Thursday, April 11, 2013

Open Access Theses and Dissertations

Open Access Theses and Dissertations
What can I search for here?
This is an index of over 1.5 million electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). To the extent possible, the index is limited to records of graduate-level theses that are freely available online.

Where do the records come from?

Many of these schools' records come from their own repositories. Others come from regional or national ETD consortia, or from a set of ETD catalog records provided by OCLC Worldcat. With few exceptions, records are harvested from these sites using a standard called the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH).

What definition of "Open Access" do you use?
We define open access broadly to cover ETDs that are free to access and read online. We encourage authors to consider formally granting additional rights, for example by publishing their theses with a Creative Commons license.

Where does the full text live?
The full text of all papers lives on the original hosting site, usually the repository of the university that granted the degree. OATD indexes about the first 30 pages of some theses in order to show search hits, but in no case does OATD index or store the full text of the paper.

Our school's ETDs are not in the index. How can we include them?
If your school has a repository of open-access ETDs, check with your repository manager to confirm that it has OAI-PMH harvesting enabled. This is an available option on most ETD or repository platforms, including DSpace, Digital Commons, eprints, ETD-db, and ContentDM. Once you have confirmed that, simply send me the OAI server's base URL. We recommend that you also register the base URL with and
If you manage a collection of open access ETDs, but cannot run an OAI-PMH server, please contact us to discuss alternate arrangements. If you have good metadata, we want to include your records.

Our school's ETDs are in the index, but they don't show a lot of information. How can we improve them?
There are two causes for this problem. The first is that your repository's OAI-PMH server doesn't provide very rich metadata (which may indicate a configuration problem with your repository software). If so, you should work with your repository manager. The second reason is that good metadata is being put into fields we didn't expect (for example, if publication dates are in note fields, we may not display them correctly). In that case, drop us a line to let us know what we're missing...

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