If you need to deposit additional multimedia files that cannot be incorporated into the main PDF file you should use the same file name with the addition of information about the type of media being deposited. e.g.
Professor, Director of Research, Chair of Departmental Research Committee, Admissions Tutor for the MA/Diploma/Certificate in Archives and Records Management, Archives and records management; Creation and Capture of records; history of archives in the UK
Prior to training as a careers adviser, Jennie qualified as a teacher and taught in the UK and the USA, but worked in a variety of jobs. These included checking in flights at Heathrow Airport, a live-in governess, a senior administrator with Texaco in London, and making Funny Face ice lollies at Wall’s ice cream factory!
Do we need thousands of electronic theses and dissertations clogging the arteries of the internet (or possibly the Grid, in the near future)? In the UK at least we have grown used to engaging with this literature on the basis of its proxies – the metadata for theses, which usually includes an abstract. We have the British Thesis Service (BTS)(2), run by the British Library and supported by most UK universities – though there are a few significant omissions of research universities from its ranks. The BTS takes copies of printed theses produced by its members, and makes microfilm copies of them for loan or sale via the British Library. This saves the individual institutions the trouble of responding to requests for sale or loan copies directly, and also means that the metadata is searchable via a common union catalogue. The British Library made a commitment at the end of 2001 to join the NDLTD, and is planning to convert its microfilm operations to a digitisation-based service, which it also hopes to apply retrospectively to its huge body of thesis literature. When this is achieved – and it must surely be a mammoth task – hundreds of thousands of UK-produced ETDs will find their way onto the NDLTD.
The UK also has a commercial metadata service, the published by Expert Information Ltd, whose coverage does not map exactly onto that of the BTS, although the two services are examining ways of harmonising their operations. The ProQuest service, , based on the University Microfilms International (UMI) database, while it has wide international coverage, does not feature many UK theses, because the UK has been so well catered for by the BTS and . The model, then, has been primarily a centralised one, and one which is based upon metadata. Those wishing to search the thesis literature would most commonly use the and then order a sale or loan copy of the thesis they wish to consult either from the British Library, or direct from the university concerned, if it is not a member of the BTS.
The more challenging task may be to find universities which are willing to allow ETDs to be created in their institutions, and to work with us in the project, as pilot sites. We are not providing any funding for hardware for sites, but will support them with software installation, and will provide technical and advocacy support. The intention is to solicit interest from institutions willing to act as pilot sites, in August 2002. We hope to have five or six of these, representing a mix of different university types in the UK, and providing both doctoral theses and Masters-level dissertations to the project.
Our expectation is that an XML schema – or perhaps a number of schemas - will be developed for UK theses and dissertations, possibly based upon schemas which already exist for use in another context. A schema will describe each thesis according to its various structural elements, and should support the export of metadata in all of the various formats required, while at the same time describing the full text of the thesis. In other words, PDF is not likely to be sufficient in the longer term. Using XML provides us with a non-proprietary format, with greater scope for database storage of deconstructed documents, greater search flexibility, and the possibility of preserving the ‘raw’ source of the document.
Using the submission software, the student creates their own metadata, which is quality-controlled by the Library. Also in the loop, inevitably, is the authority responsible for validating the approved thesis, which we have simply called the ‘registrar’ in the model. Interaction between student and supervisors goes on throughout the course of the degree programme. Finally, the system outputs are the metadata, formatted as required for various agencies, and the ETD itself, which may be a PDF or other file format attachment, or may be part of the same XML file, plus any linked files.
Of course, there is a great deal of work to be done within institutions as they move through these stages. will develop an ETD submission system designed for use in the UK, but rolling it out for use by newly-commencing postgraduate students in universities will involve a lot of effort. University staff will require training in order that they can offer training programmes to the students concerned. It is likely that these staff will be Library staff, although other staff in a training role, from IT services or even academic staff training new postgraduates in research skills, may be the preferred source of this. Virginia Tech uses graduate students themselves, which clearly also has a number of advantages, though it would be a less common model in the UK. A major component of the training programme will be attention to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Students will require to be educated not only in their own rights in their theses or dissertations, but also of the need to clear rights for linked or embedded content. will provide central support for the training programmes in pilot sites.
One reason why the UK has perhaps not moved faster into the world of ETDs is because of this centralised model. Many universities have become used to a procedure involving the despatch of their theses to the British Library, and have considered the management of their theses an issue for the British Library rather than for themselves, shelving their own local copies of theses in closed access stack, and fetching copies out when requested for use on-campus. But we are all familiar with the limitations of microform as opposed to online dissemination, and the difficulty for the British Library’s service has been the size of its operation, which makes switching from a microfilm to an online process costly and time-consuming. Nevertheless, such a switch is necessary for several reasons, the main one being that metadata is not enough. The now intuitive action, for the researcher using this literature, is to proceed from the metadata to the full-text at the instant they wish to.
In the US context, those universities which are already far advanced on the ETD path generally have achieved this by means of a collaboration involving four different players on campus – academic staff, administrators, library staff and IT staff. Of these four, the most important group is perhaps the administrators – those involved in the management of graduate education. Most US universities have an organisation on campus called the ‘graduate school’, with a supporting infrastructure which is coherent and well-resourced. Few UK universities have ‘graduate schools’ as such, though they are growing in number. Postgraduate education in the UK is more commonly managed on a departmental basis. Being more fragmented, and less capable of achieving economies of scale across the postgraduate studies layer, may well make the task of engaging these administrators, the Deans of Graduate Schools, considerably more difficult in the UK. But without the support of senior university managers, the ability of an institution to move in the direction of requiring ETDs is likely to be very much compromised. Certainly, the library cannot do it alone – nor the computer services department. Academics can lobby successfully, if they become convinced of the value of the initiative, but they might be content with achieving ETDs in their own department only – a partial solution which will not satisfy the library’s desire for uniform access.