Online from: 1945
Subject Area: Library and Information Studies
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|Title:||A state secret – dissertations in the German Democratic Republic|
|Author(s):||Lothar Mertens, (Fakultät für Sozialwissenschaft, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany)|
|Citation:||Lothar Mertens, (2005) "A state secret – dissertations in the German Democratic Republic", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 61 Iss: 3, pp.348 - 355|
|Keywords:||Bibliographies, Educational institutions, Germany, Libraries, Theses|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/00220410510598517 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – Since the early 1970s the Communist regime in the German Democratic Republic classified thousands of doctoral dissertations as confidential, thus blocking the dissemination of research in the various disciplines of science. More than 6,800 titles of dissertations have not been listed in the national bibliographies. This article seeks to give a first overview of the different fields of restricted research and the topics which have been treated as state secrets. The study also aims to show the involvement of universities and colleges in the classification and segregation of theses into special depots and non-public reading rooms.
Design/methodology/approach – The author of this article analysed which theses were classified by the Socialist Unity Party, the ruling Communist party in the GDR, and a full bibliography giving all the information of the titles and the names of the authors involved was published in 1994.
Findings – Despite the centralist directives from the Ministry for University and Technical College Education regarding the classification of dissertations, actual classification of doctoral theses has been handled very differently by the various institutions.
Originality/value – Dealing with this legacy, that is, returning the secret dissertations into the general stocks and listing them in the bibliographies and general catalogues, took several years. This article was able to highlight those events through its original source.
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