ETD Management in the Texas Digital Library: Lessons Learned from a Demonstrator




ETD Management in the Texas Digital Library: Lessons Learned from a Demonstrator


As a consortium of libraries from public and private institutions across the state of Texas, the Texas Digital Library (TDL) exists to promote the scholarly activities of its members. One of its earliest initiatives was a federated collection of ETDs from across the state. There are currently 16 participating schools in TDL, four of which are contributing over 4000 ETDs per year, and both of those numbers are growing. A diverse set of content contributors introduces the problems of inconsistent metadata and incompatible storage and access methods, making it difficult to offer effective tools and services. This drove the decision to create a state-wide system for managing the entire life-cycle of ETDs, from the point of ingestion to final publication; pooling resources on this common problem was appealing for both technical and economic reasons. In 2007, we reported on the status of the functional system prototype. This paper reports on the results of the demonstrator event that is taking place in spring 2008 at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas, and discusses the requirements for moving forward into a production environment. These include testing and scaling the system to handle the large numbers of users dispersed over a significant geographic area (Texas is the third-highest producer of PhDs in the US). Our intention is to embrace international standards for ETD metadata and policies as they continue to evolve through community efforts, such as the NDLTD union catalog of ETDs. Finally, we will examine the status of the project's release as an add-on component to a DSpace repository through the Manakin interface framework under an open source license. A primary design goal of this project is to produce a product that satisfies TDL's requirements, and also provides a turnkey implementation for ETD management and publication that can be scaled to the broader academic community.