University, which is working with selected departments in the sciences on the
processes and requirements for including large data sets associated with
dissertations into the institution’s digital repository.
A recent publication from the Council of Graduate Schools, PhD Completion
Project: Policies and Practices to Promote Student Success, has identified a number
of areas where institutions can work to enhance the graduate student experience
and the completion rate of graduate degrees.8 For example, students’ program
environment can be enhanced through development of a network of support
and outreach, interdisciplinary interactions (academic and social), and informal
social activities. The curricular process can be enhanced by writing programs,
a dissertation retreat / boot camp, and a collaborative doctoral student writing
room. Unfortunately, the recent CGS report does not mention the library’s role
in supporting these kinds of activities (or, indeed, even to note some of the areas
such as intellectual property advising where libraries are particularly well
positioned to help), but clearly the library does have much to contribute.
Libraries are already developing collaborative spaces and targeting some of
those for graduate students. Some information commons incorporate access to
the campus writing center, and programs could be developed to specifically
address the needs of thesis and dissertation writers. Libraries could play a role
in hosting interdisciplinary events and could participate in dissertation retreats,
focusing on the literature review, intellectual property issues, citation-
management software, formatting the dissertation, and incorporating non-
textual materials. Libraries can also advise students on e-research issues,
providing information on best practices, development of metadata and
documentation of workflows, and implications for access and preservation.
The traditional view of library participation in ETD programs has focused on
their role in providing repository services. However, libraries can play a broader
role in graduate education. While arranging for the institutional repository
services and providing access to and preservation of ETDs is essential, there
are many additional services that libraries can provide that directly assist
students as they plan and write a dissertation. Such services can enhance
students’ dissertation experience and aid the institution by supporting
students in the completion of their dissertation work.
RLI 270
14
ETDs and Graduate Education: Programs and Prospects
(
C O N T I N U E D
)
JUNE 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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