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Electronic theses: The story so far Theo Andrew Edinburgh University Library.

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Presentation on theme: "Electronic theses: The story so far Theo Andrew Edinburgh University Library."— Presentation transcript:

1 Electronic theses: The story so far Theo Andrew Edinburgh University Library

2 ETD? Electronic Thesis OR Dissertation Idea first openly discussed in 1987 Initial pilot study in 1996

3 ETD! The ETD is similar to its paper predecessor, but.. It provides a technologically advanced medium for expressing your ideas

4 Theses management at EUL EUL opted out of the British Theses Service in 1992 ~ 600 PhD theses submitted a year Access to theses via: - special collections reading room - ILL request

5 Reading room statistics

6 ILL requests estimates, 58 copies sent 2003 (to date) estimates, 47 copies sent High cost pages £60 +VAT/P&P pages £100 +VAT/P&P

7 …so why ETDs? current demand for access inhibited by physical restrictions and cost most theses are born digital better presentation of research not available in paper format (multimedia files, dynamic data presentation, programmes and code, hyperlinks) and in the longer term, less expense to authors and libraries? (less printing/binding/paper/cataloguing/ storage costs)

8 International ETD programmes NDLTD (Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations) 185 members worldwide To date 49 universities worldwide require electronic submission, but many more have or are acquiring ETD capability.

9 The UK and ETDs Reasons for sluggishness How we are tackling the problem What might work in the UK The Theses Alive! project

10 Why is the UK so slow? ZZZZzzzzz

11 A centralised environment for distribution?

12 A distribution system that (sort of) works?

13 Tools which cant be bettered?

14 Tools which cant be bettered?

15 A fondness for hard copy?

16 A fondness for hard copy?

17 Heterogeneity?

18 The fact is, the UK is slow Non-assertive library-academic relationships Highly devolved structures in research universities Heterogeneous model of postgraduate administration

19 Are ETDs a solution in search of a problem? We cannot use the journals pricing crisis argument So if it aint broke … Research value of theses not appreciated Could publisher lag be partly to blame? But in the digital age we are learning the importance of impatience

20 And yet … 100% of recent and new theses are ETDs-in-waiting The demand is there –Much preferable to conventional interlibrary loan –Visibility increases demand Theses authors want it

21 The proof?

22 But there is a fear of dragons Theses will be considered as prior publication (Ingelfinger thinking) Too risky The valuable research will eventually be published anyway

23 In other words … A combination of (understandable) academic self-interest and the relatively small size of the perceived problem is denying access to a rich world of research literature But the cavalry is here! (JISC FAIR, OAI-PMH, NDLTD)

24 How do we do it? Make submission easy –DSpace Make ETDs complementary –Dont build a door with a brick wall behind it Permit restriction –Win/win Work community by community –Informatics first?

25 Theses Alive! lead site Edinburgh pilot partners –Cambridge, Cranfield, Leeds, Manchester Metropolitan funding: JISC (FAIR programme) and UoE duration: 2 years, November 2002 – October 2004

26 Broad aims to develop an infrastructure which enables e-theses to be published on the web to produce a checklist approach for universities to use as they develop e- theses capability

27 A solution at hand?

28 Why DSpace? Rich functionality (available or planned) Solution-efficiency (ETDs, eprints, learning objects) Standards-aware Digital preservation Support


30 Theses Alive! Pilot project Repository publication Source customisation for UK FAQ Technical and dialogue help

31 Conclusion: we need to show how … We contribute to the research corpus And at the same time … We provide research impact data to our own institution Requires a new role for the Library/Information Services – not simply a replacement for traditional interlibrary loan

32 Thank You!

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