ETD Initiative of the University of the Free State, South Africa: A Roadmap




ETD Initiative of the University of the Free State, South Africa: A Roadmap


The University of the Free State library like all the university libraries have been reinventing itself to meet the needs of the faculties and students. It has to respond to new educational models, changing modes of teaching, all the learning activities and evolving needs of research. The inception of the Electronic Theses and dissertation project in 1998 by South African University libraries like Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, arrived at a point in time when the Free State University was introducing E-degrees. As much as the timing was relevant but the Library could not implement the project immediately, though Telematic post-graduate students started submiting to the Library theses and dissertations in electronic format i.e. stiffy diskettes and CD Roms. The University of the Free State, due to lack of manpower with technology skills in the library responded to the ETD (NDLTD) project a bit late in 2002. The starting point of the initiative was the down loading of the software so that we can preach the gospel we have testified. The database was established and is available on the url http://lourie.etd-db/. The University policy on the submission of ETD was revisited and amendments were made to include the ETD submission guidelines. Approval of the policy was granted in November 2002. At the same time the library down-loaded a few existing dissertations in electronic format and made them available through the intranet for piloting the project and for easy demonstration to Information Librarians. Slight problems were encountered whilst trying to pilot the project and solutions thereof were reached. The ETD project requires more collaboration between the library, computer services, faculties and students. To manage an electronic project like ETD generally requires the availability of technical staff with suitable skills and experience. This paper will try to roadmap what the university of the Free State library has done so far in putting the project into perspective. The intention is to address issues such as faculty collaboration, marketing of the project, determining faculty perceptions on ETD electronic publishing , and copyright. As the project is currently babysitted in the library the paper will also address the library short, medium and longterm strategies on carrying the project forward at institutional level.