Description of the UCSD Electronic Dissertation Program

In January 2003, the UCSD Office of Graduate Studies and Research initiated discussions with the UCSD Libraries to develop a voluntary electronic submission pilot program for Ph.D. dissertations. While the pilot program was initially limited to seven academic departments, it was soon expanded to accommodate any department with a Ph.D. program. From the first submission in late May to early October, the library required the submission of a paper archival copy in addition to the electronic access copy submitted to ProQuest. Dissertations are submitted in PDF format. Currently, the program does not accept appended sound or video files with the dissertation. Online access is provided through ProQuest and the electronic archival copy is treated as a dark, preservation copy.

On October 11, 2005, the library's Administrative Team decided that "we (the Libraries) no longer require an archival paper copy to be submitted by the students who submit their dissertations electronically. ADMIN is confident that our current process for redundant electronic copies until we are able to use the DPR for preservation is sufficient to fulfill our archival mission." At that time UCSD shifted from a pilot to a production program.

The first electronic submission occurred on May 31, 2005. The total submissions for subsequent academic quarters indicate the increasing popularity of electronic submission.

Academic Quarter # of submissions % of total submissions
Spring Quarter 2005
Summer Quarter 2005
Fall Quarter 2005
Winter Quarter 2006
Spring Quarter 2006

Advantages of Electronic Submission

UCSD Office of Graduate Studies and Research(OGSR) - Submission Procedures

ProQuest has focused the development of their electronic publishing services on university graduate offices, rather than university libraries. BePress, the same software provider that powers the eScholarship Repository, provides ProQuest with submission site services, including the development and management of a campus submission website and the transfer of the electronic dissertation (PDF) and submission site metadata (XML) to ProQuest and the UCSD Library. Submission site metadata contains student contact and copyright information required by ProQuest to manage their publishing agreement with the student.

OGSR Electronic Dissertation Submission Procedure

UCSD Dissertation Submission Site

Library - Ingest and Distribution

Once the Office of Graduate Studies signs off (presses the button) on the dissertation and sends it to the BePress server, the BePress software "zips" the PDF and XML submission site metadata file and sends a copy to ProQuest and a copy to the UCSD Libraries SFTP (secure ftp) server. The BePress software also sends the University Archivist an email announcement of each transfer. Each dissertation is sent individually, rather than in a batch.

The University Archivist pulls the zipped file off the server, unzips it and logs the transaction in an Excel spreadsheet by copying some of the fields from the XML file. The files are also placed on a different server that is backed up daily. The title page of the dissertation is printed and a brief bib record with two item records is created by Special Collections. Since there is a period between the time the electronic dissertation is received and the time when the access copy is available online through ProQuest, the brief bib record points the patron to the University Archivist who makes the item available in Special Collections on a library Infostation. The Library does not have the right to reproduce and distribute the work and makes the archival electronic copy available just as it would the archival paper copy.

The University Archivist places the PDF, XML and Excel spreadsheet in a directory shared by the Metadata Services Department which then creates a MARC record for the dissertation. Using a local template and some of the information in the XML file, MSD creates a MARC record, but must ultimately wait for ProQuest to make the electronic access copy available online. MSD creates an 856 field linking to the ProQuest publication number. ProQuest currently takes eight weeks to process a dissertation.

Metadata Services Department - MARC Record Creation

Electronic Dissertations: Cataloging Procedures -- Draft 12/14/2005

ETD Constant Data Record for Inputting Original Bib Records -- Sample

UCSD Digital Library Program - Preservation of the Electronic Archival Copy

The preservation strategy for the electronic archival copy focuses on dark, redundant storage of the PDF in UCSD's local Digital Asset Management System and the CDL Digital Preservation Repository. The files will be managed locally until the CDL DPR is ready to ingest them. As of January 2006, the UCSD Library IT Department is recruiting an Extraction, Transfer and Loading (ETL) programmer. The files will be placed on a staging server and an automated assembly tool (yet to be completed) will map the MARC metadata to METS to create a METS object for each PDF.

The dissertations simply become another "collection" of digital assets scheduled for ingest into our local DAMS and the DPR.