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Vol. XVII, no. 1 TCU Library Newsletter, Web Edition December 2004

Message from the Dean of the Library - by Robert A. Seal

On the Library’s recommendation, graduate students will be required in 2005 to submit theses and dissertations in electronic format instead of paper. The goals of electronic theses and dissertations (ETD) are 1) to save shelf space in the Library over the long term; 2) to increase visibility of the students’ work; and 3) to improve access to the documents which represent the culmination of a graduate student’s degree program.

In 2005, optionally in the spring and on a required basis in the fall, TCU graduate students will send their work to their college or school over the Internet. After final approval by the faculty and college or school, the Library will receive an electronic copy of the thesis or dissertation to be stored on a server computer maintained by library systems staff. These electronic documents will then be cataloged and made accessible through the library’s online catalog. Students will also submit their thesis or dissertation electronically to University Microfilms (UMI) in order for their work to appear in Dissertation Abstracts.

If the students wish to obtain print copies for themselves, family members, and/or their faculty advisor, they can buy copies from UMI or make a print copy and have it bound by a commercial bindery. The Library plans to buy one print copy of each work for the archives.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of this new procedure is that the Library will send the metadata for each thesis and dissertation to the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Metadata is the information describing the item in question including, author, title, school, subjects, date, and so on. Most importantly, the metadata includes the Web address (URL) of the thesis or dissertation on the Library’s server. What this means is that a person may search the NDLTD ( on a given topic and retrieve information on any number of works listed in the database. The NDLTD is an international organization of 215 member academic libraries and institutions.

We are excited about this project because it means that TCU students’ work will be much more visible and accessible than ever before. It is yet the latest example of the Library’s leadership in the use of technology on our campus and in promoting better access to the world’s information.

Best wishes for the holidays from the Library staff and the Friends,

Robert Seal's signature

Robert Seal
Dean of the Library

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