Accelerating access to biomedical evidence

Back from ETD2010- Open access theses do predate Google Books

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Google Books was formerly known as Google Print when it was introduced  in October 2004 at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Google’s Library Project, also now known as Google Book Search, was announced in December 2004. At ETD2010, the 13th international symposium sponsored by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertation (NDLTD) the current Engineering Director for the Google Books project, James Crawford, PhD, update the audience on the more than twelve million books containing over four billion pages have been scanned and digitized, as well as technical and legal challenges and opportunities for initiatives such as linguistic analysis.

Come to think of it, electronic theses predate Google Books by more than a decade.

As you will find on the History of NDLTD web page, the concept of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) arose at a 1987 meeting  organized by UMI and attended by representatives from Virginia Tech, the University of Michigan, and two small software companies. In 1991, Virginia Tech funded an initial ETD project, investigating problems associated with production, archiving, and access. This attracted interest from the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), UMI, and other interested groups, and the Virginia Tech University Library developed procedures and systems for processing, archiving, and providing public access to Virginia Tech theses.  The ETD db software that emerged from Virginia Tech in 1996 provided a complete electronic thesis submission package from beginning to end. Other universities helped to test the software. Since 1996 the software has been freely available to institutions around the world. (The medical student thesis repository I manage started off with this ETD db software in 2002.)

The National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations was established in 1996, and as its scope became international, the organization became the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. The annual international symposia started in 1998 emphasizing the provision of help for universities that wish to initiate ETD projects.

In 2003, the NDLTD incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c) 3 charitable organization and introduced a dues structure to provide organizational stability. Today, the NDLTD’s members include hundreds of universities around the world and partner organizations.

A very useful one-stop access point for electronic theses is the NDLTD Union Catalog, which  contains more than 1.5 million records of electronic theses and dissertations.   Two tools have been developed specifically to search and browse the NDLTD Union Catalog:

VTLS Visualizer
This is a dynamic search and discovery platform with sophisticated functionality.  You can sort by relevance, title, and date.  In the current implementation, faceted searches are available by language, continent, country, date, format and source institution.  Additional facets, such as subjects or departments, can be added if desired.

Scirus ETD Search
A comprehensive scientific research tool from Elsevier, Scirus ETD Search provides an advanced search that can narrow results to theses and dissertations as well as provide access to related scholarly resources.


Mon, June 21 2010 » Uncategorized

One Response

  1. dissertation editing July 9 2010 @ 07:04

    Like it or not, Open Access online publishing is here,
    With Google, we have a familiar friend to help us out.

One Ping

  1. Open access theses do predate Google Books « Tx ETD Association July 7 2010 @ 22:49

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