Reflections on the 2015 TxETDA/USETDA Region 3 Conference

This year, Sean Fortney of Oklahoma State University was the recipient of the TxETDA’s Conference Scholarship for First-Time Attendees. As the second year we have offered the scholarship, it was exciting to again find a recipient from out of state!

In this post, Mr. Fortney shares about his first time attending the conference:

The TxETDA Conference brought together a variety of attendees and presenters which helped to create a welcoming atmosphere. Having never been to a TxETDA Conference before, I was pleased that the conference started by providing an overview of ETD programs. Oklahoma State University Libraries already has an ETD program, but it is enlightening to hear from others on their implantation.

I really appreciated that this conference applied to those who already have an ETD program and those who are in their initial stages of an ETD program. Between things like Vireo and data publication, this conference covered several key features that I believe are beneficial to anyone who is starting an ETD program or already maintains one.

Vireo, specifically is the one thing that I took away from this conference. Vireo is the brain child of Texas Digital Libraries and it was discussed frequently. It is a data submission tool that has been utilized by major universities in Texas as well as several outside places, like Harvard University and John Hopkins University, to name a couple. I’ve never heard of Vireo and I’m glad I attended this conference to hear the pros and cons of the program. It was a wonderful conference and I’m looking forward to the USetdA conference later this year!


Featured on the ETD 2010 Blog: The State of ETDs in the Lone Star State

The State of ETDs in the Lone Star State: A Survey of Thesis and Dissertation Granting Institutions in Texas, a poster displayed at the recent 13th International Symposium on Theses and Dissertation and created by Stephanie Larrison and Ginger Dickens, was recently highlighted on the ETD 2010 blog. Stephanie and Ginger coordinated the survey in late fall 2009 in order to provide a point of reference on the status of ETDs at Texas institutions and to guide program planning for the newly formed Texas Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Association (TxETDA). The abstract of the presentation is available at the ETD 2010 conference website. Although the poster has not yet been made available through the ETD 2010 proceedings, you may access it from the following link.


University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign Mandates ETD Submission

Beginning with the December 2010 graduation semester, ETD submission at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will be mandatory. As noted in the announcement,

Since its implementation in October 2009, ETD has been very successful. Eighty-five percent of master’s and doctoral students chose ETD deposit the first term it was offered. That number has continued to grow past 90% in Spring 2010. ETDs are available through the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) at http://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/5130.

Recall that U of I is using Vireo to manage ETD submissions. See the Graduate College announcement for the full text.


Michigan Tech ETD Resources

Here’s another great set of resources for consideration. Michigan Tech’s Graduate School has a whole series of professional workshops for students to assist with the preparation of their thesis/dissertation, including use of Microsoft Office, copyright issues, etc . I found the seminar on understanding and creating PDF files particularly informative. I’m constantly amazed by the resources institutions are making available to their students to education and support ETD preparation and submission.


Adobe ETD Initiative

I discovered an Adobe marketing piece online this week and thought it contained helpful information regarding how Adobe PDF is used to advance ETD initiatives at our institutions. PDF has become the standard for ETDs, with students either embedding other kinds of media in the pdf or including these media as supplemental materials. At Texas A&M we do not currently allow inclusion of embedded media, but rather we are beginning to give some thought to requiring PDF/A. Slowly I am learning more about the requirements and capabilities of PDF files, but I think the capabilities still far exceed my understanding. For example, during a recent meeting with our library liaison, Gail Clement, I disovered how metadata can be embedded in the PDF or Word document which might be helpful to those who later access the work – I had no idea. The upcoming TxETDA preconference session being coordinated with the ETD 2010 Symposium, will have a session devoted to addressing the issues of preservation vs. innovation –  of which the use of PDF, I assume, will be a key point. I encourage you to attend.

If the first piece is interesting, you might also check out the ETDs with Adobe site and the handout on creating ETDs with Adobe.


Institutional Highlight: UMBC

In an effort to encourage the sharing of best practices, I will periodically highlight an institution’s ETD program. Institutions will be selected randomly as I run across sites of interest. I encourage you to follow the links to explore submission and review processes and policies; to view the resources being provided to students; and, to consider the organization of their ETD website.  This week the focus is on UMBC in Maryland. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) implemented an ETD program in 2007 and now has more than 250 ETDs in its online collection. Submission occurs through the ProQuest Administrator, and manuscripts are made available via ProQuest and the library’s digital collections . It appears that full text access is restricted to ProQuest and UMBC affiliates. To find out more about the UMBC ETD program visit the UMBC Graduate School website.


Reminder Vireo Users Group Meeting Scheduled for May 19

From the TDL Blog:

The inaugural meeting of the Vireo Users Group will take place on the UT Austin campus on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 – one day following the Texas Conference on Digital Libraries.

The Event: Vireo Users Group Meeting
The Location: Perry-Castañeda Library, Room 1.124 (UT Austin)
The Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The Time: 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM

To Register (no cost): Email info@tdl.org.

The meeting is an opportunity for existing and potential users of the TDL’s Vireo ETD management system to gather and discuss the software, as well as other issues surrounding ETD management.

Issues to be addressed at the meeting include:

  • the history and current status of Vireo
  • member needs and future plans related to Vireo
  • structure and purpose of the Vireo Users Group
  • opportunities for collaboration in the use of Vireo

See the TDL blog for the full posting. Registered participants have been sent a detailed agenda. A Vireo user profile template will also be sent to institutions a few days prior to the session so that these can be shared during the meeting.