the Summit catalog, consortium of colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest

Online search tools for books