CNI’s ETD Survey
While much of the earliest discussion of ETDs was centered in the United
States, the concept has gained considerable global uptake. As well as
numerous institutional adoptions of ETDs worldwide, some countries have
established national-level ETD policies and strategies. As a founding and
active member of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations
(NDLTD) organization, CNI has been involved in these developments on a
continuing basis. At NDLTD annual conferences, individuals representing
universities and other groups come together to discuss developments related
to ETDs. By the 2007 conference, it was apparent that some countries, for
example Australia and the Netherlands, were making great strides in
implementing national ETD programs.3 In the US, due at least in part to our
highly decentralized system of higher education, some institutions had
moved quickly and aggressively, while others continued to debate the pros
and cons of such a program. At CNI, we wanted to better understand the state
of progress of implementation of ETD programs in US universities and
colleges and also wanted to learn what factors were facilitating or inhibiting
ETD adoption. We were also eager to gain insight into whether ETD programs
were being treated as a way to simply manage paper dissertations by other
means (much like the situation today with scientific journal articles, which are
distributed and stored digitally, but still conform very close to the historical
printed articles in terms of content and organization). We developed a survey
to collect data to better understand the state of ETD deployment in US
universities and colleges.4 The survey was sent to one institutional
representative from each CNI higher education member; often this was the
library director or the head of digital library programs. The results of the
survey may be biased due to this factor—while many ETD programs are
collaborations among the library, the Graduate School, and other units,
our responses came predominantly from the library community.
The US higher education members of CNI (a subset of the membership)
were asked to complete the survey in spring 2008, and responses were
received from 88 (62%) of the 142 institutions contacted. Of respondents,
64 (73%) reported that they had instituted an ETD program and an additional
5 institutions stated that they were planning such a program. Note that for the
remainder of this article, the percentages given pertain to the institutions that
have implemented ETD programs, not to the total number of survey
RLI 270
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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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