ETD Guide/Universities/Policy Initiatives: National, Regional, and Local; Discipline specific; Language specific


For universities, it seems most practical to participate in national ETD initiatives. For those initiatives it is advisable that the National Library, which is often in charge of archiving the country’s literature, takes a leading role. We see those approaches in Germany within the Dissertation Online Initiative or in Canada. The national library as a central point, organising not only the archive structure but also the cooperation between universities may serve as a central entry point to the ETD initiative for interested parties.

Principal tasks of a so called central coordination bureau for national ETD initiatives are:

  • providing a coordination structure for the cooperation of universities for political, organisational, technological and educational issues and developments
  • providing an organizational concept for funding local or regional initiatives, therefore negotiating and cooperating with national funding agencies
  • defining special interest and working groups in which representatives from universities can participate
  • organizing workshops for participating universities covering special topics in order to discuss and solve particular problems
  • cooperating with the international initiatives, e.g. NDLTD, Cybertheses, MathDissInternational or PhysDiss.

In France, a national program for ETDs has been initiated by the Ministry of Education. The electronic deposit shall be compulsory within the end of the year. The organisational scheme adopted is defined as follows:

  • each university will be in charge of the conversion of its theses and dissertation into an archiving format (SGML/XML).
  • associations of institutions may allow the mutualization of human and technical resources.
  • a national institution, the Association des Bibliothèques de l'Enseignement Supérieur (ABES) (approximative translation: Association of Universitary Libraries) has been designated as the national central bureau.

The following text was taken from Prof. Peter Diepold (Sourcebook for ETDs)

In 1996 four German learned societies - comprising the fields of chemistry, informatics, mathematics, and physics - signed a formal agreement to collaborate in developing and using digital information and communication technologies (ICT) for their members, scientific authors and readers. The objectives of this collaboration were

  • on a local level: to bring together the activities of individual - and often isolated - university researchers and teachers in the various academic fields
  • nation wide: to join forces in voicing the interests and needs of scientific authors and readers toward the educational administration, granting agencies, research libraries, documenting agencies, publishing houses and media enterprises
  • globally: to use the widespread international contacts of the learned societies to exchange concepts, development and solutions and adopt them to the specific needs within one's own field

The initiative soon caught public attention, leading to the enlargement of the group. Since then, the learned societies in the fields of education, sociology, psychology, biology, and electronic engineering have also committed themselves to the advancement of the goals of the ``IuK- Initiative. (IuK stands for ``Information und Kommunikation in German).

Funds were granted for three years by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, `Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) (

One major project within this initiative was the Dissertation Online project, undertaken from April 1998 until October 2000. The activities of one of the workgroups led to a proposal to the German Research Foundation (DFG) to fund an interdisciplinary project to present dissertations online on the Internet, involving five universities (Berlin, Duisburg, Erlangen, Karlsruhe, and Oldenburg), and five academic fields, chemistry, education, informatics, mathematics, and physics.. DFG stands for ``Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft ( and is Germany's National Science Foundation. Funding was initially restricted to one year.

The first phase started in the spring of 1998 and was terminated in March 1999 with a conference held in Jena, Germany, provoking much attention among librarians and academics. Though an infrastructure had been set up and a number of problems were solved, much remained to be done. Therefore a subsequent proposal to DFG was drafted. DFG funds were awarded for a second year, this time with a heavy emphasis on the collaboration with libraries and university computing centers. The project's research and development extended from May 1999 to October 2000. The overall volume of both grants was some US \$ 700,000. New participants in the second proposal are computing centers and German National Library, ``Die Deutsche Bibliothek (DDB) ( . The project was directed by Prof. Peter Diepold, professor of computer uses in education at Humboldt University, Berlin. (

Later, this project was made into a national initiative with the German National Library as leading partner, who established a buereau for coordination.

Contact address:

Dr. Nikola Korb

Die Deutsche Bibliothek


Adickesallee 1

60322 Frankfurt / Main



South America??

Discipline SpecificEdit

Discipline specific initiatives focus on bringing researchers and scholars from single research fields together. In the past this has been a very successful way to establish active communities. These initiatives give members of those communities the benefit of making problems such as those that arise within global or national or generally spoken interdisciplinary approaches or even very small discipline specific problems easier to solve. Therefore discipline specific approaches may reach results faster and more easily than broader projects.


The PhysNet Service exists within the Physnet initiative. PhysNet - the worldwide Network of Physics Departments and Documents - provides a set of information services for physicists. PhysNet is a distributed information service. It uses the information found on the web-servers of the worldwide distributed physics institutions and departments of universities as a distributed database. The restriction to those professional institutions which are accepted by the learned societies ensure the quality and relevance of the offered information. PhysNet serves only professional specific information posted by the scientists themselves. Therefore PhysNet complements the services of commercial providers. All information of PhysNet is kept, stored and maintained by its creators at their local institution’s server or individual homepage. The creators retain all rights to their data. PhysNet only gathers and processes the locally available information of physics institutions to make them globally accessible. PhysNet is a noncommercial service. The access to information offered by PhysNet is free to anyone. The aim of PhysNet is to provide a longtime stable and distributed information service for physics with the collaboration of many national and international societies and physics organisations.

The PhysNet-Services are:

  • PhysDep offers a set of lists of links to nearly all Physics Institutions worldwide ordered by continent, country and town. In addition, it offers a HARVEST-based search engine to search across the listed Institutions.
  • PhysNet provides lists of links to document sources of the distributed Physics Institutions. Such document sources are, for example, preprints, research reports, annual reports, and lists of publications of local research groups and individual scientists. The service is also completed with a HARVEST-based search engine.
  • Journals lists Physics-related Journals, which are available with free fulltext on the web. A list of 'EPS Recognized Journals' is given as well.
  • Conferences, Workshops and Summer Schools offers a list of servers with Conference Lists in different fields of Physics.
  • PhysJobs offers a list of links to various physics-related job sites on the web. It also implements a search facility to search for information on these sites.
  • Education provides online educational resources for physics (e.g. Lecture Notes, Seminar Talks, Visualization and Demonstration Applets), listed by subject areas.
  • Links lists further sources of physics information on the web and information services of other fields and disciplines.
  • Services provides various related tools e.g. to enrich and improve homepages and document sources by adding correct MetaData according the international Dublin-Core standard.

More specifically on the subspace PhysDoc of PhysNet: it is serving documents distributed around the world at Physics University departments. PhysDoc. It comes with link lists sorted by country and town/state and institution. The present content is about 100.000 documents or document lists (publication lists).

A search engine is attached which went into full operation in early 2002, which allows to search for metadata of the documents (author, title, fulltext, keyword). A specific tool of it is to search both in PhysDoc and in MPRESS, the respective distributed document system of Mathematics of the International Mathematical Union. The special appeal of Physdoc is that it serves a ranking, and allows to find the match of a keyword to PACS classification numbers and its respective counterpart in MSC, the respective mathematical classification scheme. This matching is not by trying to find the same words but by serving articles of the mathematics, which a physicist working in the respective field would search for. This is a major outcome of the research programme CARMEN.

Responsible for the server of this initiative is:

Prof. Eberhard Hilf

Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg

Department for Physics

Institute for Science Networking

Ammerländer Heerstraße 121

26129 Oldenburg


Phone: +49 (0)441 798 2742

Fax.: +49 (0)441 798 3201



MathDissInternational The MathDissInternational project developed as a service within the MathNet initiative, set up in Germany at the Konrad Zuse institute for iinformation technology. Within the scope of the project MathDiss International, a permanent international online full-text document server for mathematical dissertations will be established. In this connection, questions concerning online presentation of the documents and the problems of long-term archiving (from TeX resp. LaTeX documents) will be considered. They include the question of how to homogenize such files in order to enable their later conversion into programming languages following XML. Furthermore, the expansion of research possibilities using online documents is being planned. Providing access to the tables of contents, lists of tables and illustrations and bibliographies on the LaTeX level is of top priority. Because of the structure of mathematical documents written in LaTeX we have a lot of high quality information which gathers dust in the archives without being used for the retrieval of scientific documents. This situation should and could be changed because LaTeX has become a widely accepted tool in mathematical literature.

The project MathDiss International will be sponsored by the DFG: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (the German Research Foundation) for one year. At the end of that year, the results will be turned over to the State and University Library of Lower Saxony in Göttingen which has offered to provide the long-term support for the new Math-Net Services.

The Project Program includes:

  • Complete inclusion of the dissertations through metadata and the expansion of the research possibilities using the source code.
  • Standardization of the input files in consideration of mathematical contextual structuring.
  • Integration of the services in the Math-Net by the adaptation of the project results to the standards used there.
  • The creation of forms of organization for the long-term safeguarding of the service.
  • International marketing for the worldwide opening of the service.
  • Tests on the conversion of mathematical dissertations into new mark-up languages, e.g. MathML.

Responsible for this project are:

Prof. Dr. Günter Törner and Thorsten Bahne at the mathematics department of the University of Duibsurg.


Gerhard-Mercator-University Duisburg

Department 11 - Mathematics

Lotharstr. 65

47057 Duisburg


Fon.: +49 (0)2 03 379 26 67 / 68

Fax: +49 (0)2 03 379 25 28

E-Mail: /


CogPrints is an electronic archive for papers in any area of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Linguistics, and many areas of Computer Science and Biology, which uses the self-archiving software of The CogPrints project is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Councils, as part of its Electronic Libraries (eLib) Programme.


The e-Print archive (formerly is a fully automated electronic archive and distribution server for research papers. Covered areas include physics and related disciplines, mathematics, nonlinear sciences, computational linguistics, and neuroscience. A Service of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Language specificEdit

Next Section: Policy Initiatives: The Case of France