Professional Development

Thomas at USETDA

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 9:44 am

The week before last, I attended (and spoke at) the US ETD Association annual conference, in Claremont, California. This is an organization that works to improve the policies and practices involved in managing electronic theses and dissertations.

ETD people tend to be strong supporters of open access, so there was a lot of discussion of the American Historical Association’s July 19 Statement on Policies Regarding the Embargoing of Completed History PhD Dissertations, which “strongly encourages” universities to offer a six-year embargo on history PhD Dissertations. [And if your professional association says you should have that option, they’re sending a strong message that you should take that option.] Phrases describing the AHA statement at USETDA included “conservative”, “myopic”, “enforcing the status quo”, and a good old barnyard epithet starting with “bull____” (this by a historian, in the middle of his plenary talk). IMO it is at the very least a narrow, outdated view of what History PhDs might want to do in life (get tenure as history professors) and how they might accomplish that (slap a glossy binding on their warmed-over dissertation and call it a book). Mostly thoughtful comments on both sides of the issue at #AHAgate.

That plenary was the highlight of the conference for me. Char Miller, director of the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona College, talked with great feeling about a sea change in both the nature and evaluation of undergraduate pedagogy, strongly de-emphasizing what faculty teach and emphasizing what students learn (so, measuring–and accrediting–based on outcomes rather than inputs). This makes it vital to have access to student works, including their theses. Miller talked in particular about undergraduate theses, and contrasted the situation at Pomona today with his experience: two [print] copies of his undergraduate thesis existed once, but other than a vague suggestion that one is in the Pomona archives, somewhere, no one has ever read it or could currently lay their hands on it. By contrast, one of his recent advisees called him, excited that her senior thesis has been downloaded hundreds of times.

Other highlights: what you have to consider if you’re serious about giving your ETDs (or any electronic documents) a lifespan of, say, 100 years; using a private LOCKSS network for archiving locally created content; and results of a survey of book and journal publishers that helps to refute some of the FUD propagated by people like the AHA. In an interesting bit of finger pointing, some publishers say they won’t touch a book based on an OA dissertation because libraries won’t buy them. Which really translates as: in the face of shrinking monograph budgets, a lot of libraries decline to buy based-on-dissertation books automatically on approval, because, well, they’re based on a dissertation, not because the dissertation is open access.

Oh, and Yrs Trly presented on OATD, the harvested finding tool for OA ETDs around the world.

————-

BTW, the slides for my presentation are at http://goo.gl/IphQw. My major points:

  • Making ETDs discoverable is an essential component of the ETD publication process (else, why bother?).
  • The ETD discovery tools we rely on either point to for-pay closed access ETDs when free, open access copies are avaialble, or have major user interface issues. This makes open access ETDs less discoverable than they should be, at a time when academic libraries are making incredible investments of time, energy, and money into increasing the discoverability of almost every other type of scholarly literature. OATD attempts to address these concerns, and is also intended to follow a community-driven enhancement path (other ETD search services a take-it-or-leave-it vendor solutions).
  • OATD harvests metadata from repositories using the OAI-PMH standard. OAI-PMH has major advantages over Googlebot-style web crawling for distributing metadata: it is more precise, puts less of a load on servers, and is already built in to all major repository platforms. I gave a very brief, very non-technical overview of OAI-PMH and how it makes a collection’s metadata avaialble.
  • In addition to harvested metadata, OATD uses a very lightweight web crawler to pull full text files. These are used to show highlight search terms in context and to pull sample images into search results.
  • A tool for sharing high-quality metadata really benefits from having high-quality metadata to work with. Improviing metadata quality and sharing it via OAI-PMH takes a little attention to detail, but pays off by better articulating what is in your collection and how it can be used, and by anticipating questions a researcher is likely to need answers to. (I was told I sounded like a cataloger, which I will take as a compliment.)

5 Responses to “Thomas at USETDA”

  1. Could we hear a little more about Yrs Trly and his presentation, pls? :-)

  2. Do we archive our ETD’s using LOCKSS? And ditto what Lynn said, elaborate on what the OATD presentation said :-)

  3. Details about my talk added above.

    We do not use a private LOCKSS network for local content. It’s an idea that’s just starting to take hold in some of the California schools. Step 1 would be finding or establishing a community to share with: LOCKSS requires at least seven participants, who have to be public LOCKSS users also. The speaker I heard was from one of the U of California campuses; they’re weighing whether to join a DigitalCommons network (for DigitalCommons content only), or a U of California network. For us, it is certainly conceivable that ASERL members could put something together.

  4. I am so glad that someone is officially discussing the dissertation embargo trend. This past spring was my first encounter with this and I was so disappointed to discover how rampant it is. If your research area is relatively new, it is particularly frustrating because over and over it seems like they are saying, “I’m not telling you what I found, you can buy my book in a few years!”

  5. Not to mention this implicit message: On a shelf in my library = not published. On sale for $39.95 at Proquest = not published. Online, available to tens of thousands of people on my campus = not published.

    But online, available to anyone = published.


Pages
About
Categories
ACRL
ALA
ALA Annual
ALA Midwinter
ALCTS
ALFMO
ANCHASL
ANSS
APALA
ARLIS
ASERL
ASIS&T
ATLA
Career Development for Women Leaders
Carolina Consortium
CASE Conference
Celebration: Entrepreneurial Conference
Charleston Conference
Coalition for Networked Information
code4lib
Conferences
CurateGear
DHSI
DigCCurr
Digital Forsyth
EDUCAUSE
edUI
Electronic Resources and Libraries
Elon Teaching and Learning Conference
Entrepreneurial Conference
Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP)
Ex Libris Users of North America (ELUNA)
FDLP
First-Year Experience Conference
Handheld Librarian
ILLiad Conference
Immersion
Innovative Library Classroom Conference
IRB101
Journal reading group
LAUNC-CH
Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians
Library Assessment Conference
Lilly Conference
LITA
LITA National Forum
LLAMA
LOEX
Mentoring Committee
MERLOT
Metrolina
Music Library Association
NASIG
NC-LITe
NCCU Conference on Digital Libraries
NCICU
NCLA
NCPC
NCSLA
NISO
North Carolina Serials Conference
online course
Online Learning Summit
Open Repositories
Professional Development Center
RBMS
RTSS
RUSA
SACSCOC
Site Visits and Tours
Society of American Archivists
Society of North Carolina Archivists
SOLINET
Southeast Music Library Association
SPARC
STS
Sun Webinar Series
symposium
TALA Conference
UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference
Uncategorized
University Libraries Group
Webinar
WebWise
WGSS
workshops
ZSR Library Leadership Retreat
Tags
Archives
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

Powered by WordPress.org, protected by Akismet. Blog with WordPress.com.