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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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Theses and dissertations can be found in SDSU's Love Library. Theses and dissertations can be found in SDSU's Love Library.

Top 10 Theses and Dissertations

The most-read theses and dissertations from SDSU students have been announced.
By Tobin Vaughn

The San Diego State University Love Library has unveiled its list of the university’s most-read theses and dissertations.  At number one is the work of an author who said he isn’t completely sure why his work came out on top.

SDSU’s Top 10 Theses and Dissertations list is posted on the library’s website as a means for the library to honor alumni for their contributions to scholarship and excellence at SDSU. Library and Information Access Dean Gale Etschmaier called the February release of the rankings the library’s equivalent of a "best sellers" list.

“This distinction points to the value of the work these students contributed as graduate students at SDSU,” she said. “Making the list is a considerable achievement and an inspiration to today’s graduate students.”

To come up with the list, library staffers analyzed records including electronic data from online visits and actual library checkouts of older materials to identify — over time and more recently — which theses and dissertations have been viewed the most. The SDSU Library houses more than 23,000 dissertations and theses, but only approximately 3,100 of those are available online.

Unexpected interest

The online material is by far the most widely accessed, with the number one SDSU thesis of all time, “Mobile Store Management System,” by Park B. Patel (’12), garnering more than 16,100 views from 2012 to the present. Since 1950, by contrast, the thesis physically checked out of the library the most with 129 checkouts is “Legends of the Diegueño Indians” by Marjorie Lloyd Wilson (’56).

Patel’s research analyzed the creation of software which would become the backbone of a billing and inventory system for small organizations. He said his goal was to provide an uncomplicated system to run mobile stores.

Now employed as a software engineer for LG Electronics, Patel said some of the research he did for his thesis has helped boost his career. He said he was surprised to learn his thesis is SDSU’s most-read of all time.

“I didn’t expect this much interest in it,” Patel admitted. “I knew it was being hit multiple times when I checked Google, but I didn't know (viewership) was this high."

Access advantage

Patel said it took him roughly six months to complete his thesis and faculty members on his thesis committee rejected his first draft. “My writing was not good,” he explained.

Now, with so many people having looked at his work, he appreciates the extra effort he was asked to put into it.  He also knows he has an access advantage over previous generations of Aztecs whose work was largely confined by physical boundaries.

“When you make it digital, it's open to the entire world,” Patel observed. What puzzles him, however, is precisely why more than 16,000 Internet users have clicked on his thesis.

“I certainly don't have an idea about that,” the author said. “Maybe it's because there's something unique in the title.”

“I really can’t explain it either,” said Carl Eckberg, an SDSU computer science department associate professor and one of three instructors who sat on Patel’s thesis committee. “I think it's the words in the title of his thesis that generated enough Google hits that it somehow got momentum, and after that it becomes self-sustaining when you get that kind of momentum in a search engine."

Regardless of why his thesis is getting so much attention, Patel is pleased that it is.

“It's nice that someone is using my research and being helped by it,” he said. “It's really good."

To view SDSU’s Top 10 Theses and Dissertations and learn more about the library’s rankings, visit the library website