Networking and ETDs
With the spread of the Internet and the WWW, and the emergence of local area networks as well as wide area networks (LANs and WANs), network facilities have enormously expanded in many of the educational institutions of the world. To support the needs for access, and the related processes that deal with making content accessible, many universities have made networked computers available to their graduate students, as well as to faculty, staff, and undergraduate students. The ETD initiative can build on those investments, employing them to support submission and downloading of ETDs. By focusing on networked access, there can be considerable savings that result from elimination of manual handling and physical distribution. It is recommended that, except for ETDs that have enormous amounts (e.g., gigabytes) of multimedia content, authors, as well as university staff, avoid procedures that require transfer of content using diskettes, CDs, or other physical media.
Network Traffic and Hardware
Universities should consider the amount of traffic on their networks, making sure that networking hardware (Internet connection, routers, and cable plants) accommodates well the demand for uploading and downloading ETDs). This accommodation generally will not be a problem if adequate support for email, rapid access to WWW, and other types of usage is provided.
Regarding software for accessing ETDs, there is not much of a special nature that is required. Web browsers, support for Java applets, and multimedia presentation tools are typically sufficient. Special aids may be needed for PDF, that Adobe provides for free at Adobe at www.adobe.com, or SGML/XML (becoming more widely available). The real need for special software is to help manage the ETD submission process, handle local workflow, make ETDs accessible, and facilitate search. NDLTD and its various parts have prepared software to help with all of these.