It is always nice when a new resource becomes available that scholars and graduate students can use when trying to conduct research for their dissertations or when needing feedback on their dissertations before publication. Dissertationreviews.org is one such resource. The aim of the site, “is to offer readers a glimpse of each discipline’s immediate present by focusing on the window of time between dissertation defense and first book publication.” In addition, the “Fresh from the Archives” section of the site gives viewers the opportunity to peruse a number of reviews of archives and institutes around the world. These reviews not only highlight what materials are contained in the archives, but also the protocols and paperwork needed to gain access to the collections. Since these reviews are written by graduate students and scholars who have conducted research at the archives they are reviewing, they offer further advice and tips that are meant to help those researching in unfamiliar destinations better acclimate to their surroundings and those they will be working with. The tips they offer such as “bring small gifts,” and don’t bother the staff during their lunch breaks may sound silly, but this kind of advice will most definitely help those wishing to conduct research in the future to have an enjoyable and productive experience.
The dissertation reviewers come from many backgrounds, but the many of the reviewer categories at present are geared towards eastern studies like Asian Archaeology, China, Chinese Literature, Japan, Korea, and Russia. They also have a number of categories centered around the Middle-East and Islamic studies. Unfortunately, at the moment, they do not have any reviewers who focus on the classical Mediterranean and medieval worlds, Byzantium, the Renaissance, and related fields. Because they do not focus on these areas of study, the site does not offer much insight into archives and institutions that contain related materials. Much of this can be attributed to the relative newness of the site. Dissertation Reviews is currently seeking reviewers so it should only be a matter of time before these fields are offered as reviewer categories. Even though the site does not cover all areas of study it still provides students and scholars in many fields with a valuable tool.