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Electronic theses and dissertation (ETD) repositories: What are they? Where do they come from? How do they work?

Kristin Yiotis (Sutter Health, Sunnyvale, California, USA)

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives

ISSN: 1065-075X

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to introduce the electronic theses and dissertation (ETD) repository as a subset of local institutional digital repositories. The paper discusses the originating institutions and organizations including Virginia Tech Initiative, the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and the United States Department of Education.


This paper is informational in nature and explores the topic of ETD repositories. It provides information relevant to academic and digital librarians interested in including an ETD repository in their institution's digital library. The paper discusses interoperability among repositories and the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. The paper discusses issues related to ETD repositories including intellectual property rights, publishers' views of ETDs as prior publications, plagiarism issues, development costs, and long‐term preservation issues.


It was found that library administrators who implemented ETD repositories at various universities adapted their models to the needs of their institutions and their graduate students. ETD administrators made decisions about implementation models and software and hardware infrastructure in terms of human and technical resource allocation.

Practical implications

The paper argues that ETD repositories benefit students and universities by enhancing graduate education, expanding graduate research, increasing a university's visibility, and instructing students, faculty, administration, and librarians about digital technology.


The value of this paper for digital and academic librarians concerned with EDT repositories is in providing a historical overview, a discussion of the benefits, and a review of the issues involved with implementing an ETD repository at their institution.



Yiotis, K. (2008), "Electronic theses and dissertation (ETD) repositories: What are they? Where do they come from? How do they work?", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 101-115.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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