National Digital Library Of Theses And Dissertations

There are, of course, problems as well as opportunities in allowing or requiring electronic submission, distribution, and archiving of theses and dissertations, including problems of issues. And, since reading lengthy works online is still a formidable task unless you have very good eyes, access to high-speed printers (or plenty of time) may also be necessary.

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The NDLTD reports that more than twenty universities around the world have become official contributing members of the Initiative within just the past year, and nearly twice that number have expressed interest or are taking steps to participate.

Traditional methods of archiving and storing theses and dissertations are inefficient and unwieldy.

To serve those without Internet access, it may be necessary for librarians or archivists to produce copies on disk or CD-ROM, which could require purchase of high-speed drives to facilitate duplication.

Mailing disks or CD-ROM copies, too, takes time, the same amount of time now required to send paper copies.

The cost of paper and toner can add up, and paying a commercial print shop to print out an ETD file can be as costly as (or perhaps more costly than) ordering a printed copy through UMI.

Further, ETDs that make heavy use of audio and video may require faster processing speeds and expensive software or hardware.Archiving theses and dissertations electronically can help to alleviate some of the problems involved in storage, and making full-text versions available either on the Web or as e-mail attachments would make access almost immediate.Electronic versions on disk, CD-ROM, or other digital electronic media could be cheaper as well.And many students want the freedom to experiment with these new forms. Most ETDs, however, are still produced for print; multimedia applications are used only to enhance or supplement the arguments.One particularly innovative example of a work that would have been impossible without new electronic technologies is the , designed by Paula Puffer in fulfillment of her master's thesis requirement in English. These disks are erased and recycled, or sit in the hands of the new Ph. This is a waste of a resource that future generations may well take us to task for. One reason is that graduate departments and committees remain fairly conservative so even those scholars who take advantage of electronic formats, including multimedia, hypertext (or hypermedia), and/or virtual reality components, produce theses and dissertations that will be approved by their committees and graduate departments.This work is protected by copyright and may be linked to without seeking permission.Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. For more information, read Michigan Publishing's access and usage policy.Some schools, however, do not participate in interlibrary loan, forcing some researchers to travel great distances to access those scholarly works.Where dissertations and theses are archived by UMI, researchers can buy them in print, microfiche, or microfilm formats for a fee.That writing center allows students worldwide to submit writing assignments electronically to tutors who will evaluate and critique them online. Simply allowing or requiring that theses and dissertations be submitted electronically, therefore, is unlikely to effect radical change in the substance or the form of those works in the near future.More examples of ETDs can be found at the at the University of Virginia. As electronic technologies develop, however, reading and writing may also change in as-yet-unforeseeable ways.


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