the more extensive and diverse the set of formats accepted, the less likely that
the repository will be able to offer services beyond bit-level preservation for
most of the formats across time.
What we don’t know (and this is a place where data would be valuable) is
how many authors take advantage of these opportunities to include non-textual
materials at institutions that permit this. We do know that less than a third of
respondents noted that the ability to include non-text features was an important
issue that encouraged implementation of an ETD program in their institution.
One might speculate that this reflects the publication practices of many faculty,
who continue to generate their work largely in text formats. Or, it is possible
that our students need additional support, for example from the library and
information technology professionals on campus, to fully exploit relevant
technologies that could enhance their scholarly work. It is also possible that
since librarians were the predominant group completing this survey, they may
not be directly aware of the importance of the inclusion of non-text materials to
various departments in their institution. At its annual conference, NDLTD gives
awards to graduate students who have authored innovative ETDs, and
examples of the types of materials used by these students can be seen in their
work, linked from the NDLTD Web site.6
Needs of Graduate Students
Many university libraries are making a renewed effort to provide services and
technology-rich spaces for graduate students. Institutions such as New York
University, University of Minnesota, and University of Washington have studied
graduate student needs for library and information services using a variety of
techniques.7 The kinds of support that graduate students desire are likely to vary
by institution and by discipline. Each institution should have mechanisms in
place to gather needs-assessment data, and it would be useful to better
understand what specific needs students have at the thesis or dissertation stage.
Note that an institutional policy decision about the unacceptability of long-term
embargoes may well play an important role in shaping these needs, particularly
with regard to advice about copyrighted materials. E-research is also giving
rise to new demands for help. While students often include appendices with
survey instruments and tables of data, the large volume of data associated
with e-research methodologies has not generally been included as part of the
dissertation. One institution becoming active in this area is Oregon State
RLI 270
13
ETDs and Graduate Education: Programs and Prospects
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C O N T I N U E D
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JUNE 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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