Electronic Theses and Dissertations at WPI

Effective July 1, 2002, WPI policy states that all master's theses and doctoral dissertations are to be submitted electronically. This means that the University no longer accepts paper copies of theses and dissertations.

We believe that electronic theses and dissertations (ETD) contribute to worldwide graduate education and unlock the under utilized results of graduate education for the scholarly community.

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations

WPI is proud to be a member of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) in collaboration with other academic institutions. The NDLTD, which originated at Virginia Tech, helps its member institutions share information in implementing ETD policies and ETD results. In 1999, the NDLTD has over 50 member institutions.

The Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Initiative has the same goals as the NDLTD, including helping students in their careers, helping other learners and researchers, and making available many scholarly works that are now inaccessible, such as theses that are only available through interlibrary loan. The main goals of the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Initiative are:

Information on Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Information on Electronic Theses and Dissertations at WPI is available on the Web at https://www.wpi.edu/+etd. Assistance is provided to graduate students through the website, as well as through training sessions, which are held throughout the year. Questions and technical issues should be directed via email to etd-questions@wpi.edu.

Once a student has successfully defended the thesis or dissertation, he or she submits the ETD online. The ETD is submitted in the form of one or more computer files in Portable Document Format (PDF). This file form retains all formatting information about a document, while providing an electronic structure which allows multimedia information to be viewed on any computer. The PDF format is generated by the program Adobe Distiller from a postscript file printed from the student's word processor.

Once the ETD files are ready, they are submitted electronically through a web page that the student fills in with information on the thesis.

Availability of Electronic Theses and Dissertations

ETDs at WPI are made accessible through the world wide web. All ETDs have an abstract available for worldwide access. Three levels of access to the body of ETDs are possible at WPI. The body of most ETDs are openly available for reading worldwide. Some theses are made readable only by computers at WPI, an option available to protect some copyright restrictions imposed by publishers. A few ETDs are restricted from viewing by anyone for a one year period in order to protect intellectual property rights.

The world of scholarship depends on people making their research available to others. When that is done electronically, more people can get access at lower cost, and more knowledge transfer occurs. This can stimulate education and research. It also can ensure that people give credit to the student for their work, and that the research is cited in others' publications.

In the experience of the NDLTD, before theses and dissertations were available electronically, not many were read. Electronic access multiplies the number of times works are read by a factor of ten or more. Some ETDs have been accessed thousands of times. With electronic theses and dissertations, students and universities can more easily share knowledge, with much lower costs. NDLTD estimates that about 200,000 theses or dissertations are completed worldwide each year. It would greatly aid graduate education if as many as possible of these were made freely available.

ETD Committee

Helen M. Shuster, Library Director and Chair
Allan E. Johannesen, Director of Internetworking
Amy L. Marr, Manager of Web Development
Lora Brueck, Collection Management Librarian
Prof. David A. Lucht, Fire Protection Engineering
Prof. John A. Orr, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Prof. John M. Sullivan, Mechanical Engineering
Prof. Homer F. Walker, Mathematical Science
Prof. Guillermo F. Salazar, Civil & Environmental Engineering
William W. Durgin, Associate Provost
Thomas J. Lynch III, Vice-President for Information Technology

Email: etd@wpi.edu

Maintained by webmaster@wpi.edu
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005, 10:17 EST
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