All entries for Wednesday 28 March 2007

March 28, 2007

Print theses e–submission vs. e–theses

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Open Access (OA) archiving of research in general and of theses in particular does make sense. A different though related question is the treatment of e-theses as examination papers.

E-theses can be multimedia hyperlinked documents that do not retain their richness when printed. How many examiners are going to be comfortable examining such e-only theses?

Some repository software, e.g. E-Prints, can keep track of changes to an object and of actions performed on it. This kind of functionality can be used for preservation, but it could potentially be extended to keep track of changes to the first version submitted of the thesis, then of examiners’ comments and finally of the revisions incorporated accordingly by the candidate.

It looks as if we are entering a period with a spectrum of electronic theses. Alongside any e-only theses that may appear, there are going to be old printed theses digitised, new theses written as a printed document but submitted as an electronic file, print-outs of these, printed theses that had been microfilmed and will be digitised, and so on.

Obviously, there is also going to be a (probably dwindling) proportion of theses that will need to be submitted in print for any of a number of reasons, e.g. for containing copyright off-prints. One would therefore hope that something like the current BL British Thesis Service will remain for such print-only theses, in spite of the prediction in the Detraz (2006) report, “there is strong likelihood that the current BLTS will be withdrawn by the British Library whether a national EThOS service goes ahead or not, leaving no national outlet for the supply of paper theses” [EThOS – Final Report – v.1b – 20.10.2006 , p.10 ]

Copac launched its new interface

Writing about web page

Today Copac launched its new interface . The database itself has been moved on to XML.

XML enables search and display in non-roman scripts, including Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese. When searching do bear in mind, however, that the database is yet to accrue records in those scripts – the current records still are those in transliteration.

The new Copac interface supports RSS feeds, allowing you to set an alert for any particular search you have made. This is very welcome at a time when the Zetoc RSS feeds are only for the table of contents of a particular journal, but not for a keyword search across all indexed journals.

In addition Copac bibliographic records can now be downloaded/emailed also in these formats: BibTeX, BibTeXML, and XML MODS. There is also a user friendly Search History facility.

Note that the Home button is the “Copac” logo in the signature at the bottom of each page. Needless to say?

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