These are projects posted by the students of Dr. Gove Allen at Brigham Young University. These students have taken one semester-long course on VBA and generally have had no prior programming experience

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ProQuest Dissertation Search and Save

An ISYS professor is gathering information on every ISYS related dissertation done by individuals, and what advisors advised these doctoral dissertations. My project’s purpose was to facilitate the searching and storing of dissertation information through VBA. I started with a dataset from an Access database of Universities. I created an Excel form to view and search information from each school, then through a button click, Excel will query the online Proquest Database for any dissertations from a particular school that were advised by a given last name. Excel will navigate Internet Explorer to a proquest results page. From there the user can open a dissertation’s abstract and then with a click on a button in Excel, save the dissertation title and link to a spreadsheet.
This project will save hours of time that would have been spent clicking through web pages, and copy/pasting links. The proquest website is a particularly slow website to use because it resets all your search criteria every time you conduct a new search or use the browser’s back button. This is all avoided through the browser automation accomplished through VBA. The Excel form also facilitates queries on the existing university information. This project can easily be expanded to include database tables of authors, advisors, or subjects into the web queries.

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