On May 1, 2013, Canada’s ARF Armen Karo Student Association announced the launch of its Armenian Thesis Database, a new, online tool located at www.armeniantheses.com. The website is the result of a year-and-a-half of work and brings together master’s and doctoral dissertations written on Armenian topics from around the world.
Tro Bakerdjian and Daniel Ohanian, co-developers on the project, explained, “The development of this database, which is comprised of listings dating back 120 years, was motivated by a desire to find ways of promoting the work of graduate students, which rarely receives widespread attention. It brings together dissertations cited in bibliographies, in lists published by community presses, and by premium services requiring special subscriptions. We hope it will be an asset to researchers, a testament to the diversity of emerging scholars, and an inspiration to those looking for new areas of investigation.”
“In many cases, copyright for the full texts of these studies lies with the authors or with the universities where they were written. By choosing an online medium, we are able to provide URLs and PDFs where possible; we invite researchers to consult with their librarians or with us for help in locating others,” they continued.
Dennis R. Papazian, Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan–Dearborn, commented on the importance of research done by graduate students by stating, “These dissertations are an invaluable resource for the study of various things Armenian, since they often represent pioneering efforts and have unearthed resources which open new vistas for increased understanding and open doors for further research.”
Rev. Paul Haidostian, President of Haigazian University, offered the following message: “On behalf of HaigazianUniversity, I warmly congratulate the effort of Canada’s ARF Armen Karo Student Association in compiling a special database of dissertations that show the breadth and width of research on Armenian topics, and making it accessible to the scholarly world. A lively and resourceful people, dispersed by force and circumstance, is called to make every effort to focus on areas of enlightenment, consolidation of resources, and pride-creating efforts. Such is the work at hand.”
Ronald Grigor Suny, Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Social and Political History at the University of Michigan, called the database “a place to start, to learn what is out there, and where a scholar might make his or her own addition to our knowledge of this part of the world.”
The listings currently stand at just over 275 and are expected to top 500 by the fall. The developers explained that at present, the majority of citations are in English and from American or European schools, although Haigazian University in Beirut, American University of Armenia in Yerevan, and other institutions are also represented.
Sergio La Porta, Haig and Isabel Berberian Professor of Armenian Studies at California State University–Fresno, and George Shirinian, Executive Director of the Zoryan Institute, echoed the student association’s appeal for wide collaboration.
“It is worthwhile for all who can to contribute to this database so that it may continue to grow and improve,” wrote La Porta.
“A database such as this is extremely useful and important for promoting Armenian studies, and therefore I join with the organizers in calling on scholars to submit citations of their own or others’ that they may know of,” added Shirinian.
The developers expect that with the help of university librarians, Armenian studies networks, and the wider public, the database will become a truly transnational and multilingual online space that will continue to grow in the coming years.