Not Your Father’s Dissertation

Hopkins is about to take a big step into the 21st century this fall. Beginning September 1, 2013, the library will no longer be accepting paper dissertations or theses. Instead, we will be instituting an Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) program. The content of your thesis or dissertation will not change, but you will upload a PDF of your work rather than print out copies. Many peer institutions such as Princeton and Duke have been operating successful ETD programs for years.

Why are we making these changes? The library is carrying out a policy developed by the JHU Doctor of Philosophy Board designed to enable faster and broader dissemination of the scholarly work of our graduate students. Greater visibility may help establish a scholar's reputation in his or her field. In addition to better dissemination, an electronic dissertation or thesis is easier to create. No more printing problems and having to bring copies into the library.

So how will this program work? The library will use an open-source ETD submission and management tool called Vireo, developed by the Texas Digital Library. After you defend your dissertation, you will login to the system using your JHED ID and password. After filling in a few descriptive fields such as title, abstract, and keywords, you simply upload a PDF file of your dissertation. The library will do a bit of format checking, and then you are done.

At the end of the semester, your thesis or dissertation will be made available in an ETD digital repository. If you need to delay publication because of a patent, publishing deal, or some other reason, you will be able to place an embargo of up to four years. That means that other researchers will be able to see the descriptive information about the ETD, but they will not be able to see the content.

The library will be conducting ETD workshops this summer and fall, so stay tuned for more information. The best place to stay on top of the new program is at our ETD Libguide. This is a work in progress, so check back often. Send us questions via email at dissertations@jhu.edu.

About David Reynolds

David Reynolds is the Manager for Scholarly Digital Initiatives for the Sheridan Libraries. He is interested in digital library issues, scholarly communications, and electronic theses and dissertations.

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