ETD Guide/Universities/Budgets

The estimated cost of a project to electronically produce and distribute theses varies based on a number of factors such as: the expertise and competence of your team; the technology used; the volume of documents to process; and the cost of living in your country (human resources, computer equipment, communications, etc.). In these circumstances, it is impossible to provide any budgetary estimates, at least without knowing the operating conditions and elements of a particular situation. Giving an estimate, even in the broad sense of an order of magnitude, would be of no use. Nonetheless, this section will allow you to determine your expenditure budget by providing a list of budgetary items that must be foreseen.

The expenditure budget of an electronic theses project involves four principal modules. These are: the start-up; the implementation of thesis production and distribution services; communications; and student training.


Start-upEdit

Start-up costs are related to what you require to begin a project to electronically produce and distribute theses. Besides the personnel, who constitute the most important element in any electronic thesis distribution project, the start-up costs principally relate to infrastructure and training. Since the network infrastructure is usually provided by the host institution, this expense is omitted from the following table.


Human Resources
Professionals
  • Adoption/creation of a procedure for processing theses
  • Development of tools, programmes and scripts
  • The number of professionals required is linked to the volume of theses to be processed and to the variety of disciplines taught at your institution
Technicians
  • Production of theses, assisting students, and routine tasks
  • The number of technicians required is linked to the volume of theses to be processed
Management
  • Supervision
  • Communication with the university’s administration, and with external partners
  • Day-to-day management
Infrastructure
Server
  • Materials (the actual server, UPS, back-up unit, etc.)
  • Software (operating system, search tool, etc.)
Server site
  • This is usually provided by the University
Computer equipment for processing and for management
  • Materials (PC, printer, etc.) for all members of the team
  • A workstation (PC) to test different software and to receive students’ files (by ftp) in a secure manner
  • Software chosen to suit the chosen technology and assembly line (Office suite, Adobe, XML software, HTML editor, etc.)
Training
Training team members
  • Organized training or self-instruction
  • Manuals and documentation
Table 1– Start-up for an electronic thesis production and distribution project


Implementation of production and distribution servicesEdit

The resources required to create an assembly line for producing theses are related to the technologies used as well as the expertise and experience of team members. For instance, the choice to create valid XML documents from the files submitted by students, even if many useful XML tools are now available at reasonable prices, necessarily implies larger investments. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that more costly technological solutions may provide significant benefits to other electronic publication projects within the same institution. For instance, they might be useful for publishing electronic journals or for digitizing other types of collections. Table XXX lists the general stages needing attention when establishing a budget, regardless of the technologies chosen.


Implementing production and distribution services
Production
  • Analysis of needs
  • Choice of a metadata model (including a permanent referencing system)
  • Integration of the metadata creation or generation process
  • Testing different software
  • Planning and testing of the production assembly line
  • Creation or adoption of a follow-up tool for production work
  • Formal implementation of the service
Distribution
  • Install and set parameters for the search tool (full-text and metadata)
  • Create and manage the Web site
  • Create the site’s architecture
    • Compose the site’s information and home page
    • Conceive and create the site’s graphic signature
    • Create the navigation interface
  • Ensure Web referencing (Web search tools, indexes, other ETD sites, etc.).
  • Create mechanisms for managing access
  • Install a tool to measure visits to, and usage of, the site

Table 2 – Implementing production and distribution services


CommunicationEdit

The communications plan often makes the difference between successful projects and aborted ones. A communications plan must be drafted when the technical processes are in place and the university’s governors approve the project. Worktime and other resources must be budgeted for the creation and implementation of a communications plan. The principal tasks usually required to this end are listed in Table XXX.


Communication Plan
Human Resources
  • Drafting the Communications plan
  • Organizing and holding information sessions with the university’s professors, researchers and students
  • Writing the content of information documents
  • Meeting with journalists from the university or from the city’s newspapers.
Tools for communicating and promoting the project
  • Posters, brochures and other documents
  • E-mails to professors and students
  • Putting information on-line on the project’s Website

Table 3 – Communication Plan


Training StudentsEdit

Distributing theses on the Web is in itself an effective means of valuing an institution’s students and research. Nevertheless, emphasis must be placed on training students so that they can master the tools of document creation that allow them to circulate their research results. The use of new information technologies has become essential for university studies. Whether it involves searching databases and the Internet, or using software to help manage and assess data and present findings, the ability to work easily with these tools will be of daily use for students throughout their future careers. Many universities undertaking electronic theses projects have uncovered serious skills gaps in terms of creating tables, of integrating figures and images, and of using functions that automatically generate tables of contents or lists. It is clear that basic training must be offered to better prepare students for the process of writing important documents like theses.

Student training must be offered through many forms such as workshops, on-line tutorials and personal consultations. One can decide to offer one or another or all of these forms of training. In many institutions, the preparation and offer of training to students results from the collaboration of many different units: the faculty of graduate studies, the libraries and the information technologies services.


Training Students
Planning and drafting
  • Determining the students’ current state of knowledge/skills
  • Analyzing needs
  • Planning the various training modules
  • Preparing and drafting the pedagogical tools
Workshops
  • Preparing workshops, examples and exercises
  • Organizing the workshops (selecting classrooms, installing software, etc.)
  • Hiring assistants (eventually students) for the workshop’s “hands-on” period
On-line tutorials
  • Adapting workshop content and materials for the Web
Personalized consultation service
  • Time taken by the professionals and technicians to answer student questions (by e-mail, telephone, and eventually in person).
Table 4 – Training Students



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Last modified on 18 June 2009, at 16:39