A common workflow at a campus involved in NDLTD is as follows. Each student will use a home computer, or computer in a lab, to submit his or her ETD. His or her work will have been created on the computer he or she is working with, or will have been moved there using some media format, such as diskette or CD-RW. The student will go to a well-known URL (e.g., at Virginia Tech, will start at http://etd.vt.edu and then follow links).
First, students will provide an ID and password that authenticates them. Next, they will enter in metadata about their ETD. When that is complete and checked, they will use their browser to locate each of the files that make up the ETD, so uploading can proceed. Eventually, the entire ETD will be uploaded.
Later, a person in the graduate school will find that a new ETD has been uploaded. He or she will check the submission. If there are problems, he or she will use email to contact the student so that changes/corrections can be made, and the process repeated up through this step. Once a proper ETD is submitted, a cataloguer in the Library will be notified. He or she will catalog the work, adding in additional categories, and checking the metadata. Eventually he or she will release the work to allow proper access, according to the student/faculty preferences.
More refined workflow models can be applied. Let us suppose that at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain the process starts from a catalog of ETD proposals, published by faculty members filling in the appropriate form; each proposal may include the title, keywords, abstract, level of expertise required, and other useful information. A student can apply for a number of proposals (specifying an order of preference) filling a form including his/her personal data. A faculty committee makes the final assignment of proposals to candidates. At this point, most of the ETD metadata have been collected, and there is no need to introduce them during the submission process.
Next Section: Role of the Graduate School and Graduate Program