Monday, March 2, 2009

Media theses feature in new Pacific national index

By Josephine Latu: Pacific Media Watch

Academic research on Pacific media such as Robert Loto’s work on Pacific Islanders and health in print publications and an analysis of the Fiji 2000 coup by Christine Gounder can now be easily located by students - thanks to a groundbreaking initiative co-ordinated by AUT University’s Office of Pasifika Advancement.

The project was funded by the Building Research Capability in the Social Sciences (BRCSS) Network.

The Bibliographic Index of Pacific Theses in New Zealand Universities – a publication listing references to all master’s and doctoral theses about the Pacific ever submitted to a New Zealand academy since 1900 – was launched today.

The three volume publication includes more than 1200 titles and abstracts, spanning a range of disciplines, collected from nine universities - including the pioneering University of New Zealand.

At a live video conference that included Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Georgina te Heuheu and members from the Tertiary Education Commission and the Labour Department , AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack officially launched the index saying he was impressed by the “quality, breadth, depth, and scope” of the work catalogued.

“It is a statement by Aotearoa-New Zealand as a Pacific Island nation that we have an interest and responsibility to Pacific development,” he said.

AUT’s Pollyanna Rasmussen-Pa’ese, who spearheaded the project from July till October last year, said the index was an important and convenient tool for Pasifika researchers.

“It makes it easier to find what they need in one place – you can browse through one resource instead of having to search in many different places,” she said.

Available in hard copy or on CD-ROM, the items listed in the index show only bibliographical information and some abstracts. The actual theses can be accessed online, through an interlibrary loan, or by visiting the library that holds the thesis.

However, because of copyright laws surrounding intellectual property, this resource is only currently available to participating universities in New Zealand and BRCSS members.

While some participants raised their concerns about this “exclusivity”, AUT Library’s Philip Combs expressed his expectations that as free access develops the index would eventually be available more freely online.

Judy McFall-McCaffery, of the University of Auckland Library, was also optimistic about the “next stage” of the project, featuring a more web-based approach, and including honours-level dissertations or papers.

Pictured: AUT's Pollyanna Rasmussen-Pa'ese (left) and Professor of Public Policy Marilyn Waring at the launch. Photo: Tessa Prebble.

Copies of the Bibliographic Index of Pacific Theses in New Zealand Universities can be requested by email from kate.scott@aut.ac.nz

The BRCSS network
Office of Pasifika Advancement

1 comment:

avaiki nius agency said...

Fantastic news.

It's seemed a shame to me for a while now that all that hard work has been hidden away.

Hopefully, the collection will indeed become more accessible to casual researchers like myself.