Kamini Santhanagopalan, VT DLA GA. 9th International Conference on Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Unlocking Scholarly Access: ETDs, Institutional Repositories and Creators. Quebec City, Canada, June 9, 2006.
Gail McMillan, Catherine M. Jannik, and Robert H. McDonald. 8th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Sept. 29, 2005.
[full paper] [local copy]
Gail McMillan. 6th International Symposium on Electroinc Theses and Dissertations: Next Steps, ETDs 2003, Berlin, Germany: May 22, 2003.
Archiving ETDs: The Virginia Tech Experience
On April 13, 1998 Tony Atkins, SCP programmer; Tamara Kennelly, University Archivist; and Gail McMillan, head, Scholarly Communications and Special Collections, met to document ETD archiving policies. Our goal was to align the commitment and the resources to maintain these online information resources over time.
The Scholarly Communications and Special Collections Department (renamed Digital Library and Archives July 2000) stores and preserves Virginia Tech's theses and dissertations in all formats. The University Archives, a unit within the department, has traditionally archived these works received in paper and commercially bound. It is now appropriate to document our parallel standards, policies and procedures for electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs).
Each academic department determines the quality of the work of its students, while the individual thesis/dissertation committees approve the student's work on its own merits. The Graduate School primarily oversees mechanical considerations, the purpose of which is to provide a degree of uniformity, to assure that each thesis or dissertation is in a form suitable for reading and/or viewing online and that it can be preserved. The University Archives ensures long term preservation and access to this record of graduate students' research.
With digital materials we can give access and simultaneously prolong the life of the work. This is not possible with other, non-digital media. We can ensure the durability of the present through stability of the means of mediation.
With electronically stored information, the paradigm shift from concern about durability to concern about permanence has been completed. We may worry about hackers but we do not worry about genuine use. In fact, we revel, we positively boast when we can show an exponential growth in the use of the information services we provide. It requires a large shift in perception to realise that the best chance electronic information has of being preserved is that it should go on being used, regularly and continually. As soon as it is not used, it is in trouble.
Maggie Exon, "Long-Term Management Issues in the Preservation of Electronic Information" at http://www.nla.gov.au/niac/meetings/npo95me.html Nov. 1995
The World Wide Web, as 'keeping place,' appears to have been overlooked as a viable long-term repository for digital material. As an evolving medium for the distribution of digital work, its paradigms are transitional and may well be flexible enough to carry digital content into the future. The problem of hardware obsolescence is simply pushed out to a single point at the server level where backward compatibility and incremental upgrade is the norm.
Simon Pockley, "Killing the Duck to Keep the Quack" at http://www.cinemedia.net/FOD/FOD0055.html updated May 13, 1998
3 FACTORS EFFECTING ARCHIVING
- The first goal is to have all ETDs online and available all the time from a single, stable server. If necessary (depending on the capabilities of the server), some ETDs could be moved to a secondary server. Considerations for moving ETDs to a secondary server are usage (ETDs with fewest accesses) or age (oldest ETDs). Formats and file sizes probably would not be a factor in employing a secondary server, though extremely large ETDs may be prime candidates for separate online storage and access.
- If it becomes necessary to move some ETDs to a secondary server, programs would be written to trigger migration. Currently "age" would be easier to program, but in the future "usage" (actually, lack of use) would be preferable characteristics for migrating ETDs to a secondary server for archiving.
- URNs would link migrated ETDs. URNs could be mapped to PURLs at some future date.
- ETDs that been submitted but not yet approved are backed-up hourly if changes have occurred since the last back up; otherwise, a back-up programmatically is generated every two hours.
- A back-up copy is made weekly of ETDs in all directories (i.e., all levels of access).
- Copies made are programmatically transferred to another server
- Weekly back-ups are also made to tape for off-line storage.
- Copies are retained for four-month cycles.
- Annually a copy is archived on CD-ROM.
- Viewers/readers cannot modify or replace any ETDs.
- Authors cannot modify their ETDs once the Graduate School has approved them. Exceptions are made with Graduate School approval.
- Only in extreme circumstances will the system administrator make modifications to an ETD (e.g., when requested by the Graduate School, for example, to change the access restrictions or to activate or change email addresses).
(3) FORMAT MIGRATION
The library shares with the university the responsibility to guarantee that ETDs will be available to researchers, both within and outside the scholarly community. To keep ETDs reader-friendly and to retain full access will mean migrating the current file formats to new, standard formats not yet known. This will be done through the cooperative efforts of the library (who maintains the submission software, the database of ETDs, and the secure archive) and university computing expertise.
Formats recommended for ETDs that may need to be converted to new standards in the future:
Image Formats: CGM (.cgm) GIF (.gif) JPEG (.jpg) PDF (.pdf) PhotoCD TIFF (.tif) Video Formats: MPEG (.mpg) QuickTime - Apple
Audio Formats: AIF (.aif) CD-DA CD-ROM/XA (A or B or C) MIDI (.midi) MPEG-2 SND (.snd) WAV (.wav) Text Formats: ASCII (.txt) PDF (.pdf) SGML according to the document type: "etd.dtd" (.etd) ETD-ML Authoring Formats: Authorware Director (MMM, PICS) Special Formats: AutoCAD (.dxf) Excel (.xcl)
- Pockley, Simon, "Killing the Duck to Keep the Quack," http://www.cinemedia.net/FOD/FOD0055.html
- Exon,Maggie, "Long-Term Management Issues in the Preservation of Electronic Information," http://www.nla.gov.au/niac/meetings/npo95me.html, Nov. 1995
- Preserving Digital Information Report of the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information, commissioned by the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Research Libraries Group, Inc., http://lyra.rlg.org/ArchTF/tfadi.index.htm