ETD Guide/Universities/Costs

Evaluation of Costs at Virginia Tech

Libraries usually have some of the infrastructure already in place to handle ETDs, especially if they are already providing access to electronic journals or digital images. However, many administrators like to have data about costs associated with an initial budget, and for this reason the following costs for personnel, hardware, and software were established by Virginia Tech’s Digital Library and Archives. Keep in mind that existing personnel and hardware can be commandeered for the ETD prototype and that frequently software is available on the Internet as shareware. This is how the Virginia Tech initiative began in 1995 and continued into the first year of required ETDs, 1997.

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These estimates assume that the university/library would adapt existing programs, scripts, Web pages, software, etc. that has been developed by the VT ETD Team. No additional equipment, software, or staff was necessary for the VT library to begin or to maintain the ETD system and services.

$24,000 STAFF


$12,000 SOFTWARE


$49,500 TOTAL

The estimated costs below show that for about $49,500 a library could replicate the Scholarly Communications Project ETD library if it adapts what VT has already developed for the NDLTD. If another university/library must also provide support to students like the New Media Center does, then the costs are greater for training, equipment and software.

STAFFING: $24,000

System's Administrator: .25 FTE at $6000-$6,600/yr

In Virginia, pay band 5: $30,000/annual; $14/hr We estimate the our Sys Admin spends .5 - 1 hr/day during non-peak times on maintenance and development. During peak periods he may spend 8 hrs/day on problems, development, and system improvements.

Student assistant: .25 FTE at $2900.00-$4500.00/yr

  • knowledge of pdf and html desirable; train to use ftp and telnet if necessary
  • desirable: programming experience.
  • salary depending on skill level at VT would be $6.00 - $10.00/hr

We estimate that our student (who knows programming) spends a maximum of 2 hrs/wk during non-peak times, and up to 10 hrs/wk during the periodic peaks.

Faculty liaison: .25 FTE @ $50,000 = $12,500

  • Supervise staff; draft policies; prepare budgets; collaborate with system maintenance and developers; monitor workflow.
  • Work with faculty, staff, students, departments, colleges to become familiar with the processing, accessing, and archiving of ETDs.
  • Conduct workshops, write articles, participate in graduate student seminars, prepare handouts and Web pages. collaborate with other universities and libraries.


server: $5,000 dual 3 GHZ processor, 2gb RAM, at least 20 to 80 GB hard drive

Originally, we did not purchase special equipment for ETDs, but incorporated this additional responsibility into the original server, a NeXt3.3 running HP. In Sept. 1997 we purchased a Sun Netra. tape drive for back-ups : $3500 ( At VT we use our Computing Center's backup service)

increase of 4-5 Gb disk space per year Each ETD requires an average of 4.5Mb

2 workstations : $5,000


$50 Red Hat 3 advanced Server (free download for software and $50 education entitlement cost)

$10,000 InfoSeek

$1000/yr Server Equipment Maintenance fee

$40 x 2 Acrobat*

$50 x 2 Word Processor*

$150 x 2 Photoshop* * Educational pricing available for this software

At VT we have a New Media Center with staff, software, and equipment that can help students with every stage of ETD preparation and submission. If you don't have such a facility, consider:


$1000 Desktop with monitor; CD-RW/DVD; (internet access)

$150 scanner

$3000 2 printers: LaserJet and ColorPrinter

$300 digital camera


$40 x 2 Acrobat*

$50 x 2 Word Processor*

$150 x 2 Photoshop* * Educational pricing available for this software


  • Training and assistance for equipment and software
  • Maintenance of training materials: Web pages: instructions and handouts

Cataloging Costs

These may not change from the costs of cataloging traditional theses and dissertations. One advantage is that for the same costs, more information can easily be added to the bibliographic record because of the ease of copy-and-paste features of word processors. For example, include the abstract in online catalog records for ETDs and index this MARC field to enhance findings through keyword searching. Another advantage of ETDs is that there are no longer the fees associated with binding, security stripping, labeling, shelving ($.10/vol. estimated), circulating ($.07/vol. estimated), etc. The Virginia Tech Library saved about 66% of the processing costs because of the greatly reduced handling of ETDs; costs dropped from $12 per TD to $3.20 per ETD.

Next section: Processing charges