Lifecycle Management for Electronic Theses and Dissertations Grant Narrative

The University of North Texas Libraries (lead applicant) together with the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), the Educopia Institute/MetaArchive Cooperative, and the libraries of Virginia Tech, Rice University, Boston College, Indiana State University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Arizona propose to develop and disseminate guidelines, educational materials and an associated workshop, and a set of software tools for life-cycle data management and preservation of Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs). This project will take place over a two year period from October 2011 to September 2013, and falls within the Advancing Digital Resources category of the IMLS NLG program.

Colleges and Universities have been steadily transitioning from traditional paper/microfilm to digital ETD submission, dissemination, and preservation processes. Increasingly, colleges and universities worldwide are accepting and archiving only electronic versions of their students’ theses and dissertations. While this move from print-based to digital-based theses and dissertations greatly enhances the accessibility and sharing of graduate student research, it also raises grave concerns about the potential ephemerality of these digital resources. How will institutions ensure that the electronic theses and dissertations they acquire from students today will be available to future researchers? We need to better understand, document, and address the preservation challenges presented by ETDs to ensure that colleges and universities have the requisite knowledge to properly curate these new collections.