The development of an ETD submission program is not the responsibility of a single group in the university. It requires the joint and cooperative work of the university administration, the university library staff, the information technology staff, the Graduate School Faculty and staff as well as participation from the university's graduate students.
To successfully implement an ETD program, it is important to get high-level support from your university administration. A good way to do this is by writing a proposal to do a pilot project and submitting it to the appropriate senior administrative officers (i.e. Provost, Dean of Graduate School, etc.). To get an idea as to what the proposal should include, consult the following resources to get you started:
Pilot projects allow universities to put in place the proper infrastructure and procedures and to communicate the importance of these changes to the university community. Communicating the benefits clearly and frequently is an important step. Many universities have identified changing the culture at their institutions as the most difficult challenge in establishing an ETD program.
The online resources that are now available from various Canadian universities that have already implemented successful ETD submission programs can decrease an institution's implementation time and make for a smoother process (see Canadian University IR and ETD Websites).
As well, the NDLTD offers online resources [www.ndltd.org/resources] which outline strategies from various universities around the world that have already implemented successful ETD submission programs.
It's a good idea to start by reviewing the information on a few websites and in various documents.
Set up a project team with representatives from the library, the IT department, the Faculty of Graduate Studies, senior administrators from the university, and the Graduate Students Association. It is important to have cross-institutional representation in order to develop a balanced initiative.
Prepare a pilot project proposal for consideration by the appropriate university administrators. This is the stage to work out policies specific to your university. You may want to include information on increased exposure to the university and graduate students' research and scholarship, publication potential, intellectual property and rights management, plagiarism, orientation and training, standards, costs, archiving and preservation and restrictions on access.
Preservation is a very important issue for ETDs. This issue should not be overlooked. One way to ensure preservation is to use the LOCKSS methodology [www.lockss.org/]. For more information see the MetaArchive Cooperative [www.metaarchive.org/].
This is also the time to decide on the technical infrastructure you plan to use. Please make sure that you consult Theses Canada requirements for harvesting your metadata and theses prior to installing your chosen software.
These days most universities are implementing institutional repositories (IRs) and including ETDs in them. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) sponsors an institutional repositories program for its members [www.carl-abrc.ca/projects/institutional_repositories/institutional_repositories-e.html].
There are any number of choices of institutional repository software available, both open source and proprietary.
Examples of open source systems:
Examples of proprietary systems:
By far the most frequently implemented IR software in Canada is DSpace [www.dspace.org/]. Smaller institutions where there is no IR may choose a remote-host option, Open Repository [www.openrepository.com/] through BioMed Central.
Digital Commons [www.bepress.com/ir] provides a total beginning to end submission package as does the non-repository ETD_db [http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ETD-db] open source software from Virginia Tech. Other non IR options include the ETD Administrator [www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/etd_administrator.shtml] from ProQuest/UMI and VALET for ETDs [www.vtls.com/opensource/valet] from VTLS.
The NDLTD highly recommends using ETD-MS [www.ndltd.org/standards/metadata/etd-ms-v1.00-rev2.html], the metadata standard specifically for electronic theses and dissertations. This standard includes minimal basic descriptive information related to an ETD. Other popular metadata schemes include Dublin Core and MARC.
Once the project is approved, set up a website for ETDs. This can be done by the IT staff at your University or by the University Library or Graduate School. Information on the website should include an overview of your ETD program, submission guidelines, ETD procedures, policies, information on tutorials, etc.
Check out some universities with ETD websites. Don't reinvent the wheel.
Implement an orientation and training program for graduate students. They may need training on all aspects of ETDs, from creating the word document, application of styles, use of templates, converting it to PDF and submitting online to the IR. Some universities, such as the University of Waterloo and Virginia Tech, offer in-person training sessions.
The following are examples of online tutorials.
Establish the ETD workflow (i.e. who is responsible for the various stages of the process from submission to approval). In the most common scenario, students upload their theses files to the Graduate School office where they are reviewed, approved and released to the Library for preservation and access. The metadata is then made available for harvesting by other organizations such as Library and Archives Canada (LAC) or the NDLTD. LAC also harvests the theses themselves (in PDF format).
Run a pilot project either with a limited number of students or with one or two specific departments for a time limited period. This will allow you to fine-tune your procedures and workflow. As few as 20 or 30 ETDs is sufficient to run a pilot project.
At the end of the pilot project some universities adopt a voluntary e-theses submission model for a set time period before moving to mandatory submission of electronic theses and dissertations. If possible the best practice is to recommend mandating ETDs at your institution as soon as you begin your ETD submission program (i.e. by decree by the Provost or Graduate School Dean, on recommendation of faculty governance).
Once your ETD submission program is established, have your IT staff prepare your ETD collection for harvesting. The IT staff need to read the technical requirements in How to Participate in LAC's ETD Harvesting Program in order to be harvested by LAC. There must be only one ETD Collection set. LAC requires metadata in two formats: DC and ETD-ms. After following all the technical requirements, the institution's IT staff will need to validate the oai_etdms records. This is important to do before testing with LAC.
Once your records are validated, contact Theses Canada that you are ready to test for harvesting. To ensure a problem-free harvesting process, it is incumbent on institutions to follow the requirements and rigorously verify their XML and OAI compliance.
Like any program, your institution's ETD submission program should be periodically evaluated and enhanced.
To stay informed about ETDs: