ETD Guide/Technical Issues/ADT

Australian Digital Theses Program

ADT Program is a collaborative Australia-wide university libraries initiative. Membership is open to all Australian universities and is voluntary. National coordination of the ADT is via the Council of Australian University Librarians [CAUL; an umbrella group representing all Australian university libraries]. The ADT Steering Committee is currently investigating a proposal to further extend ADT Program & software to the Australasian region.

ADT software was designed to be transportable and to be flexible enough to be 'plugged in' at each member institution with minimum modification. The ADT software was also designed to automatically generate simple core metadata which is gathered automatically to form national distributed 'metadata' database of ADT-ETDs

ADT software is based on the original Virginia Tech [VT] software. The original ADT v1.0/1999 released in April 1999, with upgrade v1.1/2000 released in October 2000.

ADT software basics:

  • perl scripts extended by the library, which uses objects to create web forms on the fly and parse their content
  • facilitates file uploading and form handling by generation of html via function call and passing of the form state
  • extension of variable use to make scripts more generic to facilitate local institutional setup and style
  • developed a standard for generation of unique addresses [URLs] for deposited documents
  • automatic generation of DC metadata from the deposited information

The distribution software package requires modification of a list of variables and some webserver-dependent adjustments so it runs in standard way for each of the local institutions. Local search software, which may be institution-mandated, is not included in the package. It is expected that each institution will use their own security accordingly.

ADT software overview:

  • Deposit Form¬†: generic look and feel; includes copyright and authenticity statements; complete set up help screens; quality control using alerts when errors are made and does not allow non compliance with core ADT standards
  • Administration pages: possible to edit html and change document restrictions; also possible to add, delete, rename files as well as moving files to no access directory to restrict files temporarily for copyright reasons; varying levels of restrictions possible; easy to 'un make' deposit
  • Metadata: revised and updated according to latest DC Qualifiers document; generated and gathered automatically, used to create central national searchable 'metadata' database
  • ADT Standards: few, simple but necessary for success of collaborative program. Core standards are - research theses only; PDF document format; PDF filename convention; unique URL; Metadata standard.


  • the ADT software & model is fully transportable and designed to be easily installed locally by any participating institution regardless of local IT infrastructure and architecture
  • the ADT software facilitates loading digital versions of theses to the local institutions' servers where the PDF files will be housed permanently
  • the theses can be fully integrated into the local access infrastructure and searched using any local database, and/or the local web based catalogue
  • all ADT Program theses can also be searched nationally via the ADT Program metadata database. This database is constructed from DC metadata generated automatically during the deposit process. The metadata gathered creates rich records that allow highly flexible and specific searching, with links back to the local institutions' servers where the full digital theses are housed
  • the ADT Program is a collaborative effort across the whole Australian university community and a proven model for creating a national dataset of digitised theses
  • the ADT software and model is relatively inexpensive to install, integrate within local requirements and process. Once this is achieved it is virtually maintenance free, is sustainable, scalable, and very cost effective for both the institution and the student/author
  • the ADT metadata and other standards conform to current internationalstandards and therefore have potential to integrate with other international open archive initiatives
  • theses can be deposited from anywhere, and similarly, the metadata can be gathered from anywhere
  • full details and information available from the ADT homepage

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