ETD Guide/Universities/How to develop an ETD program

Some points must be considered before starting an ETD program because they impact on:

  • The stage where the project starts;
  • The type of training to be provided;
  • The technology to be adopted;
  • The personnel to be hired, if needed;
  • The time frame for the program to be operative;
  • The total cost of implementation.

The team implementing the ETD program must be aware that decisions must be made based on legislation, culture, financial conditions, infrastruture and political aspects of their area. So, they must be prepared to analyze the important issues, suggest solutions and have them approved by the propoer authorities. Only when these aspects are considered can the program start.

Many of the following points may not apply to developed nations but can be crucial to developing countries.

The points are grouped into four categories:

Analysis of the stage of the automation of the library system:

  • Is there an OPAC?
  • Does it support the MARC format?
  • Does it support digital objects? What types? Can the contents of objects be searched?
  • Does it have a Web interface?
  • Is it compliant with Protocol Z39.50?
  • Is there a project to automate the catalog? Does the system to be used support the MARC format? What is the time frame for the catalog to be automated?
  • Can the system to be used can hold a digital library (types of digital objects, Web interface, Z39.50)?
  • Number of TDs per year and to date (both on paper and on digital files):

Per year - this number is important because it influences:

  • The number of persons in the help desk;
  • The decision on how to start - by some areas to proof concept or all programs;
  • The planning of the growth of infrastructure/equipment.

To date - this number is important because it influences:

  • The decision to make the retrospective capture in some areas and/or dates or all TDs;
  • The decision to use scanner + OCR in some areas and/or dates or all TDs (on paper);
  • The planning of the types and numbers of equipment;
  • The planning of the team;
  • The planning of the growth of infrastructure/equipment.

Format presentation of TDs:

  • One or many formats? The number of DTDs, templates and viewing filters depends on this;
  • Is an update of format needed or desired? The process must be defined - topdown, consensus, etc.;
  • Is there legislation to comply with?

Authors' rights and publishing conditions:

  • Is there legislation to comply with?
  • Is a document of authorization required? If so, define terms and approve with legal department;
  • Establish conditions? For black out period, for on campus publishing only, for partial publishing, etc.

The width of the scope of the topics above shows that an ETD program involves many areas of the universisty and all of them must be committed to it. After these points have been addressed, the project of the ETD program may begin.

An ETD program, like any other project, requires that the roles of each player be well defined. All the people involved must be aware of the importance of their work individually and of the interaction that makes up a team. There must be a commitment in all levels, from the highest administration to the graduate students.

In terms of the university, the 3 main players are:

  • The Graduate Office
  • The IT/Computer Group
  • The Library

They will lead the university in deciding upon:

  • The formats for ETDs;
  • The way to deal with authors' rights and publishing procedures;
  • The workflow for the new dissertations;
  • The strategy and workflow for retrospective capture;
  • The style sheets and filters for visualization;
  • The preservation format(s) and procedures;
  • The digital library system to be used;
  • The identification of the digital documents;
  • The relation of the ETD digital library with legacy systems (library, administrative, etc.);
  • The support team to be used;
  • The training program.

At the beginning of the project, they must have the support of the highest administration to:

  • Change the TDs’ formats, if necessary;
  • Change the culture of mentors, students and administrative staff;
  • Solve the problems related to authors' rights;
  • Assure preservation and information security of the digital collection (ETD);
  • Make sure funds are provided for equipment (HW & SW), personnel and training programs.

A good way to start the discussion in the university is by writing a pre- project to be submitted by the 3 players to the high administrative officers. The main topics of the pre-project should include but not be limited to:

  • The objectives:
  • Main objective
  • Secondary objectives
  • The benefits to:
  • Students
  • The institution
  • The region/country/society
  • The characteristics of the ETD program and of digital library:
  • Functional characteristics
  • Technical characteristics
  • The results to be achieved
  • A brief and focused description of the program and the project
  • A description of the main steps of the project
  • An estimate of the resources (human and material) needed to implement the program
  • An estimate of the annual resources (human and material) needed to keep the program in operation
  • An estimate of the time frame to implement each step of the project and to have the program operable
  • The commitment, responsibilities and actions of each participant involved
  • The relation of the program to other programs in:
  • The national scenario
  • The international scenario

The writing of this pre-project will help the team organize and ascertain everyone’s involvement. In addition, the higher administration will be able to decide based on more reliable information, increasing the degree of commitment of all involved in the program.

Next Section: Scenarios illustrating approaches, schedules and workflow