Reference for unpublished but quoted manuscript

Is there a place to locate the reference "[Smi88] D. V. Smirnov, Shannon's Information Methods for Lower Bounds for Probabilistic Communication Complexity,'' Master's thesis, Moscow University, 1988" mentioned in this paper http://cs.au.dk/~bromille/Papers/asym.pdf?

• If you are able to get in touch with someone at the university, they may be able to physically locate a copy of the thesis.... – usul Dec 9 '14 at 22:46

1 Answer

I assume you've looked online, though I'd be amazed if a 1980s master's thesis was online.

Ask one of the authors: they should have read the thesis before citing it, which suggests that at least one of them has access to a copy or, at least, had access at the time they wrote the paper. If that fails, try asking your university library.

Also, although the citation doesn't mention it, be prepared for the thesis to be in Russian.

• I think that very often we cite material without reading it. Also, they may have had access at some point but not anymore. So I am not that positive this may be a solution, although definitely it should be tried. – someone Dec 9 '14 at 11:46
• @someone We should read material before citing it! (Unless, perhaps, the citation is of the form "Smith[1] credits this result to Jones[2]" because we couldn't get hold of a copy of Jones's original work) But I agree that it's possible that they no longer have access or that they have only a hardcopy of the thesis. – David Richerby Dec 9 '14 at 12:11
• At least if you contact the authors, they can tell you why they cite this thesis. If they did not read it, maybe somebody told them what is its content. After a quick search, the thesis is cited by other paper as well, some of them with the note that it is in Russian. – Bruno Dec 11 '14 at 7:47