Who? What? Why? When? A Tale of ETD Metadata

Long, Kara
Lyon, Colleen
Park, Kristi
Potvin, Sarah
Rivero, Monica
Thompson, Santi
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Early proponents of ETDs argued that moving from print to electronic format would make “these works more readily accessible to other scholars,” raising the specter that “...theses and dissertations lie moldering in library basements, with no efficient way for researchers to locate the information that may be contained in them” [1]. Accessibility and discovery remain integral to continued work that frames the possibilities and promises of the ETD movement. The widening embrace of ETDs by universities has heightened the need for shared standards of description, to help identify and manage a growing number of documents.

In recognition of this need, and in an attempt to improve discovery of these materials, members of the Texas Digital Library (TDL) developed and published descriptive metadata standards in 2008.

In the intervening years, new use cases around ETDs have arisen, discrepancies in the standard had been identified, and the Vireo ETD Submission Management System has continued to change. To address these issues, TDL formed a metadata working group in 2014. The group is charged with updating standards and communicating the revised guidelines to other members of TDL.

In this panel, members of the TDL ETD metadata working group will speak to our efforts to update the standard. We will provide an overview of the “problem areas” in ETD metadata that we’ve encountered and documented, with examples of potential areas of improvement around these use cases. We will report on our progress, initial findings, and next steps in the process.

Christian R. Weisser and Janice R. Walker, “Excerpted: Electronic Theses and Dissertations: Digitizing Scholarship for Its Own Sake,” The Journal of Electronic Publishing 3, no. 2 (1997). http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/3336451.0003.209